Minneapolis was the place to be April 10-14, when trenchless professionals gathered in full-force for the 2022 NASTT No-Dig Show. Attendees came to the Minneapolis Convention Center for a full slate of educational, exhibiting and networking opportunities — a program much more in line with No-Dig Shows before the era of COVID.

The five-day annual event — the largest trenchless technology-focused tradeshow in the world — featured more than 150 exhibiting companies on the tradeshow floor, giving attendees ample opportunities to check out the latest technologies and products the industry has to offer and network with trenchless professionals.

The conference portion featured more than 132 peer-reviewed technical papers, plus roundtable discussions via six industry track sessions focused on both installation and rehabilitation that spans the three days of the show. This year’s presentations focused on a diverse range of trenchless topics, including horizontal directional drilling (HDD), cured-in-place pipe (CIPP), microtunneling, inspection, case histories, asset management, pipe jacking and ramming, water and sewer rehabilitation, project planning, inspection and trenchless research.

Trenchless Technology editors Sharon Bueno and Mike Kezdi also hosted a special technical session, with the architects of the winning projects for our 2021 Trenchless Technology Projects of the Year for New Installation and Rehabilitation presenting their projects.

The event got under way with its Kick-off Breakfast, sponsored by Trenchless Technology and Holly Pipe. The featured speaker was motivational speaker Keni Thomas — a decorated U.S. military veteran-turned-country musician who gives a personal account of his heart-wrenching experiences in the chaotic 1993 Battle of Mogadishu to express a unique set of leadership lessons and inspired view of our greater purpose.

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Also at the Breakfast, Trenchless Technology formally honored its 2021 Trenchless Technology Project of the Year New Installation and Rehabilitation winners, as well as Derek Potvin, our 2022 Trenchless Technology Person of the Year. NASTT also spotlighted the event sponsors, NASTT board members, Municipal Scholarship recipients and NASTT volunteers.

At the conclusion of the April 11 technical sessions, attendees took in the NASTT 21st annual Educational Fund Auction. The auction was held in the exhibit hall, allowing attendees to walk the exhibit hall and visit with the exhibitors. More than $1 million has been raised since 2002, with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the NASTT Educational Fund are used to support trenchless training, technical course manuals, university student attendance at the No-Dig Show, and student and municipal scholarships.

RELATED: 2021 Project of the Year Rehabilitation Winner: ‘The Mess’ Emergency Gas System Repair in South Orange, New Jersey

The Gala Dinner returned in 2022, sponsored by AOC, with NASTT handing out various honors including awards for Innovative Products, the Ralston Young Trenchless Achievement Award (Matthew Olson, P.E., Lithos Engineering), Volunteer of the Year (Brian Avon, Carollo Engineers) and its Chair Award for Distinguished Service (Tiffanie Mendez, NASTT Board of Directors Secretary and national director of sales for Sunbelt Rentals, Pump Solutions).

The 2022 recipient of the Abbott Innovative Product Award for New Installation is Boyd Tech, Inc. for its B-Tech Connections, designed by Sam Boyd. A means to mechanically connect HDPE piping for pulling, pushing and transitions, B-Tech Connections provides a pipe-to-pipe connection wherein ID and OD remain the same. Either permanently locked or temporarily installed, connections are water-tight with a broad range of applications in trenchless and non-trenchless applications. Pull-ability of connections exceeds 70 percent of virgin pipe strength while retaining flexibility. Connections can be applied to a wide range of pipe sizes and wall thicknesses. Transitions to other pipe materials can also be provided to ease with compatibility issues.

RELATED: 2021 Trenchless Technology Project of the Year New Installation Winner: Line 1021 — Greys Point to Rappahannock Station — Rappahannock River Crossing

The 2022 recipient of the Abbott Innovative Product Award for Rehabilitation is Aegion LLC for their CIPP Carbon Filter System, spearheaded by Dennis Pivin, P.E. A carbon filtration solution for CIPP steam-cured product that exhausts Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and accompanying odors. This device will significantly reduce or eliminate the amount of VOCs from the emissions. The potential reduction of reportable greenhouse gas emissions is greater than 90 percent. The filtering system uses selected carbon and other filtration media in a filter canister design to capture the VOC. The steam hose is attached to the uncured liner and connects to the plumbing attachment of the filter. This allows the steam to flow down into the canister and then outward through the openings on the four sides. Each of the four sides has a carbon filter panel so that gas exiting must pass through before discharge into the environment. In addition, a mesh screening system is deployed inside of the unit which helps remove water from the steam emissions and prevent contact with the carbon filter panels.

Capping off the evening is the induction of the 2022 NASTT Hall of Fame class. The 2022 Hall of Fame class consisted of innovative trenchless engineer Dennis Doherty, P.E., microtunneling pioneer Paul Nicholas and former NASTT executive director Michael Willmets.

The conference concluded with its annual Closing Luncheon, which gives attendees a preview of the 2023 No-Dig Show, which makes its first-ever stop in Portland, Oregon. The show will take place April 30-May 4 at the Oregon Convention Center.

Sharon M. Bueno is the editor of Trenchless Technology.