WESTT No-Dig Returns To Sunny Arizona

By Traci Read, Senior Editor | September 2010 Vol. 65 No. 9
(left-right) Arvid Veidmark, executive vice president, Specialized Services Company and Samuel Ariaratnam, advisor, WESTT board

If you are looking for how cutting-edge trenchless technology is being used in innovative ways, the Sixth Annual Western Regional No-Dig Conference & Exhibition to be held in Tempe, AZ, will present several discussions on that subject.

The Western Society for Trenchless Technology (WESTT) and co-host Underground Construction magazine are sponsoring the annual conference Oct. 25-26 at the Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel in Tempe, AZ, a suburb of Phoenix.

“The Phoenix/Tempe area is part of the WESTT conference rotation,” says Sam Ariaratnam, advisor, WESTT board of directors, Arizona State University professor. “The inaugural conference was held here in 2005. We have really have come a long way and are looking forward to the sixth annual event.”

Ariaratnam commented that while the federal government stimulus package program has caused an uptick in construction, work is still slow as it trickles down to the infrastructure projects.

“There are pockets of the country that are undergoing necessary trenchless construction projects,” says Ariaratnam. “Unfortunately, the current economy has resulted in numerous projects being put on hold. The stimulus package has resulted in a brief surge in spending for “visible” projects such as highway construction. But in my opinion, “invisible” underground projects did not receive nearly their fair share of these funds. That is very unfortunate because the nation’s water and wastewater systems are aging and in desperate need of rehabilitation and replacement.

“Currently, there are a few trenchless projects underway in the Phoenix metropolitan area. There are a steady stream of pipeline rehabilitation projects, and smaller diameter installations using horizontal directional drilling; however, the current economic situation has definitely hurt this area.”

Program benefits (subhead)

Riding high on the success of last year’s WESTT No-Dig Conference that was held in Hawaii to a record crowd, Ariaratnam said that “we expect to see a good turnout of attendees when we return to Arizona, even though the economic environment is still struggling. Municipal employees tasked with finding more economical ways of constructing their infrastructures will find this year’s WESTT program especially beneficial. Several case studies will highlight the benefits and cost effectiveness of trenchless technologies that can be used as models for their own cities.”