Editor's Log: Rehab Growth & Dreams

July 2012, Vol. 67, No. 7

In a short period of time, we’ve zoomed past dreams and into reality of what can be done underground with trenchless or substantially trenchless methods for solving utility infrastructure problems. To illustrate that growth, one only has to look at our annual Rehabilitation Selection Guide, compiled by Managing Editor Traci Read with a helping hand from Contributing Editor Gerry Muenchmeyer. Each year these guides gain in number of companies and diversity of products offered. Compare this new guide to the one we published just five years ago and the growth is startling.

Driving the rehab market, of course, is the aging and decaying infrastructure of America. With the sewer/water systems of many cities far past their design life and operating on borrowed time and others rapidly approaching that point, rehab has steadily grown as an essential, affordable and practical industry. Rehab continues to hold its market strength, even during the Great Recession.

Ironically, while municipal spending has been suffering, rehab as a whole has been holding steady. Cities still have to deal with ongoing emergency repairs and increasingly, EPA consent decrees. Rehabilitation can’t stop and cannot be ignored – it is too vital to the survival of municipal systems. Indeed, many contractors with a strong presence in the rehab industry have thrived over the past few years.

But that said, the rehabilitation needs of America are almost unfathomable. Imagine the health of our country and the thriving rehabilitation market once at least a portion of the essential dollars are finally funneled into the market. Those kinds of heady dreams may seem unobtainable, but then again, so was the diversity and practicality of the rehab market just a couple of decades ago.