The football pitch (or soccer pitch to those in the states) must meet exact regulations or else the game simply can’t be played. Maybe everything was constructed to meet exacting standards. The field is level, the goals are in place, the lines are drawn, and crowds are ready to fill in the seats to watch the game.
And then the first major storm comes…
If the drainage infrastructure underneath the field isn’t capable of efficiently removing water, the state of the field will deteriorate quickly. Let’s say the storm passes and the field is unscathed. Everything is all well and good, right? Well, maybe for now. How long before that system begins to clog and fail?
When water erodes the soil, it can create level changes across the surface of the field rendering it unplayable. Too much water on the surface, even if it is deemed playable, will significantly impact the state of play.
The Trouble With Traditional Drainage Solutions
People have been playing games and facing off in competition for centuries. As sports have developed, and the rules of each game have become more well defined, so have the requirements and specifications surrounding the field, court, or other competition space. Even slight variations can disqualify a field from official competition.
Even if a field was meticulously designed and built, outside forces like the weather are sure to exert their influence. Enter: the drainage system. Drainage became a staple of modern construction because water is one of the primary causes of damage. Standing and running water alike can both make a field unplayable or detract from the state of the game.
Early drainage systems, like French drains, were simply rock-filled trenches that offered water a path of least resistance away from a given structure. Later, perforated drain pipes were laid into French drains to better facilitate this process. To this day, black corrugated and perforated pipe is one of the primary drainage tools used for this purpose. What is essentially century-and-a-half-old technology is our main drainage tool.
These systems are prone to clogging, are limited in their ability to take in water (referred to as the “inflow rate”), and are labor-intensive to both install and repair.