UCTA Hosts Regional WaterWorks Conference

Building on the success of the acclaimed WaterWorks Conference held the past three years during the Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exhibition (UCT), the Underground Construction Technology Association (UCTA) and UCT teamed again to host a regional WaterWorks Conference at the University of Houston, Houston, TX, on Oct. 26-27.

Attendees represented municipalities and public works, engineers and contractors who had an interest in solving the problems of the nation’s aging water infrastructure.

The event kicked off with the 10th Annual UCTA Golf Tournament held at the Hermann Park Golf Course. Though inclement weather put a damper on the tournament, the monies donated for the event by sponsoring companies will go toward the association’s college scholarship fund. Sponsoring companies included: platinum sponsors Magnum Tunneling, HOBAS Pipe USA, BorTunCo and Vermeer; patron sponsors Cierra Pipe and American Commercial; and hole sponsors Mission Clay Pipe, Performance Pipe and American Ductile Iron Pipe.

After opening remarks by UCTA President Pat Mann, chief operating officer of Magnum Tunneling, and Program Conference Chair Rafael Ortega, vice president of LAN, the sessions focused on the construction and rehabilitation of water transmission and distribution systems.

Expert speakers from across North America shared their knowledge and insight into the critically important water infrastructure. Among the speakers in the morning sessions were Frank Crumb, water director, city of Fort Worth Water Department, who discussed “Asset Management: How To Prioritize Replacement Projects;” Casey Cords, Performance Pipe, shared “HDPE Uses In Water Rehabilitation;” George Ruchti, chair, ASCE Pipeline Division Task Committee on Water Pipe Condition Assessment, explained “Water Pipeline Condition Assessment: Why It Is Needed, Where We Are With It;” and David Rosenberg, business development manager, Insituform Technologies, discussed “Pressured And Drinking Water Pipeline Rehabilitation.” A special Engineering Ethics course was taught by Dr. Cumaraswamy Vipulanandan, director of CIGMAT-University of Houston.

During lunch, keynote speaker Gary Oradat, executive director, Coastal Water Authority, discussed the Luce Bayou Interbasin Transfer Project. Scheduled for completion in June 2019, it will bring surface water from the Trinity River to Lake Houston (located on the San Jacinto River). The permit application will be submitted to the Corps of Engineers in March 2010. Estimated cost is $300 million (engineering, permitting, construction, etc.). The project is being funded by the city of Houston, North Harris County Regional Water Authority (RWA), West Harris County RWA, North Fort Bend RWA and the Central Harris County RWA. The city requested that Costal Water Authority deliver the project. The project encompasses a 400 MGD pump station, three miles of dual 108-inch pipeline, and 23 miles of open canal. Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2016.

In the afternoon, four sessions were held. The first session was on the “Central Arizona Project Capital Improvement And Asset Management Programs,” presented by Randy Randolph, engineering manager, Central Arizona Water Conservation District-Central Arizona Project. During the second session, Arthur Morris, managing engineer, City of Houston and Gregory Henry, project manager, LAN, discussed the “City of Houston’s Large Diameter Water Line Projects.” Two panel discussions followed; the first of which addressed “New Technologies” highlighting pipe driver technology by Cliff Jones, chief operating officer, Pressure Pipe Inspection, and unmanned robotic applications by David Kurtz, regional manager, Pure Technologies. The trends in trenchless as they relate to water was the closing session. The featured speakers were John Hair, owner, J.D. Hair & Associates; Edward Boswell, president, BRH-Garver Construction; Dale Kornegay, president/CEO, BorTunCo; and Mark Boyer, president, Boyer Inc.

Attendees had plenty of time to visit with the many companies exhibiting at WaterWorks. Besides earning valuable education credits, attendees also had a chance to win raffle tickets to a Texan football game.

The conference was a success largely due to the generous contributions of its sponsoring companies: Boyer Inc., BorTunCo, Magnum Tunneling, Vermeer, Laughlin-Thyssen, LAN, Rain for Rent and Elastizell of St. Louis.

For more information regarding the upcoming the UCTA’s MVP Awards Luncheon at UCT Tampa in January 2010 or general information regarding the UCTA, visit the group’s website at www.uctaonline.org, or contact Ginger Coleman, UCTA administrator, (713) 839-0808, e-mail ginger@amchouston.com.

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