By Ted AYALA
Athletes at the Glendale Sports Complex may soon be noticing a difference when their cleats hit the turf.
Glendale City Council voted Tuesday night to replace the facility’s artificial turf.
The current state of the turf, according to city staff, is now “beyond repair.” The artificial turf now used was installed in 2005 as a replacement for natural turf. The typical life of artificial turf is 10 to 12 years depending on the usage.
The contract totaling over $877,000 to replace the turf was awarded to Sprinturf, LLC headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
Under questioning from Councilmember Laura Friedman, a representative assured the council that the removed turf will not become waste product.
“In removing this product it will be reused,” he said. “It will not be going to a landfill.”
Both Friedman and Councilmember Laura Devine grilled the Sprinturf representative about the potential harm the crumb rubber material in the artificial turf may pose to human health and the environment.
Devine referenced a recent NBC report about soccer players at the University of Washington who reportedly became ill as a result of the crumb rubber.
But the Sprinturf representative assured the council that there is “absolutely no evidence” that the illnesses are linked to crumb rubber, a position that city staff backed up.
According to them, studies have shown the crumb rubber to be safe.
“Crumb rubber is used in every synthetic turf across the nation,” said the Sprinturf representative. “The rubber is used for impact and safety.”
The crumb rubber is also used to simulate the feel of real grass.
Councilmember Friedman further grilled the representative on the turf’s environmental impact, asking how much of the crumb rubber ends up in rain runoff.
“When it rains the rubber pellets do stay in place,” he said, “but it gets in cleats. [The] amount is relatively small.”
He further explained that crumb rubber from cleats may end up in cars and homes where they potentially may end up in sewer drains.
“It’s a potentially contaminated material,” Friedman said.
“Every car in the street leaves rubber that goes into the rivers and oceans,” retorted Councilmember Dave Weaver. “[This turf] has been used all around the world. I’m okay with it.”
City council also moved forward on Tuesday to begin negotiating with the remaining three lowest bidders for the project to demolish Stengel Field.
The demolition of the grandstand facility needed to be effected after being red-tagged by city authorities.
Negotiation will begin as soon as council gives the green light.
The grandstands, according to city staff, were installed in 1946.
Currently Stengel Field is leased to Glendale Unified School District. It also serves as a playing field for Crescenta Valley High School and Glendale Community College.