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District Completes Annual Synthetic Turf Field GMAX Testing

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
New Turf Protocols Ensures Steps for the Safety and Communication Process

(Washington,DC) – The Department of General Services (DGS) has taken an aggressive approach on annual testing synthetic turf fields in all eight wards to assess where impact maintenance is required.  G-MAX testing is a surface hardness impact test and is the most commonly used standard set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International which established a G-MAX value of 200 for the maximum allowable limit for safety.

“DGS has stepped up its GMAX testing and maintenance to allow users of synthetic turf fields to receive the maximum use-time of these playing fields during the summer, said Keith A. Anderson, Director of DGS.  We also want to provide for their safety which is why regular testing and maintenance is necessary.”

G-MAX is a stringent test method which scores 10 high-use areas on each field.  A single score of more than 200 at any of the District’s synthetic field locations can indicate the field requires remediation per ASTM standards.  Remediation of fields can range from providing minor infill top-off to providing sectional replacements.

As of Monday, June 24, 2019, all 56 synthetic turf fields have been tested.  Forty-one (41) fields were found to have no additional repairs required.  Fifteen (15) fields require additional maintenance; of those eleven (11) require minor repairs. These fields include: Stanton Elementary School, Noyes Elementary School, Tubman Elementary School, Deal Middle School, Roosevelt High School, Riggs LaSalle Baseball Field, Riggs LaSalle Football Field, Deanwood Recreation Center, Joseph Cole Recreation

Center, Emery Heights Recreation Center, and Palisades Recreation Center. DGS is projecting these fields will reopen Friday, June 28, 2019, weather and final post-repair-testing permitting.

Four (4) fields require more extensive repair and they include:  Horace Mann Elementary School, Park View Community Center, Jelleff Recreation Center, and Upshur Recreation Center. The Horace Mann Elementary School field will remain offline and is slated for replacement this summer and will be ready for use at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.  Projected reopen dates can be found on the DGS website link below. 

Agency partners at DC Public Schools (DCPS) and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) worked with DGS to advise field users and permit holders of the test results and necessary maintenance, which requires the temporary closure of the impacted fields. 

DGS has followed a new set of field turf protocols developed by the District’s Interagency Working Group on Synthetic Turf Fields and Playgrounds to ensure that necessary steps are taken to communicate this information to DCPS and DPR and the public.  Artificial turf field communications protocols began in March 2019.

DGS looks forward to its continued partnership with these agencies and the community to ensure the safety of District residents and visitors and to monitor any advances in the scientific research regarding field and playground surface materials.

View additional information on the District’s G-MAX impact testing status here.