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Local fields may have faulty turf

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Several local schools and sporting facilities have installed costly artificial grass that reportedly wears down much sooner than it's supposed to. When contacted, most weren't aware of the problem.

Nazareth College, University of Rochester, Town of Webster, Penfield Central School District, and the Rochester Rhinos all have the artificial grass, according to a recent National Public Radio report.

The issue became public when FieldTurf, the company that sold and installed the grass, sued the product's maker, Duraspine, in 2011. Court documents showed that FieldTurf executives knew that the grass doesn't live up to advertising claims.

When contacted, a University of Rochester spokesperson said that the school knew about the turf issue and that the Fauver Stadium field was replaced in 2012 under warranty with FieldTurf. Officials at Nazareth and Penfield Central School District both confirmed that they have the turf, but said that they are not aware of any problems with it, though they did report some wear.

Nearly 1,500 Duraspine artificial grass fields were installed around the country between 2005 and 2012, mostly for athletic playing fields. Most were installed in California, New York, Texas, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. FieldTurf made about $570 million off the sale of the turf, according to Christopher Baxter and Matthew Stanmyre, the reporters who broke the story for the Newark Star-Ledger and NJ Advance Media this year.

The fields are often between 75,000 and 100,000 square feet and cost as much as $500,000. That's a significant sum, and the cost is frequently paid by taxpayers.

FieldTurf issued a statement saying that the turf problem is not widespread and doesn't affect safety. If customers have concerns, they should contact FieldTurf, the statement said.

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