Trenchless Technology's Symposium was a Success

Story and photos by Diana Barnum

Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio just finished hosting their second Trenchless Technology Symposium in April with attendance near 120. Co-sponsoring the event was the Midwest Society for Trenchless Technology (MSTT).
The two-day event featured an overview of trenchless methods, a variety of presentations, panel discussions, networking opportunities, exhibits and refreshments. And new this year were outside demonstrations of directional drilling, pipe bursting, pipeline and manhole rehabilitation.
“Everything turned out okay,” said Dr. Alan Atalah, BGSU trenchless technology instructor and host of the program. “We were hoping to make more attendance this year, but were very happy with all of the students, speakers, staff and attendees that came.”

There were two tracks of presentations running simultaneously offering attendees a selection of topics. Some of the choices included:
• “High Density Polyethylene Pipe for Trenchless Technology” by Mark Spelder of ISCO Industries
• “Renewal of Pipelines Using Folded Pipe Technology” by Dave Kozman of Rinker Materials Corporation
• “Water Main Pipe Bursting and Other Case Studies” by Troy Freed of Forrer Supply Co., Inc.
• “Ductile Iron Pipe in Trenchless Technology” by Chris Jarrett and Ralph Carpenter of American Ductile Pipe
During session, attendees enjoyed hands-on opportunities like inspecting fused high-density polyethylene pipe for possible leakage areas. There also were opportunities to ask about certifications necessary in the industry and join in discussions about current industry trends.
Some of the sessions were broken up with outdoor demonstrations from Ditch Witch of Ohio and Vermeer Sales and Service, Inc. of Findlay, Ohio. Ditch Witch brought out their JT1720 Mach 1 HDD system, able to handle multiple conduits up to 500 feet. It boasts an 85-hp diesel engine, develops 17,000 lbs. of pullback, up to 1800 ft. lb. of spindle torque.
“The symposium had a good turn out,” said Ed Schwartzkopf, Ditch Witch sales manager. “They had a good mix of people - contractors and students.”
Schwartzkopf is also the supplier representative for the Ohio HDD.
Vermeer set up their D10 X 15 Navigator on BGSU grounds. Great for medium-distance, smaller diameter bores, this machine is self-contained and compact. It has a narrow width of 42” with rod loader, 36” without. There is an optional automated 440’ rod loader. Pullback is 10,000 lbs., mud flow is 13.5 gpm.
Sessions ended with a panel discussion, opening an arena to discuss current events. Some participants brought up an emphasis on bad press coverage of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in the newspapers. Others suggested that since this is a new industry area of specialization it makes a good media focus.
Contractors suggested that maybe more city engineers and utility workers - cable, phone, water -could be invited to the symposium next year to share in discussions.
“Let’s all work together so that it’s not the engineers versus the contractors or the engineers versus the owners, etc.,” said Ron White, trenchless technology division manager for Cook Paving and Construction Co., Inc. of Brooklyn, Ohio. White is also president of the Ohio HDD Association.
Panels members included Ben Cocogliato from TT Technologies, Inc.; Mark Bruce from Can Clay Corporation; Tod Schlachter from S & S Directional Boring Ltd.; and John Christ from Baroid Drilling Fluids.
Lunch was donated by a large program supporter, The Robbins Company of Solon, Ohio, a designer, manufacturer and seller / renter of custom equipment for the underground excavation industry. Robbins donated $2,000 last year and this year for BGSU students to attend the No Dig conference. Last year’s event was in Nashville, Tennessee, and this year’s is in Montreal, Canada.
BGSU already has plans for next year’s Trenchless Technology Symposium.
“We need to get the word out more next year,” said Dr. Atalah. “to the engineering community, utilities- water, gas, D.O.T ... anyone who deals with pipe underground, and highway and transportation, so they’ll learn about more options to go trenchless.”
Dr. Atalah is also very supportive of women in construction and encourages their attendance. One attendee, Gloria Roth, owner of Precision Directional Boring, Inc., of Brunswick, Ohio, brought her crew with her to learn the latest industry news and check out new equipment.
“Pipe bursting rehab will be our new focus,” said Gloria Roth. “We’re in transition from a Cat 235 and John Deere 410, 510 and 310.”
Roth’s company did major underground work before. But she wants to cut back to two crews and is looking at a Ditch Witch 920 and 2720 for them.
For more information about trenchless technology, contact Dr. Alan Atalah, Bowling Green State University, College of Technology, Construction Management Program, Bowling Green, Ohio 43403. Email: or call: (419) 372-8354, or fax inquiries to: (419) 372-6066.
For equipment information, contact Ditch Witch of Ohio, 2020 Integrity Dr. S., Columbus, Ohio 43209. Call: (800) 686-2517. Vermeer Sales and Service, Inc. is located at110 Stanford Parkway, Findlay, Ohio 45840. Call: (419) 424-9686. And The Robbins Company is at 29100 Hall Street, Solon, Ohio 44139. Call: (440) 248-3303.