Tackling the Issues

Survey reveals biggest challenges facing trenchless industry in the coming years.

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At the National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO), we are constantly evaluating how we perform as it pertains to our mission: to set industry standards for the assessment and rehabilitation of underground pipelines, and to assure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies.

One of the ways we do this is through ongoing research. In May of this year we launched an online survey for all NASSCO members, as well as nonmember engineers, municipalities and contractors who are aligned with the sewer and wastewater segments.

Results showed that, among NASSCO members, the most noted value of NASSCO membership continues to be found in two main areas: the ability of members to participate in educational opportunities and training; and networking with peers and other associates. When asked why members renew their membership year after year, these two responses were noted once again, confirming that NASSCO delivers when it comes to education, training and networking.

In addition to understanding how we can improve service to our membership base, we also wanted to know what the trenchless industry as a whole viewed as the industry's top challenges in the next two years. Aside from obvious funding issues and aging infrastructure, a number of respondents noted the following challenges to our industry as those they would like to see addressed in the short term:

• Greater acceptance of trenchless technologies as a viable solution

• Wider acceptance of water main rehabilitation

• Combining PACP with criticality

• Lack of competent, trained labor

• Availability of large-sized pipe

• Educating customers/engaging public support

• Quality of installations

• Training in new technology

• Maintaining standards

We also asked NASSCO members which of our 13 individual committees most appealed to them. Two committees were chosen most frequently:

• Wider acceptance of water main rehabilitation Asset Management: Condition Grading and Consequences of Failure

• Wider acceptance of water main rehabilitation Industry Standards: Update of CCTV and Cleaning Specifications

Based on the responses, it appears these two areas also pose concerns for our industry and are initiatives where trenchless professionals feel their time and resources are needed.

To all of you who took the time to answer our survey, thank you. We listen to our members and nonmembers alike and take your responses very seriously. You, after all, are on the front lines and see what is happening in the trenches, day in and day out.

In the coming months, as we continue to develop our strategic plan to make NASSCO an even better resource for the underground industry, we will dive deeper into these findings and explore areas where we can focus our attention to set industry standards for the assessment and rehabilitation of underground pipelines and to assure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies.

To view the complete research summary, please visit www.nassco.org.

Ted DeBoda is executive director of NASSCO. He can be reached at director@nassco.org. 


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