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A cornerstone of both our nation’s economic well-being and our public health is more than 54,000 community water systems in the U.S. They consist of a substantial amount of infrastructure, including collection devices, drinking water treatment plants, wells, pumps, storage facilities and other equipment to deliver water. One of the challenges facing community water systems today is the vast number of retiring baby boomers. With the retirement of this generation, the need for properly trained and skilled laborers prepared to take over their jobs in laying new pipe lines as well as maintaining the current infrastructure is an area of concern.
While municipalities, districts and contractors alike seek economic solutions to aid in training new field laborers and refresh current field laborers, foreman and engineers, Water Works Industry Solutions (WWIS), a Las Vegas-based company, has developed an ambitious DVD training series featuring 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch to help train waterworks personnel. Before Busch’s racing career, he worked for the Las Vegas Valley Water District maintaining their underground water system along with adding new pipelines to the ever-growing Las Vegas Valley. The new DVD series, “Training and Installation” The Basics was released at a news conference featuring Busch at the NASCAR Café in Las Vegas.
The DVD series features 36 step-by-step DVD lessons conducted by professional waterworks personnel. Lessons will be available for purchase as a complete 36 DVD set or individually by lesson. It is currently available in English and will be available in Spanish later this year.
Nick Reviglio, WWIS president and co-founder and former waterworks employee for the Reno-based Western Nevada Supply Company, said, “We saw a great need to harness today’s technology to create a comprehensive training series that simply has never been done in the waterworks industry. This is truly a new standard in training for the industry, and we are thrilled to be taking the lead on it.”
Reviglio’s father, Tom, was a more than 30-year veteran of the waterworks industry and co-founded Western Nevada Supply Company, a waterworks distributor with six locations throughout Northern Nevada and California. Growing up in the business and later working for six years as an estimator for his father’s company, Nick saw first hand the needs of the industry. In 1997, Nick started his own design company, which grew into his current multimedia company, 3V Media, with locations in Las Vegas and Reno. Initiated by Tom in the fall of 2003, Nick and his wife,Holly Hartzell-Reviglio, a former Las Vegas teacher and freelance artist, combined their skills along with other waterworks industry professionals and over the course of two years developed what is now the 36 DVD training series for the waterworks industry.
“While researching this project, we uncovered a lack of adequate training products available to the waterworks industry which covered the basic fundamentals and the most common installations used daily in the field. As for the common laborer, there isn’t any kind of system in place for employers to assess their skill level and current knowledge to place new hires. It’s hard enough when you are a contractor or municipality and you’re trying to teach new laborers the basic difference between fittings and restrainers, let alone the importance of following each manufacturer’s installation instructions when performing an install -- all of which are needed to properly lay the most basic underground water systems. We wanted to find a way of helping both the employer and the laborer along with the industry by creating a program to consistently train and track employee’s skills. Whether you are union or non, we saw problems with both, which could easily be fixed with a consistent training tool and means of tracking and testing laborers as they move from job to job,” said Reviglio.
The 36 DVD lessons were created to help supplement and aid in the understanding and safety of the most common waterworks parts, how they are used in the field and their general installations. Each lesson was created in part by following AWWA, Uni-Bell and DIPRA’s industry standards in conjuction with the following manufacturers for installation accuracy: EBAA Iron, Inc. (Eastland, Texas); The Ford Meter Box Company, Inc. (Wabash, Ind.); J-M Manufacturing Company (Livingston, N.J.); Mueller Company (Decatur, Ill.); Romac Industries, Inc. (Bothell, Wash.); Sigma Co. (Ontario, Calif.); Smith-Blair, Inc. (Texarkana, Ark.); Star Pipe Products (Houston, Texas); and, U.S. Pipe and Foundry Co. (Brentwood, Calif.).
Each DVD lesson contains basic safety, reading and understanding the O.D. Chart, introductions that apply to the installation and a 3D animated review. Lessons include: PVC C-900 pipe installations; ductile iron pipe installations; coupling installations; service saddle and tapping sleeve installations; restrainer installations; service line pipe, stops and fittings installations; SDR-35 gravity sewer pipe installations; and an electrical conduit installation.
Reviglio said The Basics will soon offer a web-based assessment program so that the skills and effectiveness of the workforce can be evaluated. The DVDs also are reusable to provide consistent training for years to come.
“The Basics provides the proper training in a way for everyone to understand, whether the individual is an engineer, new laborer or current laborer. The DVDs allow municipalities, water districts, contractors and others to save in training and on-site injuries. This new form of training also will increase the longevity of underground water and sewer systems because the infrastructure will be laid properly the first time,” Reviglio said.