Association Gives Voice to Chemical Grouting Industry
November 22, 2011Download The IGGA Whitepaper
The Infiltration Control Grouting Association (ICGA) maybe the trenchless marketplace’s best kept secret. Quietly in existence for more than 10 years, this group of chemical grout manufacturers, suppliers and contractors continue to spread their knowledge about chemical grouting as a viable complementary tool and, in some cases, an alternative to other trenchless rehab methods.
“Our overall purpose is to promote and educate on the proper use of chemical grouting as a means to reduce, control or stop groundwater infiltration into sewer collection systems,” says ICGA president Marc Anctil, also president of Logiball Inc. “When it’s used properly, it will last for a long time and prevent any further decay of a collection system that is structurally sound… ICGA is one way we are trying to educate engineers and municipalities and even contractors doing this kind of work and show that it does have its place.”
ICGA — a division of NASSCO — works to get its message out to engineers, contractors and municipalities through training classes offered through ICGA member companies, a recent white paper on chemical grouting and through articles such as this. Anctil says it’s important to keep this method of rehabilitation in the minds of those who are making the critical decisions regarding their sewer maintenance. With all the choices available to engineers and cities today, chemical grouting doesn’t get a lot of the limelight, he says.
“In the last 15 to 20 years, there has been a boom in the trenchless industry with new technology regarding cured-in-place pipe (CIPP), UV lighting, fold-and-form, pipe bursting, etc.,” says Anctil. “Chemical grouting has been around for 50 years. Our goal is to keep the grouting name in front of people. For every person who sells grouting, there are 20 guys out there selling alternative rehabilitation methods. Which one do you remember?”
Background on ICGA
Beginnings of ICGA actually goes back nearly 20 years, with a grouting committee within NASSCO, with a goal to establish a uniform group that represented the grouting industry. A few years later, members of the grouting committee re-configured as a separate organization from NASSCO called the North American Grout Marketing Association (NAGMA) and existed for five years. NAGMA was much more active than the grouting committee and worked with a marketing firm to get its chemical grouting message out via an advertising campaign using postcards.
“Those were the days before websites,” says ICGA past president Dick Schantz, product manager for Aries Industries.
The association went through another metamorphosis about 10 years ago, re-teaming with NASSCO as a full division of the sewer association. A name change to Infiltration Control Grouting Association helped to give a clearer picture of what ICGA was all about. ICGA has 20 strong and involved NASSCO members that work to spread its message, with a majority being rehab contractors.
ICGA also participated in the development of three ASTM specifications for manhole grouting, mainline grouting and lateral grouting.
“Interest in chemical grouting has picked up over the last few years,” Schantz says, “and it’s become a very well accepted method to seal the lateral connection into the lined pipe. Also, as the cost of rehab goes up, folks are learning that chemical grouting is a way they can cost-effectively stop infiltration.”
Anctil and Schantz both note that chemical grouting does not replace CIPP but is an effective tool in the fight against groundwater infiltration in a pipe that is structurally sound. “We are not saying [chemical grouting] is a one-stop, fix-all but it does have a place in the industry and it prevents any further decay of a collection system that is structurally sound but is still allowing groundwater to come in,” Anctil says.
Ways to Educate
Although ICGA does not sponsor or organize training classes, a few of its members took it upon themselves to establish professional chemical grout training for engineers, contractors and public works representatives. These three-day technical training events for grout truck operators and inspectors are run twice a year in January at the Aries Service Center in Pompano Beach, Fla., and another location in the United States. These sessions — called the Aries Grout Boot Camp — are led by professionals at Aries, Avanti International and Logiball.
Attendees learn everything they need to know about chemical grouting: from theory to safety of handling chemicals to equipment maintenance to best practices. They can also earn Professional Development Hours through CIGMAT, which is affiliated with the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Houston, Texas.
Interest in this educational camp has gained interest in recent years. Anctil says it’s important to bring this often-overlooked rehab method to newer engineers and show them how it works. “We have had more interest from city operators and engineers, as well as contractors sending their grout truck newbies,” Anctil says. “We typically get 25 attendees, which is a workable class size.”
The next training camp is scheduled for Jan. 10-12, 2012, at the Aries facility.
Another educational tool ICGA is finalizing is a white paper on chemical grouting — an authoritative guide on the process of grouting, including ASTM specs, training and success stories of cities that have used chemical grouting. The paper was written by an independent source and does not promote and market any one product or technology.
“It’s a summary of information that has been in the marketplace,” says Schantz, who aided the paper’s writer to ensure accuracy (Check out the white paper in PDF form at our website alongside this article at www.trenchlesstechnology.com.).
Anctil and Schantz say it’s important to have an association devoted to chemical grouting to continue educating engineers and owners, as well as and training grouting operators. “Without a group like ICGA, there would be no focal point for the [chemical grouting] industry,” Schantz says, adding that it pulls the suppliers, manufacturers and contractors together to promote the industry. More information about ICGA can be found at www.sewergrouting.com.
“Chemical grouting is a very economic way to stop groundwater infiltration at the source before it enters the pipe,” he says.
Sharon M. Bueno is managing editor of Trenchless Technology.