TEXTURAL, MINERALOGICAL, AND INFILTRATION CAPACITY ANALYSIS OF ATHLETIC FIELD SOILS: A METADISCIPLINARY STUDY FOR TURF MANAGEMENT
Healthy turf is an essential requirement for a safe and effective natural athletic field. A concern for water conservation has caused the Hope College Grounds Department to optimize irrigation strategies. To that end, the research team collected and analyzed soil data including infiltration capacity, grain size distribution, fine particle distribution, mineralogy, and bulk adsorption behavior for pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs). Several techniques were used including soil boring, sieving, XRD, double-ring infiltrometer tests, laser particle counting, column and batch experiments, and subsequent LC/MS analysis of attendant solutions. The study included 10 different turf fields representing a broad range of manicuring.
Some results, for example, show that standard uniformity coefficients and porosities do not adequately predict infiltration capacity; but rather, the particle size distribution of the very fine materials (<37μm), is more important to infiltration behavior. Also, preliminary XRD data indicate that specific mineralogical differences of the clay-size fraction between the most manicured and least manicured turfs may play a key role in PPCP transport.
This project is characterized by different research outcomes for different end-users. Infiltration capacity and textural data are useful for the Grounds Department. As the use of treated wastewater for irrigation of turf areas becomes a reality, mineralogical and adsorption data on PPCPs in soils will be essential for scientists and engineers engaged in local environmental policy making.