Hockey Pitch Cleaning

Analysis of the infill in a sand filled synthetic grass pitch

Just imagine that a few years ago you spent thousands of pounds on an all weather hockey pitch, or tennis courts, and as you look out of the window at it now and see ducks wading about on it you’re aware that all is definitely not well. Maybe closer inspection reveals sludge patches, and green ribbons of broken fiber running across the surface? If so then it is a signal that the infill is becoming contaminated with all manner of biological contamination and this has reached such a level where it won’t drain the rain water away, or at least only very slowly.

A quick panic call to a specialist installer might bring back the comment that “Oh yes it’s quite common, but the synthetic grass surface needs replacing at a cost of £ thousands”!! As you stare at the ceiling and wonder why you are lying on the floor, it all comes flooding back. Your groundsman finding you there says “Don’t worry boss we can get the surface tested by Sweepfast, and see if we really do need a new pitch” Following a brief call to Sweepfast, and a site inspection carried out, you are now in possession of a sedimentation test report with the results that show:

  1. the pitch isn’t worn out and actually has only worn a few millimeters from it original height
  2. the infill is contaminated and the levels are well over 10%
  3. the pitch can be “refurbished” for a fraction of the cost of a replacement
  4. Happy Days!!
Sand Extraction
Extracting Contaminated Sand from a Synthetic Grass Pitch @ 70% Contamination

Test results in the past have shown, particularly on RAF pitches near the sea where sea gulls spend a lot of time dumping “fuel” on the pitch, contamination levels reach over 70%, and a full refurb and sand replacement have dropped this down to less than 1%.

An indication backed up by facts that the Hydrofast  System from Sweepfast is extremely effective at extracting sand from long pile sand filled synthetic grass surfaces, cleaning the pitch to ‘as new’, and even cleaning out the drainage holes in the backing, a thorough job indeed.

For more information call Sweepfast on 0121 747 9255 or simply visit

Artificial Grass Pitch Repairs

A call came into the office a few weeks ago from a customer asking if we could go and inspect the artificial grass pitch at the university site in London, which had been damaged and subsequently repaired by ……………………… When we arrived, the customer said to us “It’s bad” ….. It couldn’t have been a more accurate description of the state of the pitch, and in all my years experience it must be the worst ever. The pitch was now out of use for safety reasons and was costing the university a small fortune in coach trips and pitch hire.

Failed Seam repairs
Failed Seam repairs
Failed Seam Repairs
Failed Seam Repairs
Failed Seam Repairs
Failed Seam Repairs
Seam Repairs
Failed Seam Repairs

Many of these failures could have been avoided if the previous repairers had not tried to stick seaming tape to seaming tape without first keying the back of one one the tape runs to allow the adhesive to bond. It’s absolutely imperative that the repairers / contractors keep pressing the seams as they are curing if not they will lift and separate, where have I heard that before?

However we agreed to put things right and to this end we sent down three teams of men and machinery to completely cut out the failed joints including the old tape etc etc. and inserted brand new matching material and re-join it to the old pitch and make a safe playable surface again. The time taken? 180 man hours plus 130 sq m of new material and 100 kg of adhesives and hardeners.

Works completed and the pitch re opened, happy days, but it could and should have been avoided, if it had only been done properly in the first place. The lesson? use a contractor with experience in installing and repairing these types of surfaces.

Call Sweepfast on 0121 747 9255

Artificial Grass Maintenance

With the huge amount of artificial grass surfaces now in use, and with more being installed every month an in house maintenance regime coupled with a professional contractor maintenance plan has never been so important. I know this works out as an unexpected expense but there really is no other option, and bad advice from poor quality contractors can be even worse. I’ll give you one recent example.

The recent spell of wet weather has brought home once again just how important maintaining artificial sports surfaces is. On a recent visit to a customer where the maintenance regime had simply been regular drag brushing. What is worrying is that more recently a “contractor” had advised that power brushing off the top surface and replacing a tiny amount of old sand with new would “revitalise” the pitch. But within one month the pitch had started to retain water once again, now rendering the facility totally unsuitable for use.

The only procedure to discover exactly what is going on beneath the surface is to take samples of the infill then return them to the warehouse and set about processing them. So after giving them this advice and at the request of the customer we took 9 samples from locations all over the surface, from high use areas to areas where there was very little foot fall. These have now been sampled and analysed and the results indicated that the contamination levels are way in excess of the standards for safe play, and the continuous free draining of the surface.

The conclusion of my report is going to indicate a spend in excess of £10,000.00 now to put things right, where if they had been given the correct information and acted on it the pitch would have still been playable now, with an annual spend of less than £2,000.00 and no loss of play and earnings.

It’s so frustrating in this industry that there are so much bad advice from convincing salesmen leading to spending money for the wrong reasons, with only one consequence, the customer has to eventually pay twice.

This is why at Sweepfast we pride ourselves in taking care to visit every site to assess its requirements whether it’s a small private tennis court or a university multi sports complex. We take every measure to ensure the advice we give is based on truth and not on assumptions, and we know then that we can rest easy.

