Washington Watch: Methane Emission Standards Hit Pipelines; but More Gently than Proposed

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued final methane performance standards for natural gas controllers and compressors, which will require midstream and interstate pipelines to take a new look at their emission controls.

Challenges of repairing rural water lines in urbanizing areas

To make repairs, the BCWA team has primarily relied on trackhoes (backhoe loaders) and mini excavators. However, in some environments, using these common equipment fleet staples of most rural water associations can potentially cause additional damage that will need to be addressed.

Funding still flowing despite economic headwinds, challenges

The last two years in America’s municipal infrastructure industry have seen tremendous increases in project activities driven primarily by significant boosts in government funding. If you happened to be a consulting engineer, contractor or manufacturer/supplier, business has been good. Now, 2024 has the potential to be a great year for many in infrastructure.

Editor’s Log: Industry honors and celebrations

It’s officially awards season for the underground infrastructure industry with some amazing people, projects and technology being cited for market contributions.

Aries Industries advances mainline inspection technology with new Mobile Voyager HD system

Aries Industries has added flexibility and efficiency to its Voyager Mainline inspection system with the introduction of a completely mobile version of the advanced product.

CIPP natural variation shouldn’t give you a headache

When developing a QA/QC program for a CIPP project, a good place to start is NASSCO’s Performance Specification Guideline (PSG) Cured-In-Place Pipe (CIPP) Installation. The PSG is developed with expertise from a wide range of industry experts and in addition to detailing specific terminology guidance also provides additional context notes within text boxes, when necessary, allowing the user to better understand the background behind the guidance.

Navigating, understanding hidden dangers of permit-required confined space entry

There are many occupations that require the safe performance of work when confined space is involved, including sewer structure rehabilitation, manhole entry and infrastructure inspection processes. Any incidents during confined space entry are of particular concern to health and safety, due to the hazards they pose to the potential victim and the attendant and rescue team. Understanding these hidden dangers are vital to a safe work site.

Overcoming challenging HDD locating requirements

Electric Conduit Construction (ECC) recently completed a project in Alsip, Ill., which included running fiber optic cable 1.74 miles under roads, highways, canal and railroad track. Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology was used because the right-of-way was laced with existing utilities of all types, including fiber, power, gas, water, sewer and cables.

2024 utility & communications construction outlook, update

Price increases to address products, fuel and labor have impacted total budgets for projects and, thus, the amount of infrastructure that can be installed. Despite the challenge, there is an equilibrium at the end of the track.

In Search of Human Contact

What has happened to the human condition? As AI assumes a larger role in our society, Editor-in-Chief Robert Carpenter sees human interaction continuing to become detached and remote. On the bright side, in the underground infrastructure industry, people still have to ultimately – and then actively – work together.

CIGMAT focuses on challenging research, technology transfer, information sharing

Established in 1984, at the University of Houston, the Center for Innovative Grouting Materials and Technology (CIGMAT) is dedicated to fostering improved understanding of grouting materials and their applications.

Outgoing DCA President Ray Swerdfeger stresses significance of local inclusion

Swerdfeger, the outgoing president of the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA), had the chance to grow up in the family business, working closely with his father. As a second-generation president following in his father's footsteps, Swerdfeger sat down with Underground Infrastructure for an exclusive interview. The discussion covered the accomplishments and directions of the DCA in 2023.

Crossing the Bay

West of Houston, the region’s petrochemical infrastructure creates a tangled maze of pipelines, roads, swamps and endangered ecosystems. Performing HDD operations here would challenge any contractor. Add a crossing under the Intercoastal Waterway to the mix – arguably the busiest commercial shipping channel in the United States – and you have a job that is not for the faint of heart.


California OKs new rules for turning wastewater into drinking water; CGA’s DIRT report correlates infrastructure investment with increased excavation damage; EIA forecasts 20 Bcf/d boost for U.S. LNG export terminals with new pipelines and more in UI's January Newsline!

Zoo requires unique, specialized approach to infrastructure construction of new exhibit

Discover how Longhorn Organics utilizes high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes in a groundbreaking project at Caldwell Zoo's Amazon River's Edge exhibit. With a focus on water features for giant otters and jaguars, this article explores the fusion of 7,000 feet of HDPE pipe, ensuring reliability and durability.

Business People

Senior Associate Christine Kirby, P.E., ENV SP, with Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam Inc. (LAN), was chosen to lead two committees for the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

Business News

This year marked a milestone for Texas-based Avanti International, as the injection grout manufacturer celebrated its 45th anniversary as an industry leader.


The second tunnel-boring machine has broken through at the future Oak-VGH Station, signaling a new milestone for the Broadway Subway Project.

Tim Vivian, NASSCO Standard Bearer

This series of articles recognizes those who have not only been critical to the success of NASSCO, but the industry as well. This month, we profile Tim Vivian, a remarkable leader for NASSCO who has been instrumental in aiding the amazing growth of the association through various challenges, all while recognizing and maximizing opportunities.

Directional drilling: Underground firms donate time, skills, labor to Gary Sinise Foundation project

When word spread to William Hatcher’s coworkers at Mid America Energy Services Inc., that he was going to volunteer on a home build for the Gary Sinise Foundation, everybody wanted to jump on board.

Inside infrastructure: Addressing increasing hostility toward plastic products

It often seems like the ongoing assault on all things plastic has no end in sight. In the construction industry, shortsighted efforts to reduce production of, and access to, plastic products can have lasting impacts at a time when dilapidated infrastructure is finally getting the attention – and funding – it needs in the wake of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other recent legislation.

Pipelines unhappy with Clean Water Act final rule

The new Clean Water Act (CWA) final rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) potentially complicates efforts by pipeline builders (and other infrastructure sectors) to get construction approval from states and tribes.

New Products

Global water technology company Xylem released a new dewatering pump developed to significantly increase efficiency, cut costs, and minimize downtime for construction and mining customers.

First look: First electric vacuum excavator introduced

(UI) — After the first lithium-ion battery hand tool for the building trades was introduced in 2005, a representative of a major distributor called it the most significant advance in tools in the last 20 years.

Editor’s Log: And then reality sunk in

In the underground infrastructure realm, plastic piping, conduit and related products are essential to solving market needs. Plastic piping systems are sustainable and environmentally responsible because they are energy-efficient during manufacturing and provide protection from contamination during service.

New products

The Vermeer VXT600 vacuum excavator has undergone a complete redesign. Its load capacity has been increased for road use, and the component and technology reliability and serviceability have been optimized.

Moving up the sewer line just got easier

Advanced Lightweight Aluminum Skids, Nozzles Provide Superior Cleaning

Damage prevention and safety: SUE, vac excavation increase safety and save time

When it comes to underground utilities, safety is paramount. As municipalities grow and various areas undergo advancement and development, the number of buried utilities grows.

Midstream consolidates, expands ahead of LNG export demand

U.S. midstream companies would be hard-pressed this year to approach the record earnings that many achieved in 2022, but the sharp decline in oil and natural gas prices from last year’s highs hasn’t blunted their expansion efforts.

Cool changes: Underground Infrastructure converts to total digital platform

Effective with our December 2023 issue, the Underground Infrastructure print magazine will take the final step in its digital evolution and convert to a unique all-digital format.