Stop PACP Abuse

The industry should have no tolerance for contractors who represent their people as PACP certified when they are not

A few bad apples often spoil the barrel, and that’s exactly why I’m sending out this industry call to action to protect the NASSCO Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP), the North American standard for pipeline defect coding.

These bad apples are typically contractors who bid a PACP-trained person for a rehabilitation project, but then, when the project actually begins, replace the person originally presented with someone who lacks PACP certification.

This switcheroo ultimately gives the contractor more money for the job but puts the project at risk. It’s abuse of PACP certification. As an industry, we have a common goal to improve the quality of rehabilitation projects to ensure long-lasting pipelines, a vital component of the public sewer system.

NASSCO, the leader in setting standards, developed PACP nearly a decade ago as a result of the need for a consistent method to identify and code pipeline defects. PACP benefits everyone involved in trenchless technology.

For example, engineers can tap into a vast amount of data on pipe conditions, enabling analysis of the infrastructure to be based on reliable facts. Municipalities can easily identify problem areas that can be fixed by relatively inexpensive measures. And contractors and suppliers can reduce the uncertainty of bidding by providing consistent and reliable condition reports.

Today, about 10,000 people nationwide are PACP certified, and that number will greatly increase as PACP continues its strong track record. Municipalities have an obligation to ensure the success of their rehabilitation projects. I urge municipalities and others to always verify PACP certification before a rehabilitation project begins.

Verifying PACP certification is easy: Visit and click Training and Education, PACP. Next, click the link titled “Search for certified users and trainers.” Everyone who is PACP certified is listed in alphabetical order.

If you have any questions, contact NASSCO headquarters at 410/486-3500. Keep in mind that PACP compliant is not the same

as PACP certified, and that even CCTV operators with many years of experience are not certified PACP operators unless they attend the PACP classes and pass the required test.

Software vendors must be compliant with the latest 4.4 version. A list of certified vendors can also be found on the NASSCO Web site. The investment in PACP training can pay for itself within one rehabilitation project. That’s because the cost and risk of not being certified is significant. Classes are scheduled throughout the year, and PACP user certifications do not expire — individuals receive updates as the program evolves.

Obtaining PACP certification is not simply about taking a class and passing an exam. It is meant to be respected and presented solely for the person who earned it. As I discover unethical practices, I will swiftly terminate the abuser’s certification.

I do hear of such violations from time to time from unhappy employees, ex-employees, and some cities that have checked the facts. Our industry has come too far and worked too hard to let a few ruin what PACP represents. If you allow someone to use your PACP Certification number, you will lose your certification and will have given away your hard-earned credential.

I urge our entire industry to pull together to end this PACP abuse. We’ve come a long way, creating standards that provide the foundation for our industry’s success now and for future growth. There is nothing I won’t do to protect that. Please join me in upholding and respecting PACP.

Irvin Gemora is executive director of NASSCO. He can be reached at The NASSCO headquarters is at 11521 Cronridge Dr., Suite J, Owings Mills, MD 21117.


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