Louisiana Tech University Trenchless Technology Center Selected to Head CIPP Emissions Study

Levels of styrene and other compounds will be measured at different CIPP installation sites to capture variations in emissions and what effect it might have on workers and the public

Louisiana Tech University Trenchless Technology Center Selected to Head CIPP Emissions Study

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Louisiana Tech University’s Trenchless Technology Center has been awarded a research project by NASSCO to study air emissions from the steam-cured CIPP process and the potential impact on workers and the public.

NASSCO reviewed multiple responses to its request for proposals before deciding on the Trenchless Technology Center, which will partner with the Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center on the study.

The research project will be Phase 2 of a larger study that began last December. Phase 1 was a four-month study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington’s Center for Underground Infrastructure Research and Education and Germany’s Institute for Underground Infrastructure that focused on a review of published literature pertaining to chemical emissions during CIPP installations using styrene-based resins. The outcome of that study was inconclusive, as researchers deemed the 21 different papers reviewed to have “questionable methodologies” and not adequately capturing what workers and citizens may actually be exposed to from a CIPP job site.

That’s where the upcoming Phase 2 study comes into play. It will go further than previous field studies have and calls for measurement of styrene and other organic compounds at six CIPP installation sites, representing different pipe diameters and lengths, in order to capture variation in emissions. Measurements will be conducted before, during, and after curing at the termination manhole, as well as various locations in the surrounding outside area and inside nearby buildings. Worker exposure will also be measured via personal exposure monitors. Finally, dispersion modeling will be conducted to estimate compound concentrations at a large number of locations for a wide variety of meteorological conditions. Measured and modeled concentrations will be compared to appropriate health-based action levels to determine if any potential health risks exist for workers or citizens in the surrounding communities.

The decision to pursue the research project was partially in response to a study that came out of Purdue University in July 2017 that brought up the issue of potential release of toxic chemicals during the steam-cured CIPP process. NASSCO had cited concerns about “inconsistencies” in the Purdue University study and committed to doing further research. NASSCO formed a work group consisting of industry leaders to develop the requests for proposals for both Phase 1 and 2 of the project and to select from the multiple responses to ensure the highest levels of integrity in the final selections.

“One of my top priorities is to join forces with associations and organizations so that we may have a unified voice and serve our industry to the best of our ability,” says Sheila Joy, NASSCO executive director. “The Trenchless Technology Center’s proposal to partner with the Army Corps of Engineers demonstrates their understanding of this concept. We all share the same goal when it comes to the safety of our workers and communities, and this study is a perfect example of how unification will reveal the information we need to make smarter decisions for our industry as a whole.”


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