A safer field – how much more would it really cost?

Here is an estimation of the incremental cost of Safer Gilman Turf on a per athlete basis:
•  approximate incremental cost of shock pad and related work = $300K
•  cork infill costs the same or less than crumb rubber
•  a shock pad has a 16-year warranty
•  assume that the Gilman Turf user groups represent a total of 10,000 athletes
$300K / 10,000 athletes = $30 / athlete
$30 / 16 years = about $2 / year / athlete
We don’t yet know if these incremental costs will be paid by the JPA cities, user group fees, other means, or a combination of sources.
Even if it’s $400K and 8,000 athletes, that’s $50 /athlete, or about $3 / year / athlete.
This is a really good deal in exchange for improved safety and reduced environmental impact.  Furthermore, and perhaps most important to the five cities, it’s a cheap way to reduce potential liabilities, by adhering to current construction standards that call for shock pads, and by applying the precautionary principle and avoiding crumb rubber.  It’s especially important to avoid crumb rubber now, as tires manufactured in China, with higher levels of toxic substances, are moving into the supply of pellets.

Mar. 25 Meeting / Main Points

The City of Berkeley (COB) Gilman field project team presented their results. Here are highlights from each of the presenters:

A Shock Pad is Recommended for Turf Fields to Reduce Injuries

Wesley Bexton, Carducci Associates:
The main take away: a shock pad is recommended for all of the infill types. A shock pad would last for 16 years, i.e. two field renovation cycles.  Shock pads help reduce knee, ankle, foot, and toe injuries, and head-to-ground concussions.  Gmax ratings measure the hardness of the surface of fields.  Natural turf has a Gmax rating of 78 to 115.  The synthetic turf industry guideline is for a Gmax rating is under 165.  Fields with crumb rubber infill and no shock pad have ratings over 165.  When the Gmax rating exceeds 200, fields should be closed. He stated that the field is the safety equipment for soccer players.

(The turf fields at Gilman do not currently have shock pads.)

Crumb Rubber From Tire Waste Manufactured in China Has Substantially Higher Toxicity Levels

David Teeter, Millennium Consulting Associates:
When consultants work in the realm of environmental risks and public health, they attempt to quantify those risks in terms of the likelihood of negative outcomes due to exposure.  The two most dangerous carcinogens in crumb rubber are arsenic and PAH benzoin pyrene.  Acceptable risk is defined as the range of probabilities between 1 in 100,000 and 1 in 1,000,000.  Crumb rubber risk is estimated at 7 in 10,000,000, which is less than 1 in 1,000,000, and is therefore deemed an acceptable risk.  Increasingly, **crumb rubber from tires manufactured in China with higher toxicity levels have been incorporated into the crumb rubber supply in the US.  This crumb rubber falls under the not acceptable risk range, and it’s not feasible to exclude it from the mix.

(**We, Safe Gilman Turf Coordinators, think this is a strong argument against another field with crumb rubber!)

The consultants to the City of Berkeley presented three field options, with definitive budget numbers due shortly:

  1. cork field with shock pad
  2. crumb rubber with shock pad
  3. crumb rubber without shock pad

Cork and Coconut infill material (corkonut) is not being considered, as it would cost substantially more, partly due to an irrigation system needed. Additionally, the non-organic corkonut has a higher metal content due to pesticides used.  GreenPlay corkonut is organic, therefore we found out that it does not have the higher metal content.

Next Steps

The COB will provide their presentation notes in a week on their website.

We are requesting Gmax testing for current Gilman Fields, so that we will know how safe the current crumb rubber fields are.
Thanks for reading!
– Safe Gilman Turf Coordinators

JPA Meeting summary

A few of our members met with Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) representatives from the governing bodies of Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, Emeryville, and Berkeley on 3/16. This group makes decisions regarding managing the Gilman fields. In addition to the city govt representatives, the ASFU and some club and school representatives are on this committee. The City of Berkeley Project Team presented preliminary recommendations and budget scenarios for Gilman Fields.

We formally introduced ourselves as Safe Gilman Turf and presented our hope for a non-toxic infill material.

The outcome of this meeting was fundamentally positive, and gave us hope that the JPA sees that a more natural product is more viable and affordable. This group will meet again in April or May to make a final decision about which product to select. To learn more about the discussion that took place at this meeting feel free to contact us.

Article on Crumb Rubber Moratorium

Hi all,

We have been finding more articles, that we will try to post here for your review, as well as in the Resources section of our website.

This article explains a moratorium on SRB (crumb rubber) in Concord, MA Article 47 effective April 18th 2016-April 18th, 2019.
This article also says that the EPA no longer backs the use of crumb rubber! It also cites the carcinogens.


thanks for reading!


Important Meetings

Please join us for these upcoming important meetings:

Saturday, March 18th 10:00am
Frances Albrier Community Center (San Pablo Park, Berkeley)

This is a special meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission to discuss proposals for spending of the T1 bond funds.

We are requesting funds from this bond measure to cover the additional costs that we anticipate the safer turf material to cost. (This amount is approximately $300,000).

Please come at 10am and bring a sign or paper you can hold up that says “SAFE GILMAN TURF”. This way you can show support without having to speak.

Saturday, March 25th 10am-12:00pm
Frances Albrier Community Center (San Pablo Park, Berkeley) 

Same room one week later, different meeting. At this meeting, the Project Team (Landscape Designers and City of Berkeley staff) will present the summary of the work they have done since Jan 28th. They will present their recommendations about which turf material and detailed budget estimates. They will gather responses for their next step, which is to prepare a final proposal for the Parks Commission, and once that is approved by the Parks Commission it will go to Berkeley City Council in June.

There will additional meetings in April, May and June that we will need people to attend and show support. Consider this: once the final decision is made in June, the results will extend until the year 2022 at least, so attending a few meetings now makes a big difference in many peoples’ lives for years to come.

To Visit the City of Berkeley’s website with notes and presentation from Jan 28th meeting, click here http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Parks_Rec_Waterfront/Home/Community_Meeting_-_Tom_Bates_Regional_Sports_Complex_Turf_Replacement.aspx