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A 'break-through' in sports-turf drainage

Drilling rig

Rigby Taylor Ltd has announced a team-up with Ground Water Dynamics (GWD) as their partner in a revolutionary new vertical drainage system for the UK sports, landscape and amenity markets.

Already, some major sporting venues have benefited including, Warwickshire Cricket Club (Edgbaston). Fulham FC, Ascot Racecourse, Silverstone Race Circuit, East Midlands Airport and others.

"The GWD system is totally different from anything else currently available." explains Peter Read, Rigby Taylor's Project Manager, it uses "An Energy- Passive Ground-Water Recharge Pump (EGRP) system that enables rain water to be captured 'at source' instead of simply moving the problem to another area."

The system is installed by drilling bore-holes up to 12 metres deep with minimal disruption and does not require trenches or major earth works. Each bore-hole is no more than 90mm in diameter and, after the insertion of the five-chamber EGRP device, the bore-hole is top dressed with a root zone mix.

Certain soil types, comprised of horizontal layers of clay & silt, can offer limited drainage capacity resulting in heavily saturated playing surfaces and localised ponding. Groundwater Dynamics' EGRP system addresses this problem by inserting the system vertically into the ground and, once activated, the unique five-chamber design with its mild vacuum connects these horizontal layers of soil and attracts groundwater laterally towards the device before taking it down to lower unsaturated strata and away from problem areas.

While the system costs approximately 15- 20 per cent more than conventional drainage, it does not disrupt or take a surface 'out of play' the surface, requires no maintenance and the system has a life span of over 25.

Peter Read explains, "Most of the installations to date have involved installing in areas on a retrofit basis, where other drainage solutions have failed. However, GWD is now getting involved in the project design stage as, following a test drilling day where we measure infiltration rates, we are able to produce calculations showing how much rain water can be dealt with, and how to design an EGRP system which is bespoke to the clients drainage requirements."

Before and after

EGRP requires no external energy source, creates very little disruption during installation and is environmentally sustainable. It is suitable for all soil types and provides designers, planners and landscape architects with the opportunity to manage surface water run-off, nuisance groundwater and localised flooding. Most importantly, rainfall can be dealt with at "source" with no requirement to link up with storm-drains or sewers – a feature which is becoming more prominent as planning authorities struggle with outdated public assets."

Another advantage is that clients can choose to spread the cost of installation over a number of years – where GWD returns each year to continue installing until the works are complete and the problem solved.

Gary Barwell. Head Groundsman at Warwickshire Cricket Club (Edgbaston), has experienced first hand the benefits that can be had from installing a Groundwater Dynamics system, he commented:

"The system was installed during May 2013, within the timescales agreed in preparation for the ICC Champions Trophy. The playing surface was not damaged in anyway; this was prerequisite of the install and is a major positive for sports surface drainage, as other systems would have meant huge disruption.

In terms of performance, any doubts I had about the system were immediately dispelled. We had two heavy rain spells in May where 12mm fell in the day and in June a further 14mm fell in half an hour. On both occasions the area flooded but normally it would have rendered the ground unplayable the following day. However with the GWD installation, the standing water and flooding was gone within hours and left the ground completely dry. This was an excellent results as it enabled the teams scheduled to practice to use the facility the next day."

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