When the current Sun Life Stadium field here was built in 1995, runs of flat, perforated pipe were laid under the natural grass field to promote drainage. Some 20 years later due to the compaction of the sand root zone, buildup of organic material from repeated resodding projects and extremely high use by various sporting events, concerts and monster truck rallies, some patches of the ground needed to be repaired. This led to replacing the original pipe with the same product. Nearly two miles of AdvanEDGE® engineered panel-type high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe runs under the field to rapidly collect and remove water, feeding into the larger collection system made up of ADS N-12® corrugated HDPE pipe.
“They get tropical storms and tropical depressions in Florida plus massive thunderstorms with rapid rain,” said Paul Schinner, vice president operations for the Motz Group, Inc. (Cincinnati, Ohio) who oversaw the new pipe installation. “The field crew could put on a tarp on the field but it would kill the grass. We designed an underground system – Prescription Athletic Turf – (P.A.T) with rows of AdvanEDGE pipe installed every 10 feet. This pipe lays flat on a watertight plastic barrier and allows the water to be collected and carried away from the field. It worked so well for so many years, everyone wanted to use it again.”
Based in Cincinnati, The Motz Group specializes in design and construction of natural and synthetic turf athletic field systems. The company has provided design, construction, installation, and maintenance for sporting fields for more than 35 years and did the original design for this stadium in 1995.
“The Sun Life replacement project started out simple enough,” he continued. There were a couple of areas on the field that weren’t draining very well, so the grounds crew thought they’d dig down and replace a pipe or two. Once they started digging, however, they found that after two decades of game after game, and other events being held on the field, the sand rootzone had become so compacted that they decided to dig out and replace the sand on the entire field. What started out to be a small project, ended up being pretty big job. We used some 9,000 linear feet of the ADS product for the new installation that was completed in March 2014.”
Other drainage pipe under the field was still intact and able to be used. “The N-12 pipe was clean and in perfect condition,” Schinner stated. “This large diameter corrugated HDPE pipe also from ADS, removes the storm water collected by the AdvanEDGE underdrain pipe network.” A vacuum-assisted system, P.A.T. was designed to drain water at a rate of 20 inches an hour.
Sun Life Stadium, opened in 1987 and originally known as Joe Robbie Stadium. A multi-purpose venue, it can hold more than 75,000 spectators. For nearly two decades, the stadium has had the P.A.T. system for the natural grass that can keep the grass surface playable even when tropical-type rain occurs. There are a total of three miles of drainage pipe, including AdvanEDGE and N-12 large diameter corrugated HDPE pipe.
“I guess one of the biggest challenges for the field was Super Bowl XLI in 2007,” stated Tori Durliat, director of marketing for ADS. “That was probably one of the wettest in Super Bowl history and the drainage system performed very well even though a significant amount of rain fell on that Sunday before and during the game.”
Panel-shaped AdvanEDGE HDPE pipe provides a way for quick water drainage and is typically used on golf courses, athletic fields, airport runways and perimeter “curtain” drainage for landfills and leaching fields. It is available in 12 and 18 inch widths and in coils for rapid installation.
“ADS AdvanEDGE corrugated panel pipe provides quick, effective subsurface drainage,” she said. “It is well known for long-term stability and structural strength plus it meets ASTM D7001requirements. Its HDPE panel-shaped core fully encloses the waterway. Lateral pillars maintain the core opening resulting in a series of oval-shaped channels providing superior strength and stability in all directions with relatively few projections into the waterway. The design of the invert permits significantly higher flow velocity at lower head.”
Unlike typical open core geocomposite drains, AdvanEDGE is not dependent on the geotextile for structural support. According to ADS, the fabric wrap can be eliminated entirely on jobs with free-draining granular backfill, proper sized for the
perforations. This completely enclosed waterway with fewer projections allows AdvanEDGE to function as a pipe, discharging more water to the outlet.
“The distinguishing feature of our panel pipe is its ability to rapidly collect and remove water,” Durliat explained. “Compared to four-inch round pipe with an equal length of 12 inches, the panel pipe has twice the soil contact area and will drain a given quantity of water in about 60 percent of the time. That is why the Sun Life Stadium is well known for its superior field drainage.”