In the past 10 years, the population of Pierce County has grown by 10% putting increased demands on the park district and their recreation fields. To solve this problem, Pierce County Parks & Recreation installed two new artificial turf fields at Heritage Recreation Center in South Hill (9010 128th St. East), in an effort to broaden the fields’ accessibility to the community throughout all types of weather conditions, year round, day or night. The county selected “Envirofill” which is a revolutionary, reusable, high-tech product permanently-infused with the anti-microbial compound Microban® to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew which could cause odors and product deterioration.
Developed by the Cincinnati-based company USGreentech, Envirofill is an alternative to the crumb rubber infill which has been the standard in artificial turf for decades. Crumb rubber, made by shredding old tires, has come under intense scrutiny for possible negative impact on athletes’ health and the environment. Envirofill is manufactured with special quartz sand mined in central Texas, chosen for its non-abrasive properties, which is then coated with a layer of acrylic infused with Microban®. Unlike other types of infill, Envirofill is guaranteed for 16 years and can be reused for multiple turf lifecycles rather than dumped in a landfill – making it both more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective.
“Product considerations included cost-effectiveness, public health, safety and longevity,” explained Benjamin Barrett, Capital Projects Manager for Pierce County Parks & Recreation. “Envirofill was determined to be the safer, cleaner, longer-lasting and more cost-effective choice. It is the only re-usable infill on the market. Envirofill’s performance and benefits will be monitored to evaluate durability, ease of maintenance and the reduction of future capital costs of replacement.”
The new synthetic turf at Heritage Recreation Center’s baseball and soccer fields will greatly increase the number of games that can be played during inclement weather and thanks to Envirofill’s proven safety, it will do so without compromising the downstream water quality.
What is Infill?
Infill is the dense, fine particle materials located at the base of a synthetic turf system which support the turf blades, act as ballast, footing and athlete shock absorption. For years now, companies in the artificial turf industry have been on a quest to engineer the “Holy Grail” of infill to replace crumb rubber, the standard infill since the 1980s. Crumb rubber is often criticized for its bad smell, excessive heat retention and its tendency to inflict athletes with bloody “turf burn” when sliding on the surface. The chemical composition of crumb rubber has become controversial in recent years, with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and the Consumer Product Safety Commission launching a 2016 joint research study to determine its potential health impacts.
Founded in 2009 and based in Cincinnati, Ohio, USGreentech is uniquely focused on the development and distribution of synthetic turf infill. Working together with national turf companies, designers and landscape turf distributors, USGreentech has been disrupting the 20-year old industry standard product made from ground up car tires. USGreentech’s products are sustainable, safe, cooler and provide higher performing sports and landscape surfaces. The USGreentech team, also the recipient of INC.’s Best Workplaces award, is focused on promoting their thought leadership and a consultative approach that matches the best system to the owner’s specific situation.