NASSCO PACP Certification and Inspection 101
Rachel Doornekamp | August 9, 2021
Sewer system condition assessments are imperative for safe and effective operations. Communities all over the world depend on sewer systems for the hygienic removal of waste, runoff and pollutants.
Thorough understanding of sewer systems and related infrastructure are important for accurate and effective pipe inspections. The Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) is the North American standard for closed-circuit television (CCTV) wastewater pipe inspection. Established to provide a standardized way of documenting features and defects identified during inspection, PACP gives wastewater professionals a consistent and accurate way to classify, evaluate and manage inspection data.
What is the NASSCO PACP Certification?Developed in 2001 by NASSCO with assistance from the Water Research Centre in the U.K., PACP provides North American professionals with a standard method in which pipeline conditions and defects are identified, evaluated and managed. The goal of PACP is for users to generate a comprehensive database to properly identify, plan, prioritize, manage and renovate their pipelines based on condition evaluation.
To become PACP certified, wastewater professionals need to participate in a two-day course, then complete and pass the PACP exam.
Becoming PACP certified is a prerequisite for NASSCO’s Manhole Assessment Certification Program (MACP) and the Lateral Assessment Certification Program (LACP). These certifications can also be completed concurrently with PACP in a three-day course.
Why is the PACP Certification Important?NASSCO’s PACP certification provides municipalities and professionals with a straightforward, standardized way to document sewer conditions and defects. Prior to the development of PACP, the documentation of a pipe’s condition relied heavily on the subjective data provided by the operator. As inspections allow teams to determine the structural integrity of a pipe and decide what resources to allocate to that pipe, subjective data makes accurate decisions difficult. With PACP all operators rely on the same standardized defect coding system, making it easier to objectively compare inspections performed by different professionals at different times. This system-wide risk assessment allows teams to determine likelihood of failure, consequence of failure and make the best of their budgets.
In addition to creating a consistent, standardized system for inspectors to use, PACP collects data in a format that is conducive to computer processing. This allows a pipe’s condition to be tracked over time and easily compared to other assets.
The standardized method of recording, as well as easy computer integration, seriously enhances the insight municipalities can gain about their own wastewater infrastructure. With this valuable information, municipalities can create strategies that most effectively minimize risk, time and resources, while maximizing return on investment.
With better, more consistent data, sewer maintenance is smarter, safer and more efficient.
Why Should Wastewater Professionals Get NASSCO PACP Certified?It is extremely beneficial to get PACP certified as a wastewater professional. Primarily, professionals can ensure that all of the data they collected is collected and coded in a consistent and reliable manner. Relying on PACP training also allows operators to make informed and accurate decisions.
PACP certified users providing PACP certified reports can often increase their own revenue in two key ways;
- Certified users can be hired for city and municipality jobs
- Certified users can often charge more for PACP certified reports.
What Does a PACP Inspection Document Include?
PACP organizes defects into four important categories:
StructuralStructural defects are defined as “a deviation from the intended structural purpose” and encompasses any location where a pipe is damaged or otherwise defective. Structural defects range from hairline cracks to serious collapses but defects of all types should be dealt with immediately to ensure safety and overall structural integrity.
Operation and MaintenanceOperation and maintenance defects refer to the accumulation of debris, rocks, roots or other foreign objects that may interfere with effective pipe operation. Typically operation and maintenance defects can be solved by cleaning and records of such defects can be used to optimize cleaning schedules.
ConstructionConstruction defects refer to any features and conditions associated with the methods used to construct and connect pipes. This could include instances of poor workmanship or insufficient materials used in the construction of a pipe. Catching construction defects is incredibly important for overall pipe safety and efficiency.
MiscellaneousMiscellaneous defects refer to general features or issues that are not described or included in any of the previous categories. Getting a complete picture of the pipes by including miscellaneous defects is crucial for an effective inspection.
These specific categories provide the basis for the PACP defect coding system. After assigning a defect code and entering qualifying parameters, the operator assigns a condition grade to each defect. PACP operators assign a condition grade from 1 to 5, with 1 being a minor defect grade and 5 being the most significant defect grade. Following that each defect is given an identifying code and safely documented.
These consistent categories and codes are what make PACP so important.
How to Get PACP Certified?Prior to taking the PACP exam, wastewater professionals will need to participate in a two-day course whether in person or online - both versions are trainer led. Users can find a class or instructor on the NASSCO website.
Once PACP-certified, individuals will have their name and certification numbers entered into NASSCO's database.
PACP certified users are also eligible to complete NASSCO’s Manhole Assessment Certification Program (MACP) and the Lateral Assessment Certification Program (LACP). These courses can also be completed concurrently over the course of three days.
PACP, LACP and MACP certified professionals are required to be recertified every three years. When completed within the three year timeframe, recertification is a one day process that can be completed in person or online in a self-led environment.
What Does the NASSCO PACP Course Cover?Per NASSCO the goal of the PACP Certification Course is as follows; “The goal of the NASSCO PACP course is to provide the student a thorough indoctrination of the PACP coding procedures, provide an opportunity for students to ask questions and clarify various aspects of the program, review coding procedures, and insure the contents of the PACP have been adequately conveyed to the student though the successful completion of the certification examination.”
Based off of the NASSCO PACP Reference Manual, the PACP certification training course takes the form of three primary activities;
- Module presentation
- Course review
The two day course covers several modules;
- Introduction and Need for Condition Categorization
- PACP Header Section
- PACP Details Section
- Structural Defect Coding
- O&M Defect Coding
- Construction Features Coding
- Miscellaneous Features Coding
- Appendices Review
Professionals taking the three day course to obtain their MACP and LACP certification cover additional areas. The additional day covers the following;
- Introduction to Manhole Condition Assessment
- Manhole Inspection Header Section and Component Observation
- Manhole Component Defect Section
- Introduction and Overview of Lateral Sewer Assessment
- Lateral Inspection Form Header Section
- LACP Inspection Form Details Section
Per NASSCO the goal of the MACP and LACP certifications are as follows; “The goal of the MACP is to provide the student a thorough understanding of the procedures required to perform an appropriate inspection of manholes and other Access Points.”
“The goal of the LACP is to provide the student, who is familiar with PACP as a certified User, with a complete understanding of how the PACP codes have been adapted to provide critical data on the conditions found in laterals. The course presents many opportunities for the student to ask questions about the new codes specifically required for proper use of the LACP.”
The exam is multiple choice and open book with students required to get at least 85% of the questions correct in order to become certified.
What Programs Provide PACP Certified Reports?As data integrity is crucial to quality asset management, it is imperative that the tools used to collect the data are tested to ensure proper validation when codes are entered and provide a convenient import and export using the NASSCO file.
There are several NASSCO certified software that are used to document PACP inspections. NASSCO approved software are rigorously tested prior to certification. NASSCO certified software ensures not only that there is proper validation when codes are entered but that smooth import and export is possible while transferring any files.
Further information about PACP certification, as well as MACP and LACP certifications, can be found on the NASSCO website. Our team of experts is also ready to answer any questions you may have about PACP Certification and CCTV pipe inspection.