In the fall of 2017, UNC Chapel Hill built two synthetic turf fields at the Finley Athletic Complex. The fields were within Chapel Creek’s flood plain. FitFields, a leading athletic facility design firm, was hired to design this project and included Envirofill, synthetic turf infill. In less than a year, that decision would be put to the test with Hurricane Florence.
This was not Envirofill’s first test from a hurricane. In October 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard and inundated New York City with several feet of water. Many artificial turf fields in NYC were flooded including several fields at Kingsborough Community College which were also installed with Envirofill. These fields are located 600’ from the ocean on the southern edge of Queens. The Envirofill, turf and pad stayed in place and were back in play shortly after the waters receded. This was a much better outcome than other fields in New York City that were installed with lighter infills such as rubber and coconut fiber. After the infill was carried away by floodwaters, the pad and turf floated, wrinkled and displaced which in turn made them unplayable.
Based on this experience, our recommendation was a field infilled with 100% Envirofill. That was selected along with a Brock pad and FieldTurf fiber with thatch for additional infill stabilization. Soon after Hurricane Florence passed over Chapel Hill, the adjacent creek overflowed its banks and the fields became covered in 3 feet of water. Remarkably, within 24 hours the lacrosse and soccer teams were practicing on the fields. How was that possible? We’ll leave that explanation up to Casey Carrick, CSFM, Director of Athletic Grounds & Turf Management at UNC, and his team…
“Once the water receded, our team got right to work as the nearby natural turf fields were in rough shape and would be out of commission for awhile. While we were waiting for the sun to dry out the surface, we removed all the debris from the field. We then used a drag behind brush to break up the dried silt from the blades. On the next two passes we used a GKB Vacuum which pulled silt from the infill up to the surface where it could be removed. We then finished it with a Buffalo Blower. The Envirofill stayed in the turf and there was none noticed outside the field. We were very impressed with how well these fields performed and how quickly the team was able to get back onto the fields.”
“The infill stayed exactly where it should… in the turf.” According to the field designer, Dan Dodd of FitFields, “There is no question in my mind that this system with Envirofill answered the flooding question and held up as expected.”
And because Envirofill is infused with permanent Microban technology, it will also protect the infill from bacteria, mold and mildew that would otherwise exist after such a flood, helping you get back onto your fields faster and with confidence.
Click here to join in the relief effort for those affected by Hurricane Florence: https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-florence-donations.html/