History of the National Sewerage Association

The National Sewerage Association was formed in 1996 to represent the interests of companies associated with the survey, operation, maintenance and renovation of sewers, drains and pipelines. The founding members of the Association were companies in the former Association of CCTV Surveyors (established 1980) and Association of Flow Survey Contractors (established 1983).

As a forum for its members, the Association ensures that technological developments go hand in hand with improved operational efficiency, thereby meeting the ever-increasing standards of service demanded by today’s customers. At the same time, the Association actively pursues the identification of customers’ needs, service standards and performance criteria they require, as well as looking at existing and new market opportunities.

Members have been involved in the preparation of National Contract Documents as well as standard operating and reporting systems. Technology has been developed to produce consistent, comparable results to meet service requirements. We were involved in the development of European Standards for Pipe Defect Classification, the result being the publication of BS 13508:2 in 2003 with implementation of the National Equivalent in 2008 and its successor.

Operative standards have been set and, in conjunction with Develop Solutions (previously WTi), team leaders and operatives are trained and accredited to meet the standards required by the Water Services Plcs. A steering group was initiated to formulate standards for the DTi TrustMark initiative and is now working on a Competent Drainage Operator Registration Scheme with Energy and Utility Skills.

To date over 850 people have passed the OS post course examinations in sewer condition classification and there is, therefore, no excuse for accepting sub-standard results from non-qualified people. Certificates, including a photograph of the candidate, are issued to successful candidates.  Certificates issued from 2016 will be renewable every five years.

Training standards have also been developed for sewer jetting and cleaning in an endeavour to meet new codes of practice and a basics skills course for personnel operating in the domestic market has been initiated, leading to City and Guilds Certification.

The high standards of safe working practice and equipment to meet the stringent requirements of working in sewerage and other areas with similar potentially dangerous locations and atmosphere are a hallmark of the Association’s members. Those same members are often at the forefront in developing technological and operational improvements.

In addition to setting standards, the Association is responsible for the accreditation of its Members and, more particularly, in policing and monitoring their performance for customers. Of critical importance are quality systems developed by members to ensure that reported data is to the highest possible standards. Reassessment criteria are being developed both for operatives and contractor members and these will be introduced so as to ensure that the high levels presently in place are upheld and improved.

The Association has close liaison with the Water Industry and other Utility companies, Government both Local and National and Public Sector Organisations. At the same time, the Association serves private industry as well as commercial and domestic customers. Regular liaison is maintained with the Health and Safety Executive, WRc and with other organisations.

Finally, the Association is a focus for enquiry from existing and potential customers who are seeking help on the objectives of the Association, the performance and standard set and required of its members, complaints on non-performance or other general and technical enquiries.