Being NASSCO certified means many things to many people. To most it means both consistency of coding and reliable information upon which to base their decisions.

There is certification for pipeline, manhole and lateral inspections (PACP, MACP and LACP, respectively), along with NASSCO certified training for inspectors of cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) and manhole rehabilitation installations (ITCP). NASSCO also certifies the individuals who train these programs as well as the software used to document what is observed during a PACP inspection.

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For Owners

To system owners, NASSCO certification means that the reports are in a consistent format with a reliable defect rating for all the pipes and manholes being inspected. This enables them to focus their attention and funds in the appropriate direction to best benefit their communities.

They can also sort their reports by defects; for example, all lines with collapsed or deformed pipe that may need to be replaced. The ability to chronicle deterioration over time by reviewing past reports and the rate of deterioration for each line is also a benefit because these reports enable the development of system rehabilitation in specific areas. It also allows for an operation and maintenance schedule to be established and maintained.

Additionally, reports determine what type of rehab best suits the conditions within the inspected pipelines and manholes. For example, should they develop a maintenance schedule for cutting roots every five years in some areas and every year in other areas? Is there a grease problem that needs to be addressed? And, of course, the need to locate any infiltration within the system allows them to locate and decrease the ground water that is entering the pipes and manholes. Less ground water means less incidents of overflows into creeks, rivers and other places, resulting in fewer fines and better environments for everyone.

For Engineers

Engineers also require NASSCO Certification for many of the same reasons. They can gather inspection data from different contractors using the same criteria for the coding and defect ratings of each section of pipeline. Knowing that everyone involved is speaking the same language ensures the correct defect rating for the system which allows for better planning and rehab recommendations.

The defect ratings have been developed by NASSCO and are available in Appendix C of the PACP Reference Manual for all certified professionals. Using this data, engineers can determine the likelihood of failure (LOF) and the consequence of failure (COF) for each inspected portion of our infrastructure, prioritizing the best use of both time and money.

For the certified professional performing the inspection there are also many benefits. The first is that they have a consistent and well-defined explanation of what is required for each code. A reference manual is available and should be referred to at any point to clarify what information they need for each observation or defect.  If they are working with another, more experienced coder, they will be given the same information from all certified employees.

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NASSCO PACP training

Certified Software

Not only does NASSCO certify individuals, it certifies the software that those individuals use during PACP inspections. This ensures that the same rules and standards are being met by each vendor, the same codes are available for use and the same defect ratings are produced by all the NASSCO certified software companies.

When individuals are using NASSCO certified software (visit nassco.org for a list), they will have more accurate data. An example may be that when coding a deformation in a pipeline they enter 45 percent. The software will alert them that they are outside of the parameters for deformed code which has a maximum of 40 percent. If the percent is truly 45 percent, then they are required to use the collapsed code instead. This is what ensures that the coding is consistent and reliable for
everyone involved.

LACP is often used by plumbers and contractors for the inspection of laterals prior to the sale of a home. This means there are no surprises to the new homeowner. It also gives municipalities the opportunity to ensure that these inspections are done correctly. Additionally, required repairs prior to the sale of the home can be evaluated for accuracy by the city. Making sure that all required inspections meet the NASSCO standards will protect not only the current homeowner, but also the new homeowner.

PACP and ITCP trainers must be certified to meet the high standards required for the training programs. Like the requirement that certified individuals must be recertified, trainers must also be recertified every three years to ensure that the information is being taught to everyone involved in a consistent and reliable manner. Certified and recertified trainers meet with other trainers to gather information on how to effectively present course information and learn from each other to identify better answers to questions that may be asked during classes. This certification process is very important to NASSCO and is required for all NASSCO certification programs.

To develop the NASSCO codes and defect ratings, NASSCO works with many companies in the industry. We have support from pipe manufacturers, software developers, engineering firms and many more to ensure that this information is correct. Changes and updates help to further ensure the best use of all information gathered and used to evaluate our infrastructure.

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NASSCO certification classes take place across North America

NASSCO certification classes take place across North America. Classes can be found at nassco.org/find-a-class.

Consistency of Information

Being NASSCO certified is not just for the person performing or reviewing the inspection; it is equally important for the NASSCO trainers, software vendors, and inspectors (for both CIPP and manhole rehab projects). Being NASSCO certified comes in many forms, but they all lead to one thing: Consistency of information that can be used by many people.

To NASSCO it means that everyone involved at every level has confidence in the information used in this process including the inspectors, the engineers, the trainers and, of course, the software being used.

Most importantly, however, it means that NASSCO has met its goal to establish and ensure proper assessment, maintenance and rehabilitation of our underground infrastructure. For more information, visit nassco.org.

Michael P. Kerr is NASSCO’s training director.

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