FALLS CHURCH, VA. – A team of 28 Irrigation Association and other volunteers came together on July 25 to improve and enhance the efficiency of irrigation systems at the nation’s most prominent military cemetery. 

Representing 11 companies and joined by IA staff, the IA team worked at Arlington National Cemetery as part of the Professional Landcare Network’s annual Renewal and Remembrance event. IA was an official event partner. In addition to IA’s team, PLANET irrigation efforts were led by John Eggleston, a member of PLANET and IA.

"This is sacred ground," said IA Vice President Bob Dobson, a returning volunteer who led IA’s efforts. "We appreciate the chance to improve Arlington National Cemetery for our country, our servicemen and women, and their families."

As quoted in The Washington Post, Kathryn Condon, executive director of the Army National Cemeteries Program, praised the expertise of the professionals. "The irrigation crew told us we weren’t getting full use out of our sprinklers," she said. "They not only told us, they fixed it. It’s like getting a day of free consultants coming in."

IA volunteers and staff added new irrigation components at the receiving vault, a historic building dating back to the Civil War. The volunteers and staff also upgraded the irrigation system at the columbarium, where cremated remains are interred. 

An irrigation audit of the existing system prior to this renovation yielded a distribution uniformity measure of 0.14. Upon completion of the renovation, a second audit was performed and yielded a DU of 0.73, a very significant improvement in the system. Previous years’ efforts have produced similar improvements and have resulted in a dramatic improvement in turf quality.     

The total value of the Renewal and Remembrance gift, including landscaping, tree work, and irrigation efforts, is estimated at more than $200,000 in products and services.