City officials on Tuesday approved two contracts worth a total of about $152,000 to treat turf at New Canaan school parks and sports fields.
The Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of contracts that will see grass treatments including the application of pesticides and fertilizers in some cases, according to John Howe, superintendent of parks for the New Canaan Department of Public Works.
Exactly how chemicals are applied depends on factors such as a field’s use (e.g. Irwin Park has “very little use”), and whether it is a school field, Howe told elected officials at their regular meeting, held at City Hall. .
“We don’t apply any pesticides to school sports fields, but we do have an application to park lands for grubs, broadleaf weeds and crabgrass,” Howe said.
First coach Kevin Moynihan and coaches Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted in favor of a $131,200 contract with the Burlington, Massachusetts-based company. Tom Irwin Inc. for the purchase of turf treatment products and a $21,016 contract with the Harwinton-based company Championship turf for product application.
Asked by Williams whether the Board of Education prohibits the use of pesticides on school grounds, Howe said there is state law prohibiting the use of “turf pesticides” in schools serving children. children up to eighth grade. The DPW chooses not to use pesticides in high school either, Howe said.
Some fields in the city, on the other hand, receive an application of pesticides, for example, Conner Field on Farm Road.
“And nobody died?” said Williams.
Howe said that since 2013, the department has hired two separate companies to acquire and also apply the grass treatment products.
“What it’s done for us is: we know exactly how much we’re putting in, we know exactly what we’re putting in, so we’re in control of that,” he said.
Howe said the DPW has discontinued the use of turf on some of the city’s sports fields, moving instead to “aggressive, year-round overseeding.”
Overseeding is the process of spreading grass seed over existing grass to thicken and improve cover.
“We’d better spend the money on seed than turf,” Howe said.
“The turf is expensive and it doesn’t hold up well either. It gives you an instant green, but it’s really hard to maintain,” he added.