Safety Is Paramount

Recent concern over health issues related to the steam-curing process deserve better research and data.

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Trenchless technologies continue to grow around the world because they have been a safe and cost-effective method of renewing our buried infrastructure for nearly half a century. These “no-dig” technologies minimize impact to businesses and traffic; use a smaller carbon footprint; and avoid tearing up and replacing roads, driveways, and landscapes.

Recently, there have been reports — including a Purdue University report titled “Worksite Chemical Air Emissions and Worker Exposure during Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater Pipe Rehabilitation Using Cured-in-Place-Pipe (CIPP)” — that these technologies, specifically steam-cured CIPP, may be the source of health issues. To our knowledge, while there have been complaints regarding the smell of resins, serious health issues associated with this technology have not been documented. Additionally, NASSCO members have reviewed these reports and found that the data used to support the conclusions are questionable.

NASSCO — together with other leading industry organizations such as NSF International, North American Society for Trenchless Technology, Water Research Center, Water Environment & Reuse Foundation, and American Composites Manufacturers Association — is currently working on a comprehensive study to provide the best data available to determine if there are health safety issues associated with steam-cured CIPP and, if so, what changes are needed to protect the health and safety of workers and the public.

Phase 1 involves an intensive review of several existing studies to determine the accuracy of the data and conclusions used, in addition to preparing a work plan to collect and analyze data that support or refute previous conclusions. Phase 2 will include the execution of that work plan using a professional environmental consultant and all available industry resources to collect the valid field data necessary to evaluate the risks and identify appropriate actions to ensure the safety and health of our communities.

NASSCO’s position is that the recently published articles related to the Purdue University report don’t include data or credible evidence that support the conclusions and that steam-cured CIPP continues to be a safe and reliable method of pipe rehabilitation when following recommended installation procedures, industry safety practices, and good housekeeping at job sites. Some articles supporting these reports show images of job sites where recommended procedures and safety practices are not followed, which is in direct opposition to the standards and training NASSCO provides and supports.

NASSCO holds paramount the safety of our industry’s employees and the public. Our comprehensive study, in partnership with other industry leaders, will work to achieve our mission to assure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies.


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