Proposed Field Tabled by Wetlands Commission

Courtney Cameron Headshot

A project pitch by Quinnipiac University of Hamden, Conn., was put on hold after a lengthy meeting with the Hamden Inland Wetlands Commission Wednesday night.

After fielding questions about toxicology reports and drainage patterns, university attorney Bernard Pellegrino and QU vice president for facilities and capital planning Sal Filardi were sent back to do more research on EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), a rubberized product that will potentially replace the current cork infill at North Field.

According to Filardi, the current infill system presents an ongoing problem of the field freezing in extreme weather, reportedly causing at least 25 missed days of practice and a disrupted championship game since its installation two years ago.

However, QU’s North Field is partially surrounded by wetlands, giving commissioners pause about the possibility of runoff from the EPDM infill affecting the town’s water quality — especially with degradation over time and in a range of weather conditions.

“I’ve read the toxicology report,” Commissioner Tim Mack told the New Haven Independent, “but what if it’s over a hundred degrees? Is that a problem?”

Mack also presented a counter proposal, asking if the university would consider a natural alternative made from olive stems. Filardi argued that olives stems and pits don’t provide the level of padding needed to enhance safety on the field.

After an hour’s discussion, the nine Hamden commissioners voted unanimously to table the proposal until QU can obtain toxicology reports regarding the effect of EPDM runoff on aquatic life, as well as studies from installations of the product across the country.

The university has agreed to further research and will address the commissioners’ concerns at the next regular meeting on Feb. 6.

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