When St Stephen Parish Council had a waterlogging problem with their playing field at Bricket Wood, St Alban's, they brought in Terrain Aeration. Normal aeration had little or no effect across the field and there was also a wet patch at the entrance. Following a site visit, work began on the eight thousand seven hundred and twenty-six square metre area.
The ground was found to be too boggy for Terrain Aeration to use their usual Super Scamper Terralift machine, so they used their Tracker Terralift. This was able to move around the site without slipping and sliding on the wet ground. The machine works on the same principle with a JCB hammer driving a probe to a depth of one metre.
Compressed air is injected which fractures the soil, creating fissures to allow the water to drain and air to get to the grass roots. The process is repeated at two metre intervals on a grid system so the fissures interlink. As the probe withdraws, dried seaweed is injected which expands and contracts and helps keep the ground 'open'.
"Several members of staff came along to observe," says St Stephen's Senior Groundsman Matthew Huddleston. "It's a fascinating process. When the air is released, you can visibly see the ground move. What we didn't know, until the metre-deep probe discovered one, is there are drainage pipes under the field. Water started to come up to the surface, so we needed to investigate further."
Matthew used an excavator and found clogged drains which were
unblocked. Water was then gushing down the drainage pipes. Terrain
Aeration carried on aerating the whole site and the field showed
immediate signs of improvement.
"We are all very pleased with the results, especially now the drains are running," says Matthew. "We're now considering having Terrain Aeration deep aerate some of our other sports pitches."