For professional synthetic sports surface advise and service from the first site visit to completion of the works call 0121 747 9255 visit or email

Extracting Sand From Astroturf

How do you extract the sand infill from an Astroturf pitch? The most successful way to extract contaminated sand and the associated contamination from a sand filled synthetic grass pitch, or tennis courts is using a high pressure injection system to displace it to the surface for collection. Sweepfast has developed the Hydrofast System which utilises high pressure water delivered at a precisely controlled height from the surface to lift out the material and also to wash the fibres of the synthetic grass clean as it goes. The system is built around an Avant telehandler which travels across the surface at around 0.5 km/hr lifting out the material as it goes and leaving it in a line to be collected by the following machinery.

The results can be very dramatic as demonstrated with the Sweepfast Infill Contamination Test Kit, with a total contamination ratio of around 70.49% on an extremely badly maintained pitch we have reduced that down to 1.38% in just 5 days, see the two images below for examples.


Pitch before refurb

And After:-

After Pitch Refurb
After Pitch Refurb

To see more of this impressive system visit or call 0121 747 9255 for a free site visit, assessment and quote.

Sports Surface De-Icing Solutions

With winter fast approaching and the nights getting much cooler, forward planning for ice prevention becomes more important. The loss of a pitch due to freezing over, and the lost  revenue that represents is a real issue and economical solutions to this sometimes prolonged issue have to be given some thought. Some schools of thought advise that when a synthetic pitch is frozen over you should leave well alone, as the cold weather can possibly make the fibres more brittle and more susceptible to wear. Then there’s the issue of injuries incurred by players slipping over on a frozen pitch, and we all have a duty of care to other users of a facility.

However in many cases prevention is a better solution rather than trying to de-ice a pitch first, and the tried and tested approach is to apply a fine grade industrial grade pure salt to the surface before the air temperature falls low enough to freeze water.  Salt causes freezing point depression, and in effect it lowers the point at which water freezes and means that several degrees of frost can be experienced without any ice forming.  Once the temperature gets below -9C then you simply cannot dissolve enough salt into water to prevent freezing, and realistically anything below -6C becomes un preventable.

But there are usually more days in the UK when the temperature is between 0 and -6C than there are -6 and below (famous last words I hear you cry) so you should stand a fighting chance of keeping the facility open by apply salt before the freeze begins. The next point I hear you ask is how much salt do I need? and this is where it gets difficult to give a definitive answer. But basically start with 2 – 3 x 25kg bags per tennis court (500m sq), this should give protection against a mild frost, however how much moisture present on the pitch at the time of application due to rain or snow and is a major factor as the salt will dissolve into the water and possibly drain through the infill material weakening the salt mix. In this situation maybe wait until the rain or snow ceases then brush the pitch to remove as much as possible before applying the salt, or possibly increasing the salt strength, but this then leads to more expense and there has to be a point at which it becomes uneconomical to proceed. Another consideration is is how often to apply salt, and again this is going to be down to the amount of moisture present and how much rain and snow falls diluting the salt, requiring re application.

So basically the answer is yes you can prevent freezing over down to about -6C but at a cost and a single 6,000sq m pitch is going to require about one pallet of Pure Dried Vacum Salt for one application.

Finally how do you apply it? Well the product needs to be applied as economically as possible to prevent wastage, so for smaller areas a walk over spreader is essential to obtain an even distribution of material, for larger areas then maybe a towed spreader suitable for salt application is the way forward. One advantage of this material is that it is free flowing, as opposed to rock salt which should not be used on synthetic grass surfaces, and it can be applied with most types of fine application spreaders.


Water Removal With The Amazing Bowdry

“Breaking news, the weather forecasters are predicting rain, rain and even more rain!!!!”

This summers weather predictions are full of doom and gloom, and headlines like this must send a chill down the spine of anybody actively involved in the outdoor sports turf industry. Maintaining a usable sports field or track can be fraught with problems ranging from disease to wear and tear, and excessive rainfall is just another hindrance which can exacerbate already existing problems.

Removal of surface water can be of paramount importance in managing disease caused by standing water, and it puts the surface back into play straight away, reducing the financial burden due to losses caused by cancelled matches etc etc, not to mention the reduced costs of disease controlling chemicals.

One of the most tried and tested pieces of equipment on the market today is the Bowdry from Sweepfast, which in one pass quickly picks up the water and stores it on board until it needs to be emptied. The tank holds 60 Litres of water and emptying is a simple matter of removing the plug and draining off into a suitable gulley.

Bowdry will clear and dry any ground surface thick foam roller picks up water, dew, liquid mud, or any other floods or spills. Bowdry has an easily-emptied 60-litre holding tank save time – and revenue – where water-logged ground prevents play save lawsuits where slippery surfaces might cause accidents. Selected by the UK Design Council as a Millennium Product.

Price includes carriage to mainland UK and one free replacement sponge kit.