The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 30, 2010

CCHS to replace artificial turf

Concord-Carlisle High School’s new artificial turf fields are to be ripped up and replaced this fall with a newer artificial turf product through an agreement with the Town of Concord and Sprinturf, the manufacturer of the turf. The fields were finished in June of 2008 and soon after a test by The Boston Globe showed high levels of lead in the lime-green “grass.” After a flurry of testing it was determined the turf contained lead levels that were considered safe, but higher than desired by Concord officials. Lead is added to the turf to maintain strong colors.

No heavy metals wanted

The Globe first broke the story after it obtained a sample of the turf and had it tested by a company in California. The analysis resulted in levels over 13,000 parts per million (ppm). The town of Concord contacted Sprinturf, who had a third party perform a standard “surface wipe test” which resulted in approximately 250 ppm. The Boston Globe performed a second test which showed a level 294 ppm. Independent testing by Concord showed lead levels over 500 ppm.

According to some opponents of artificial turf, no lead levels are acceptable. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for lead are less than 400 ppm, while Massachusetts guidelines call for less than 300 ppm.

Concord officials had specified an artificial turf with no heavy metals when contracted with Sprinturf, who said their material is within safe guidelines. However, the company is replacing the turf with their newest product, which they say tests under 100 ppm. There is no cost to Concord or Carlisle for the removal and replacement of the fields. “It’s all under warranty,” said Concord Public Works Director Richard Reine.

There are no artificial turf playing fields in Carlisle.

Turf to be replaced in the fall

“We haven’t set a date yet,” said Reine, but he anticipates the artificial turf will be removed sometime in September or October. “Hopefully, while one field is removed we can leave the other field open for play. We also have a natural grass field adjacent to those fields. It hasn’t been used but it has come online now,” and he expects the use of that field will lessen “the net impact” during the replacement process.

Current, future testing

“We are wipe testing three areas” of the current turf, explained Reine, including the goal area and center field. “We do multiple wipe tests. We are pleased to see the results are below the limit.” A sample from the new fields will be obtained from the plant, he said, and they will “test the material before it is installed.” He expects the lead content to be “well below 100 ppm.” He expects the turf sample will be the same material as will be installed, he said. “With the chain of custody, there are ways to insure it is the same material.” As long as the sample matches their expectation of lead levels he does not expect any further testing to be conducted once the new fields are installed.

To read more on CCHS field testing see For more information on artificial turf, see

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