Public Works staff to travel south for technology conference

Prince Albert’s Utility Manager, Water and Sewer Manager and Operations Manager will be travelling to Portland, Oregon to attend the North American Society for Trenchless Technology’s ‘No Dig Show’ with the goal of improving Administration’s understanding and identify potential use of the technology across City functional areas.

“We’ve invested a lot into our infrastructure and these conferences and theses shows will definitely allow better practices and best practices going forward,” said City Coun. Tony Head during Monday’s City Council meeting. “Definitely we’ll see a benefit coming back to us.”

“I want to wish them luck and I hope they bring back some great information,” added Mayor Greg Dionne.

According to a Jan. 15 report, scholarship applications were completed for the three City managers in the fall of 2022 to attend the NASTT’s ‘No Dig Show’. All three were successful, with the scholarships covering the costs of the event registrations and hotel stay; representing $2,800 in cost savings per participant.

While developing the 2023 Travel and Accommodation budgets for both the Engineering Services and Water and Sewer division, the potential of attending the ‘No Dig Show’ was considered. The estimated cost per participant is $885 which includes travel and meals, for a total budgeted cost of $2,655.

The conference is the “most comprehensive conference showcasing trenchless technologies, their uses and highlighting real world applications across North America,” said the report. “The show also attracts municipalities and contractors from the prairie provinces and across North America, providing the opportunity to get direct feedback on how other municipalities and contractors are using these technologies to successfully repair their infrastructure.”

Currently, the City depends on over 500 km of ageing underground infrastructure to provide water, sewer and storm services to residents and businesses while investing a significant amount in replacing old water and sewer mains. Administration has been keeping tabs on new and upcoming trenchless technologies as they anticipate a real potential in their use, not only for cost-savings but also for challenging repairs via traditional methods.

The Utility Manager, Water and Sewer Manager and Operations Manager will attend the ‘No Dig Show’ from April 30 to May 4. Upon their return from Portland, the managers will share the information they learned at the conference at an upcoming Public Works Managers meeting to educate the rest of the department.