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A Retrospective of the Development of Trenchless Technology

Trenchless technology has become genuinely groundbreaking as it literally doesn’t require breaking ground. These techniques have eliminated the tearing up of streets, yard, and structures that were previously necessary to repair or replace the existing underground infrastructure. Trenchless technology requires no trenches to be dug to make the repair, saving time and money and stress while causing less disruption to homeowners, businesses, traffic and any other activities. So, let’s explore the trenchless technology milestones throughout recent history.
  • 1970: CIPP or cured in place pipe was developed. This process involves pulling a resin filled liner through a pipe, which hardens to create a seamless and smooth pipe. The technique was developed by UK agricultural engineer, Eric Wood to replace an air duct. Wood applied for and obtained a patent, but despite the success of the technique it was not readily embraced by the plumbing industry.
  • 1971: Insituform is founded. The name is derived from a Latin phrase meaning “to form in place.” The company is the first to use CIPP.
  • 1976: CIPP arrives in the U.S with the first CIPP project in Fresno, CA to rehabilitate a sewer pipe.
  • 1977: Pipe Bursting is introduced. This involves inserting cables into a pipe fitted with a bursting head. The cable is pulled through to push the old pipe away while the new one is laid in its place. This development occurred as a result of a need to replace thousands of cast iron pipes that were defective in the UK.
  • 1980: Insituform of North America is established. This event marks the worldwide reach of the company spanning 25 countries.
  • 1986: International Society of Trenchless Technology is founded. This UK private limited company has an aim to promote trenchless technology benefits around the world. Today, ISTT is affiliated with 28 regional societies.
  • 1990: NASTT or the North American Society for Trenchless Technology is founded. This non profit has the mission of advancing trenchless technology science and practice for the benefit of the public.
  • 1992: The debut of the Trenchless Technology Magazine with a mission to bring its readers’ unique knowledge and perspectives from the leading experts in the industry, packed with topical issues, opinion pieces, and case studies.
  • 1994: Eric Wood is tragically killed in a plane crash and later in the year, the Insituform CIPP patents expire. This allows other companies access to the technology and promotes healthy competition, lowering costs.
  • 2001: The first No Dig show is held. This event was created by the NASTT and has doubled in size in recent years to keep pace with the expansive industry growth. The event features exhibits, networking events, speaking engagements and interactive sessions.
  • 2011: Express Sewer and Drain is founded and becomes a trenchless technology advocate.
  • 2016: World Trenchless Day is initiated. This is celebrated the fourth Thursday in September each year to highlight the benefits of the technology and unite the industry to reach out to those who have not yet embraced the trenchless methods.
It is safe to say that the world is a better place since the development of trenchless technology and thanks to these innovators, we can repair and replace, safely and quickly today. By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.