CATT Research


At the University of Waterloo, the performance of innovative research is built into our DNA since the University of Waterloo was founded back in 1967.  The University of Waterloo motto is “Ideas start at the University of Waterloo” and developing and fostering the next generation of industry experts and leaders is at the core of what we do at CATT and the University of Waterloo. 

Research is an integral and intensive area at Waterloo. In 2018-2019, Waterloo attracted more than $258 million from public and private sources to fund research across a spectrum of challenges. Waterloo’s strength in research excellence is supported by partnerships with industry, creating opportunities that generate new knowledge and further Canada’s economy.

CATT conducts a multi-disciplinary collaborative research with the industry, municipalities and water utilities. This research has helped to bring innovative asset management tools and new underground infrastructure construction and renewal technologies and product to the North American market that have saved municipalities and water utilities millions of dollars.

Over the past six years, CATT has undertaken over $3.0 million worth of research that has been funded by NSERC, Water Research Foundation (USA), Ontario Centre of Excellence, Alberta Innovates, and matching cash and in-kind contribution from Industry partners such as: Aegion/Insituform Corporation St Louis MO; Envirologics; City of Waterloo; Region of Waterloo; City of London; and City of Niagara Falls. 

Development of Industry Leaders

In addition, CATT and the University of Waterloo has strong roots in the development of industry leaders and training the next generation of industry leaders. 

In the last 10 years over 24 graduate students have completed their MASc or PhD degrees under the supervision of CATT researchers and faculty members. Additionally, CATT provided learning opportunities to over 30 undergrad research assistants and Co-op students on CATT research projects.

A few industry leaders include:

Dr. Samuel Ariaratnam – Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering whom graduate with a BASci, Civil Engineering, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 1989.

Dr. Sunil SinhaProfessor & Director, Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) Center at Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech and member of the University of Waterloo Vision and Image Processing Lab. Dr. Sinha 2000 PhD thesis was Automated Underground Pipe Inspection Using a Unified Image Processing and Artificial Intelligence Methodology”, In 1997 Dr. Sinhal completed his Master’s degree at the University of Waterloo with a thesis topic “An Artificial Neural Network Approach to Predict Organizational Effectiveness”.

Dr. Alireza Bayat Professor Department Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta and NSERC Associate Industrial Research Chair in Underground Trenchless Construction.  In 2009, Dr. Bayat graduated with his PhD from the University of Waterloo. His PhD thesis title was “Field and Numerical Investigation to Determine the Impact of Environmental and Wheel Loads on Flexible Pavement”.

Other Industry’s leading experts, include Marc Gelinas, principal project engineer at Hatch; Dr. Glenn Duyvestyn, Vice President at Mott MacDonald; Dr. Adedamola Adedapo, Managing Partner at KGS; Shayne Giles, CEO Dillon Consulting, Dr. Amin Ganjidoost Pure Technologies, and many others trace back their roots to CATT.


Fundamental Industry Leading Research  

Since 1994 CATT has been and continues to be an industry leader in underground infrastructure research.  Below you will find a description of some of our on-going and past research theme areas. 

If you are an industry leader and have a potential research project that you would like to discuss please contact CATT at catt@uwaterloo.ca

Industry Best Practices Investigations: Master students with CATT’s support have developed industry best practice surveys in the area of water infrastructure asset management and Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) practices. Funding for this research has been provided by organizations such as the Southern Ontario Water Consortium (SOWC) and a consortium of industry supporters.  Surveys provide quantitative industry data to help Provincial and Federal policy makers understand the water industry so that new policies and programs can be developed to establish better industry practices.  Over the last two years approximately $50,000 has been provided to CATT to support this research. Asset Management Ontario and the Federation of Municipalities (FCM) has expressed interest in supporting future surveys to track how industry is changing over time. s to survey reports…

Trenchless Rehabilitation of Pressure Pipelines using Structural Lining Systems: In May 2017, CATT was awarded a two-year research grant valued at over $1 million funded by Aegion/Insituform Technologies, National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE) and Alberta Innovates (AI). This grant brings together the University of Waterloo and University of Alberta for the first joint inter university research project. At uWaterloo, the research team have constructed and commissioned a unique hydrostatic pressure test facility that can test pressure pipe lining systems under static and dynamic pressures. This test facility will be used to advance pressure liner design methods and to improve/verify product performance.

Potable Water Pipeline Defect Condition Rating: In 2013, CATT’s researchers were awarded the first University of Waterloo Water Research Foundation grant to develop a potable water pipeline defect condition rating system. As part of this project, CATT developed the Water Pipeline Condition Classification (WPCC) system – the first known such system in the world. Over 13 North American municipalities and water utilities, three major technology providers, and a number of academics and industry experts participated in the project. Similar to the Water Research Centre (WRc) in the UK and NASSCO Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) Sewer Condition Classification systems, the WPCC provides standard language and codes to describe water pipeline structural and operational condition, failure modes and construction features. The proposed WPCC system has the potential to become a standard protocol for water pipeline condition assessment around the world.

Innovative Asset Management Tools and Advanced Decision Analytics: Since 2004, CATT has been working on the development of innovative tools and data analytics for buried infrastructure asset management. CATT’s asset management research and tools have been developed in partnership with the cities of Niagara Falls, Waterloo, London, Cambridge, and Region of Waterloo. This research is interdisciplinary as it crosses the boundary of Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Systems Engineering, and Finance. The researchers have developed the first system dynamic water simulation model, are applying artificial intelligence, machine learning, and agent based modeling techniques to help solve water infrastructure issues.

The Canadian Network of Asset Managers (CNAM) awarded the 2018 Asset Management Pioneer Award to Dr. Mark Knight in recognition for CATT’s water asset management research. Hamed Mohammadifardi PhD candidate was also awarded the best paper award for his Asset Management research at the 2018 System Dynamics Conference in Iceland and 2018 CNAM conference in Windsor Ontario. KPMG, in Australia, has expressed interest to bring the uWaterloo developed asset management tools to Australia’s water industry.

Trenchless Rehabilitation of Pressure Pipelines using Non-Structural Lining Systems: CATT has helped in the development and commercialization of Tomahawk Water Pipeline Cleaning and Lining System with financial assistance from NSERC, OCE and Envirologics Engineering Inc. Tomahawk is the only system on the market that can clean and prepare the old, rusted water pipe to bare-metal finish to ensure better adhesion of liner to the host pipe. Furthermore, Tomahawk airborne lining (non-structural, AWWA Class I) provides a fast and low cost solution to improve water quality, increase flow and pressure characteristics, and reduce energy cost to pump water through the distribution system. This UWaterloo advanced and verified technology is now being used around the globe to clean and renew watermains.  This research was critical for the advancement of the technology and adoption in the industry.

CIPP Lining Health Risk Assessment

In 2019 CATT partner with AEGION Corp.(Insituform) to complete a study to determine the health risk resulting from styrene lateral migration during the installation and steam curing of a CIPP liner. This project included development and implementation of a field study project that replicates typical installation conditions, review of sampling methods, data collection and analysis.  This research project has resulted in the preparation of a detailed report that shows that styrene will not migrate into a house or building with properly functioning water filled P-traps.  It also showed that the Waterloo Membrane Samplers is a new innovative and cost effective method that can be used to evaluate health risk exposure during CIPP lining Projects.

Research is also on-going to evaluate the environmental risks during CIPP lining of culverts.