NASSCO (National Association of Sewer Service Companies) closed out a busy and eventful 2011 with several significant accomplishments and continuation of a formal strategic planning process that will guide the association in the coming years.
It also was a year of continued growth in membership, said Kathy Romans, who closes out her year as president in February 2012 at NASSCO’s annual meeting in Las Vegas.
“We are proud our membership increased more than 10 percent during the past year,” said Romans.
Significant accomplishments during the year cited by Romans include:
• Establishment of a Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) recertification process;
• Executing a contract between NASSCO and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) to add the Manhole Assessment and Certification Program (MACP)and Lateral Assessment Certification Program (LACP) to CSA’s training program;
• Inclusion of PACP in the Water Environment Federation’s “Operations Challenge”; and
• Production of the NASSCO Jetter Training video.
Romans said the association began 2011 at UCT (Underground Construction Technology International Conference & Exposition) in Houston last January where it always has an active presence on the educational program, other activities and with the RehabZone.
“In 2011,” said Romans, “we increased the number of live demonstrations at the RehabZone and a host of members have been involved in planning the 2012 event to include hands-on Skill Challenge events and other additions to make this unique, no-selling ‘Zone’ an even more effective educational experience.”
In February, NASSCO participated in the Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo and then held the association’s annual conference in Puerto Rico with three days of education, training and networking. The semi-annual membership meeting was held in October in conjunction with WEFTEC.
“Throughout the year,” Romans continued, “we completed many successful Inspector Training Certification Program (ITCP) classes for cured-in-place pipe, and this year we worked hard with the membership on two new ITCP classes — Manhole Rehabilitation and Pipe Bursting — that will be available in late spring of 2012. Considerable time and energies have also been spent on software certification requirements and initiatives to ensure that PACP data is accurate.”
NASSCO, along with the American Composites Manufacturing Association (ACMA), has actively supported the lawsuit filed in June 2011 by the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC) immediately after an announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that styrene had been added to the latest HHS National Toxicology Program (NTP) Report on Carcinogens (RoC) classifying styrene as a “reasonably anticipated carcinogen.” The suit seeks to remove styrene from that classification.
Styrene is a primary ingredient used to manufacture the thermoset resins used in cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) sewer rehabilitation, and designating styrene as a possible cancer-causing agent obviously is a concern to the pipe rehabilitation industry.
In October, NASSCO participated in a congressional “Fly-In” Composites Caucus to help educate legislators about the importance of styrene in the nation’s infrastructure, including CIPP rehabilitation.
As a result, 50 members of the House of Representatives supported a letter to the White House chief of staff requesting President Obama’s administration to contract with the National Academy of Science (NAS) for an independent and rigorous review of potential health effects of the widely-used and important chemical, styrene.
“We believe the study would help settle the scientific controversy that has been raised both within and outside the federal government regarding the health effects of styrene,” said NASSCO Executive Director Ted DeBoda.
Throughout 2011, NASSCO has devoted much time and attention to initiating and maintaining efforts to educate members about the ruling, its possible ramifications to the industry and NASSCO members and to keep members informed about the status of litigation (see related sidebar).
Romans, the first female president of NASSCO, is national sales manager of Trelleborg NPC Pipe Seals. Taking over as president at the February annual meeting will be John Nelson, vice president of sales, Visu-Sewer.
Based in Owings Mills, MD, NASSCO is a national association composed of several hundred members representing sewer and rehabilitation industry manufacturers and suppliers, municipalities and utility districts, engineers, and contracting firms dedicated to establishing and implementing standards for rehabilitation of underground utilities.
FOR MORE INFO:
NASSCO, (410) 486-3500, www.nassco.org
From the day last summer when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that styrene was added to the latest HHS National Toxicology Program (NTP) Report on Carcinogens (RoC) designating styrene as a “reasonably anticipated carcinogen”, NASSCO has actively supported efforts to overturn that decision and contributed important data to support efforts to document styrene used in CIPP linings poses no cancer risk.
In fact, NASSCO was engaged in the styrene controversy even before the announcement of styrene’s inclusion in the RoC. Earlier in the year — while the agency still was considering designating styrene as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen — NASSCO provided information to HHS about styrene’s use in the CIPP process.
NASSCO Executive Director Ted DeBoda has emphasized that the “reasonably anticipated carcinogen” classification requires no proof that the substance is dangerous at any concentration higher than normal industry defined threshold levels. As litigation proceeds, use of styrenated resins in the CIPP rehabilitation industry continues to employee thousands of people who provide a safe, valuable method of infrastructure rehabilitation.
The primary issue raised in litigation and by others opposing the designation is that the science behind the decision to name styrene a possible carcinogen is flawed and that there is no proven link between styrene and cancer in humans and animals.
NASSCO supports that position and contends that there is no evidence that styrene as it is currently used in the CIPP process poses any health hazards to the workers installing the CIPP or to the general public, citing independent studies in North America and Europe that concluded that a styrene exposure health hazard does not exist.
Litigation continues, pending receipt by the court of missing NTP records. Meanwhile a variety of initiatives are under way to support the styrene industry’s case that, properly used, styrene does not pose a cancer risk.