Trenchless advocacy brings results

NASSCO’s work has spelled success for the trenchless rehabilitation industry.

Many people are aware of the first half of NASSCO’s mission statement: “To set standards for the assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure ... .” Less familiar, perhaps, is the conclusion: “… and to ensure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies.”

Through the years, members and nonmembers alike have turned to NASSCO to not only promote, but to defend various trenchless technologies from industry threats.

In the 1990s, NASSCO worked closely with the U.S. EPA to prevent a proposed ban of acrylamide grout. Fully supported by contractor, supplier and professional members of NASSCO, the issue was finally resolved in 2002 with a rejection of the proposed ban.

In 2003, a CCTV manufacturer attempted to get government regulations revised for explosion-proof cameras in a sanitary sewer environment. The proposed revisions would have cost contractors up to a hundred million dollars. Thanks to the unification and determination of NASSCO members to do what is best for our workers and communities, the issue was successfully resolved.

In the late 2000s, proposed changes to OSHA confined-space entry regulations were made. If reclassified to new construction, routine maintenance jobs would have meant additional job site requirements, costing the industry roughly $7.5 million per year. Through NASSCO’s Health and Safety Committee, in 2008 NASSCO successfully testified at congressional hearings to request that OSHA classify rehabilitation work as maintenance.

In 2011, The National Toxicology Program of Health and Human Services listed styrene as a potential carcinogen. NASSCO members worked closely with the styrene industry to request a government review of the science behind the findings. Ultimately a congressional committee authorized funding of the study by the National Academy of Science.

Between 2018 and 2020, NASSCO turned to institutions of higher learning to identify potential safety risks, if any, from the emission of styrenated resin used in the steam cure of CIPP. The full reports, safety recommendations and updated specification guidelines are available on

In 2020, after nearly two years of advocating for the removal of language in the Uniform Plumbing Code that banned the use of cured-in-place pipe and other trenchless technologies to replace cast iron soil pipes and fittings, NASSCO received a decision from the IAMPO board of directors that reversed this ban.

Trenchless technologies for the assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation of underground infrastructure are critical to repairing our aging infrastructure without the need to dig up and dispose of old pipe. Trenchless rehabilitation can be more economical, less disruptive to property owners, and deliver long-lasting solutions. If you know of a trenchless technology that is being threatened — or needs awareness to ensure its continued acceptance and growth — please email me at 


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