Get Your Hands Dirty

NASSCO’s Operations and Maintenance Committee provides a new opportunity to get involved.

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Here at NASSCO we have a saying: When you become a member, be prepared to get your hands dirty. The opportunities for you to roll up your sleeves, have a voice and make a difference for the industry are immense.

One of the most important ways members can get involved is through participation in our various committees. This past winter we introduced the Operations and Maintenance Committee to a list of influential committees that already includes Infrastructure Condition Assessment, Industry Standards, Laterals, CIPP, Manhole Rehabilitation, Software Vendors, Asset Management and Pressure Pipe. With an objective to promote safety and knowledge by education of processes, equipment and tools for industry-specific tasks, the first O&M Committee meeting, chaired by Joe Schotthoefer of Doetsch Environmental, was held at NASSCO’s 2015 Annual Conference in Savannah, Georgia, this past February.

The high level of interest in this new committee was evidenced by the attendance of 27 industry professionals — including municipalities, engineers, contractors and manufacturers — who came together to lend their expertise and knowledge in educating and promoting safety in the workplace.

O&M Committee members shared their personal reasons for their involvement in the committee, and some of the common responses included:

  • Preserving a legacy — currently the older, more experienced operators are passing along their knowledge to younger operators, but a more formal level of training is needed to perpetuate work done right.
  • Filling the void for manufacturers who sometimes don’t provide the level of training necessary. Operators and owners look to NASSCO for information on operations and maintenance and we need to help set those standards.
  • Providing repeatable training resources to educate new employees and refresh more experienced employees. Verbal instructions aren’t enough.
  • Providing educational guides for industry personnel to help achieve peak job performance.
  • Updating NASSCO’s existing Jetter Code of Practice manual and video.
  • Developing a specification guideline for cleaning and inspecting large-diameter pipe.
  • Protecting operators, minimizing accidents and keeping people safe.
  • Extending the learning curve. For example, within two weeks of training, new operators are not likely to encounter everything they learned in a training session. Operators must have a reference document to go to as situations occur.
  • Providing a basic explanation of the need for training in simple layman’s terms to be shared with city councils, residents, etc.
  • Setting standards that are consistent among states and contractors. Educate both owners and operators.

The committee’s next steps are to update NASSCO’s Jetter Code of Practice, edit/modify the current jetter video with specific training modules, develop a specification guideline for large-diameter pipe cleaning and inspection, and focus on education and safety.

Obviously there is much work to be done. If you are interested in joining NASSCO, want to be involved in one or more of our influential committees, and are ready to get your hands dirty, contact us today at or 410/442-7473.


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