Municipal Forums Provide Vital Info, Communication Role For Cities

September 2010 Vol. 65 No. 9

For a dozen years, Municipal Forums sponsored by the Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) at Louisiana Tech University have been bringing vital information about the various trenchless technologies to municipal and public works officials. The forums are also attended by consultants, contractors, suppliers and other interested parties.

As they are now organized, the one-day forums are held on a regional basis. Topics covered vary and change as necessary to cover new technologies and timely issues. Seven forums were held in the first half of 2010 with others planned through the end of the year, said Jadranka Simicevic, TTC research engineer and forums coordinator.

“The TTC municipal forums,” said Simicevic, “enable municipalities to educate many of their employees about trenchless technologies -- from basics to current developments and new technologies. The regional format is especially valuable in times when many agencies have freezes on travel and are unable to send employees to national conferences.”

Forum participants also have the opportunity to earn continuing education credits at some of the forums. At certain forums, PDH certificates can be issued at no extra charge, and at all forums CE certificates can be issued for a small fee.

Recent sessions have included: design, installation and UV-cure of CIPP liners; fold-and-form liners; pipe jacking; sliplining; spray lining; potable water pressure pipe rehabilitation; spiral-wound liners; large-diameter pipe rehabilitation; microtunneling; pipebursting; horizontal directional drilling; pilot tubing; grouted liners; manhole rehabilitation; different pipe materials; pipe inspection and assessment; asset management; locating of buried utilities; contracting problems; and impact of consent decrees on municipalities.

Forum development
Municipal participants help select topics of forums they will attend. Well ahead of each forum, potential participants are invited to suggest topics of interest. Minutes of previous forums are reviewed to identify topic suggestions. Presenters at previous forums also suggest ideas and many potential presenters for each upcoming session are asked for recommendations. The goal is for each forum program to contain presentations that are timely and of interest to those attending.

In some forums in the past, Simicevic said, municipal members have chosen a specific focus for the meeting and invited industry speakers to present their products or expertise on the chosen topics.