The stated focus of this hearing was to address the environmental issues related to artificial turf. At the conclusion of this hearing the Council committee requested that a report be created to address the following questions:
- life cycle cost comparison of natural grass versus artificial turf
- water quality of runoff from natural grass versus artificial turf (use Blair HS field)
- environmental impact
Here is an index of the discussion found in this audio recording of the July 1, 2010 T&E Committee hearing.
4:20 Start of Artificial Turf discussion - Council staffer Keith Levchenko opens the discussion.
8:35 Joe Lavorgna "with MCPS" introductory remarks
14:16 Berliner on cost effectiveness test
17:20 Leventhal on disposal of artificial turf - is infill recycled car tires?
19:00 Joe Lavorgna "with MCPS" answers YES infill is recycled car tires and can all be recycled
20:25 Exclusive artificial turf vendor (FieldTurf) called to the table
22:10 Berliner statement on Council monitoring artificial turf in 6 months and Leventhal statement on not practice of Council to call vendor to give comment at a public hearing. Leventhal speaks to vendor pitching their product at public comment table.
27:00 Field Turf Regional Manager speaks to recycling of artificial turf "every single component will be recycled"
28:00 Berliner, "put that in writing"
29:00 Leventhal, "how was this vendor selected"- MCPS Director James Song, "product review that we went through - thorough review - intent to continue with Field Turf" - "not competitively bid"
31:00 Leventhal - should give guidance to MCPS that artificial turf will be recycled - "this one vendor may or may not be the future vendor" [Note Field Turf has an exclusive deal with Montgomery County for 5 Years, yet this was not disclosed at this hearing]
32:00 Leventhal, "I'd like to feel that we are exercising some oversight. That we are providing some push here...We're not just a passive recipient of assurances from the school system, that we are actually guiding the process to some degree."
33:00 Floreen on no recycling will be required of Montgomery County facilities
34:30 Berliner on water quality issues associated with artificial turf
35:40 Lavorgna "with MCPS" we are not doing any water sampling of the water runoff from the artificial turf fields"
44:00 Leventhal "are artificial turf fields safe for the environment"
47:00 Leventhal "the rain comes down"
50:00 Leventhal "90 day study" measure costs and environmental impact
57:20 "FieldTurf has many, many competitors" [Note: Yet not one has been allowed to bid on the installation of artificial turf on Montgomery County or MCPS fields.]
1:02:00 MCPS offers to work with County agencies to assess water quality issues
1:04:00 Leventhal "what is next decision point"
1:07:00 Leventhal "is it feasible to construct some sort of comparison...of water quality"
1:14:00 Leventhal "school system can provide very basic information on fertilizer, maintenance, cost..." - "not really seeing that"
1:17:00 Berliner "in addition to Mr. Leventhal's request which I believe there is agreement on..." - "collaborative process" - "...inconclusive nature as to the water quality issues" - "...you said you could monitor this piece" - "what costs associated with that" - "can we use Blair for this purpose"
1:20:00 Berliner "When you come back at the end of this calendar year  with your life cycle cost comparison of grass versus turf that we also have this information..." - runoff from grass versus artificial turf - use Blair field for testing
1:27:00 Berliner on needing a report "holding up a document" - water quality is an important piece
1:43:00 Berliner "We will come back at the end of the year and you will advise us as to the results with respect to that."
Link to Audio: