Trenchless Technology Center

Leading the Way through Comprehensive Validation of Emerging 3D Imaging Technology for the Inspection of Manholes and Sewer Pipelines

The Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) at Louisiana Tech University (LA Tech) is an industry/university/government cooperative research center. TTC has been a leader in advancing all areas of the science and practice related to underground infrastructure pipeline networks for more than 30 years, including PCA (Pipeline Condition Assessment) technology. TTC is supported in part by industry leaders who serve on the Industry Advisory Board (IAB). This IAB is dedicated to not only provide financial support, but to also provide direction for advancing the industry through research, innovation, validation, and education. In 1997 and 1998, TTC was selected by ASCE to evaluate the Sewer Scanner and Evaluation Technology (SSET) which was developed by TOA Grout and CORE Corp. based in Japan. The SSET was the first application of side scanning technology which permitted generating an unfolded (flat) image of the inside of a pipeline. Now, practically all manufacturers of CCTV equipment have developed similar capabilities. The SSET incorporated gyroscopic and inclinometer technology to track position utilizing XYZ coordinates.

After utilizing drone technology for internal PCA in April 2018, the TTC and the City of Ruston Department of Public Works (COR-DPW) Living Lab Program, in partnership with Easy-Sight Technologies (http://www.pipedetect.com/), a developer and manufacturer of PCA equipment and software based in Wuhan (China), offered a one-day mini-seminar series in February, focusing on the latest international trends in PCA and demonstrated the EASY-SIGHT New 3D Imaging Technology for the inspection of manholes and sewer pipelines.

Dr. Tom Iseley opened up the seminar with a state-of-development address of the TTC Underground Infrastructure Campus (UIC). He explained how unique and fortunate TTC is to have a president of our university, Dr. Les Guice, who is a civil engineer and who worked hard beginning in 1988 when he hired Dr. Iseley to establish the TTC. Dr. Guice is pleased to see how the industry leaders have rapidly pulled together to provide financial support for the next addition to the TTC UIC. This addition will be dedicated to enhancing field training with the Barbera Education, Research & Training (BERT) facility. Dr. Iseley stated at the First TTC Life-Time Achievement Award Banquet conducted in November of 2018, in conjunction with the 3rd Auger Boring School, that “the BUIRT facility allows the TT industry to honor the past while committing to meet future industry demands.” Certainly, workforce development and professional development are critical components of meeting future needs. The industry can have the best technical solutions in the world but without a trained and skilled workforce building projects designed by trained and knowledgeable professionals, we will not be able achieve meeting the challenges of tomorrow.

The mini-seminar and Ruston demo was the second component of a validation program being conducting by TTC. The first component was the lab work which was conducted prior to the seminar and field work. The TTC team utilized a 24.6-foot section of 24-inch RCP (Reinforced Concrete Pipe) with known defects to conduct the validation in the TTC’s National Trenchless Technology Research Facility (NTTRF). TTC Research Team reviewed EASY-SIGHT’s new 3D capable camera crawler for pipeline inspection and also EASYSIGHT’s new 3D capable vertical multi-lens manhole inspection system.

After the one-day seminar at TTC, the TTC Research Team relocated to Indiana to conduct the third component of the validation program which consisted of a workshop and demo with Citizens Energy Group (CEG) in Indianapolis. The fourth component of the validation program consisted of a workshop with Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) in Fishers.

TTC Utility Investigation School (UIS)

Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) and ASCE’s Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) teamed up to offer the fourth five-day intensive UIS (http://ttcutilityinvestigationschool.com/) on February 25 – March 1, 2019. This short course gave practitioners the knowledge and tools to provide competent utility investigations in accordance with accepted national standards (ASCE 38-02) and to defend against claims through this knowledge and its documentation. In addition to the classroom lectures, practical sessions were held where participants were provided hands-on experience with the GPR, PCL, APL, etc. The school was instructed by the foremost experts in the geophysics and subsurface utility engineering field. The course attracted a diverse range of attendees, including representatives from Atkins, Accumark, Accurate Infrastructure Data, Inc., Cardno, City of Monroe, Fenstermaker, Goodbee Associates, NTB Associates, Inc., Surveying And Mapping, LLC (SAM), SEH Inc., Sigma Consulting Group, SJB Group LLC, SurvWest, and Utility Mapping Services, Inc. Some of the attendees travelled from as far away as South Korea. The TTC team would like to express the sincere appreciation to Vivax-Metrotech Corp. for supporting the TTC UIS as the Banquet Sponsor.

TTC Continues to Lead the Way

Over the past 30 years, the TTC has maintained strong international leadership in developing, maintaining and managing our buried assets. This leadership involves many aspects. In summer of 2016, TTC established a student exchange research internship program with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

So far Australia, United States, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and UK have been involved in the Hong Kong PolyU exchange internship program. The PolyU model provides an excellent example of the benefits of giving students an opportunity to engage in international research programs.

The PolyU students have assisted TTC in the Utility Investigation School (UIS). TTC wishes to express the appreciation to Mr. Vic Weston for making the Student Research Exchange Internship Program possible through financial support from the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors.

During this program, the PolyU students attended the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pipeline Conference, the ASCE Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) Risk Management Division Executive Committee meeting, the Mid-Atlantic Society for Trenchless Technology (MASTT) Seminar in Pittsburgh, and visited the Logan Clan Pipe Products in Logan, Ohio, and Barbco in the East Canton, Ohio.

Dr. Iseley serves on the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of HK PolyU Department of Land Surveying and Geo-informatics. The IAC members are serving on the development of specifications and certification standards for underground utility (UU) survey based on Non-destructive Testing, Surveying, Imaging and Diagnostic (NDTSID) approaches. The specifications of six UU survey methods include the Ground Penetrating Radar, Pipe Cable Locator, CCTV Inspection, Infrared Thermography, Leak noise correlation, and Flow survey. These specifications will tie to ISO 17025 and also the universal lab accreditation scheme. In January, Dr. Iseley was invited by Dr. Wallace Lai (Assoc. Professor of Department of Land Surveying and Geo-informatics in HK PolyU) to participate in a Seminar on the “Underground Utility Survey Based on Nondestructive Testing, Surveying, Imaging and Diagnostic (NDTSID) Approaches” as a keynote speaker. More than 170 attendees from around the world participated in this seminar. The topic of Dr. Iseley’s lecture was “Underground Utility (UU) Surveying is a Critical Component of Buried Asset Management”.

Dr. Iseley, along with the other HK PolyU International Advisory Committee members, also visited the Underground Utility Survey (UUS) laboratory. The UUS Lab is the first of its kind in the world and has been replicated by the College of Surveying and Geo-informatics at Tongji University.


For more information please contact Dr. Tom Iseley at dtiseley@latech.edu or (404) 386-5667.

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