Kieran Field


As everyone reading this magazine should be aware of by now, the great Canadian Trenchless Technology Road Show is returning to British Columbia and we are befittingly excited.


This Road Show is a result of a collaboration between the Centre for Advancement of Trenchless Technologies (CATT), Benjamin Media Inc. and the North American Society of Trenchless Technologies’ British Columbia chapter (NASTT-BC).

This year’s Road Show will be in the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond and will follow the same format as previous years, i.e. one day of courses followed by two days of technical presentations. But this year will offer even more to choose from.

RELATED: Plan to Attend the 2017 Trenchless Technology Road Show

We have some cutting edge technical presentations lined up for the following two days as well, with three sessions running concurrently. These will cover a range of topics including condition assessment, pressure and gravity pipe renovation, SUE, HDD, tunnelling and case studies.

The exhibit hall is surely to be another highlight of the Road Show. The hall will be filled with the latest and greatest from the trenchless technology world, offering great networking opportunities with industry peers. You can find more info at

The return of the Road Show to British Columbia and its popularity is an indication of how the interest in trenchless technology is growing over here on the west coast. But this is not reflected in the number of trenchless projects coming out each year in the province.

A recent survey (commissioned by David O’Sullivan, an NASTT-BC board member) of 14 local governments (which cumulatively accounts for more than 45 per cent of BC’s population) indicated that the prevalence of trenchless activities is sufficiently below the threshold of “common practise”. Per the data presented by the survey respondents, the annual share of trenchless technology projects for water, sewage and storm water is notably below 25 per cent and is not business as usual.

One of the main findings of this study was that, while many benefits of trenchless technologies were identified by the survey respondents (less traffic disruption, less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, longer lasting road surfaces), low availability of trenchless contractors was highlighted as the main obstacle to increasing the use of these technologies.

So, if you’re reading this from across the country, beautiful British Columbia invites you to come for a visit (maybe during the Road Show) and see it for yourself. I’m sure our local trenchless contractors won’t mind the competition. Competition forces us to do better!

RELATED: Measuring the Benefits of Trenchless

As noted, one of the many benefits of trenchless technologies that was identified by the survey respondents was the reduction in GHG emissions. NASTT-BC has been promoting the link between trenchless technologies and lower carbon emissions for 10 years now. It has been well established that trenchless technologies are a much greener alternative to the conventional open cut installation. The savings in carbon emissions are realised by the typically shorter construction period and smaller footprint during construction. The British Columbia chapter is proud to have developed the first “carbon calculator” for quantifying the carbon savings through trenchless technologies. Similar calculators have since been developed by NASTT, Germany, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.

The intention of developing the carbon calculator was to have local municipalities use it to calculate their carbon savings and use them to offset other activities in their effort to become carbon-neutral (a requirement set by the British Columbia government in 2010). NASTT-BC, Metro Vancouver and Strategic Carbon Management, have worked in partnership on the development of a carbon credit protocol to allow local governments to claim a carbon credit for their trenchless programs.

The City of New Westminster was chosen as a test case to develop the system with the Government of British Columbia. Both Parties worked on the carbon protocol before submission and the carbon calculator was pre-approved. The City then used that preapproved calculator and had their calculations verified by a certified carbon professional before submitting on June 1, 2017. The trenchless credits together with the protocol and supporting documents were submitted under the BC Carbon Neutral Framework’s Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program and amounted to 358 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

RELATED: NASTT-BC Is an Integral Part of Canada’s Trenchless Growth

The government of the Province of British Columbia is now taking that documentation and using it to allow all the local governments of British Columbia to submit carbon credits to assist them is achieving carbon neutrality. By leading this path, British Columbia has set an example for other jurisdictions to follow. The protocol and tool can easily be adapted for use by any jurisdiction. This is something NASTT-BC has been concentrating on for the last 4 years and is something out members can be deservingly proud of.

Kieran Field is a project engineer with Opus International (Canada) Ltd., NASTT-BC chair and a member of the Trenchless Technology Canada Editorial Advisory Board.

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