WESTT No-Dig Returns To Sunny Arizona

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.”

Especially designed for public officials, engineers, utility company personnel, designers and contractors who are involved with constructing, rehabilitating and managing underground utilities, the conference offers Continuing Education Units (CEUs) administered by Arizona State University.

Attendees will have the benefit of hearing about trenchless technology from industry experts who will be presenting eight hours of peer reviewed technical papers on a wide range of topics that include pipebursting, structural water main rehabilitation, on-grade installation of sanitary sewers, leak and gas detection, microtunnel jacking, HDD crossing, pipe ramming and much more.

Conference goers also will benefit from a more personal setting while still having time to visit the exhibit area and network with their peers.

“There will be 20 sponsoring companies exhibiting inside the venue who can answer more detailed questions about the technology and products they offer,” says Ariaratnam. “And as always, we’ve planned several sponsored networking opportunities for attendees to meet with their peers and industry leaders. Besides kicking the mornings off with breakfast, there are scheduled breaks throughout the two-day event, and a luncheon and reception on Monday.”

New affordable rates (subhead)

Conference organizers have taken steps to make the conference even more affordable this year.

“It is no secret that the nation is currently undergoing difficult economic times,” says Ariaratnam., “The WESTT organizers are in tune with the nation by offering a low cost option for people wanting to educate themselves about trenchless technologies without having to travel across the country to a larger national event.”

Register by Sept. 23 to take advantage of the new lower rates. Priced at just $275 for members, and $225 for subsequent persons from the same company or organization, registrants will receive two days of presentations, CEU credits, the NASTT No-Dig 2010 CD Proceedings, and sponsored breakfasts, luncheons and refreshments. The rates increase to $325 and $275, respectively, after Sept. 24. Non-members may also attend for a separate charge.

To receive discounted room rates, mention the “WESTT Conference” for a $119 single/double occupancy room. Room rates are guaranteed until Sept. 23, so book early to save money!

The venue is being held at the Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel-Tempe that recently underwent a $7 million transformation featuring renovated guest rooms and suites, a new outdoor pool area and restaurant, Fire + Spice. Guests also will enjoy free airport transportation to/from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

With Tempe’s close proximity to the airport, a variety of shopping options, a full list of attractions, an array of places to dine and, of course, world-famous sunny weather fulfills the needs of both the business and leisure traveler.

The Western Chapter of the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (WESTT) is a non-profit organization established in 2004 and includes the following states: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and New Mexico. WESTT is a regional chapter of the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT).

For program questions, contact Sam Ariaratnam (480) 965-7399 or Jennifer Glynn (925) 627-4151. For general conference registration questions, contact Glynn or Kate Wallin (916) 294-0095. Or visit the conference web site at www.nastt.org/westt for conference details and to register online.

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