Process restored damaged athletic fields
In 2011, the village of Hinsdale was about to spend over $10,000 to tear up and reseed Veeck Park, but instead, they used free biosolids provided by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and were able to restore soccer fields that were in poor condition. Biosolids are the nutrient-rich, highly organic material developed through the extensive wastewater treatment process.
"We followed the MWRD's suggestions, and the field looks amazing," said Gina Hassett, director of parks and recreation for the village of Hinsdale. "The turf is in excellent condition."
After learning about MWRD biosolids from Jim Walsh of Sportsfields Inc., Hassett contacted the MWRD, and staff surveyed the area to develop a restoration plan which would include the application of biosolids.
According to Hassett, the park was in poor condition because a storm water treatment facility had begun in 2008 and the spoils had been stored on the north end of the fields and east soccer field until November 2011.
“This left no space for crews to shift the athletic fields, which resulted in play occurring on the same location for two years on the soccer fields,” said Hassett. “The field was damaged due to heavy use on the same locations, especially at the goal mouths.”
According to Hassett, the park was in poor condition due to the construction of a storm water treatment facility and storage of materials on the north end of the fields and east soccer field.
The village left the fields offline for entire 2012 season, and last month, the village took advantage of the MWRD's biosolids program to top-dress the fields for a second time. They also expanded their use of biosolids to other heavily used areas as well.
“This fall the village top-dressed the athletic fields and park spaces around other areas in the community,” said Hassett. “We chose to go this route rather than put down fertilizer with a contractor. We plan to continue this practice.”
Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos, chairman of the MWRD’s Monitoring and Research Committee, said that “MWRD biosolids are a safe byproduct of the water treatment process that can be used to improve soil fertility and soil moisture holding capacity. MWRD biosolids provide tremendous benefits and can be used to fertilize agricultural land, provide organic matter and nutrients to sod farms and nurseries, for construction of golf courses, parks and athletic fields.”