Sewer Inspector Training Comes Of Age

More than eight years ago, representatives of municipalities and consulting engineers were asking that industry neutral training be made available, particularly applicable to the inspection of pipeline rehabilitation projects.

In response, NASSCO (National Association of Sewer Service Companies) developed the Inspector Training and Certification Program (ITCP).

Nearly five years ago, the first NASSCO Inspector Training and Certification Program Cured-In-Place-Pipe (ITCP CIPP) training session was held at NASSCO offices in Owings Mills, MD.

Since then, the program has been well-received by the industry with 75 training sessions being held in cities throughout the United States and Canada. Many municipalities now require that a NASSCO-trained inspector be on a CIPP project site during installation.

“To date, nearly 1,000 inspectors and engineers have completed ITCP CIPP training and are listed by state or county on the NASSCO web site,” said Gerhard (Gerry) Muenchmeyer, P.E., NASSCO technical director and master trainer. “In the first three months of this year, seven classes have been held and 56 inspectors trained.”

NASSCO’s stated purpose for the training program is to provide municipal engineers, consulting engineers and on-site inspectors a comprehensive understanding of CIPP renewal technology. The ITCP course covers specific areas of expertise necessary to ensure that a trenchless project is built correctly, conforms to the requirements of contract documents and meets customer expectations.

Early concerns
During the initial planning stages, some in the industry had reservations about the effectiveness of the program.

“CIPP training,” Muenchmeyer explained, “includes a significant amount of information about where the technology is applicable, what the installation parameters include, what methods are readily available and how the technology is generally installed in the field. The course provides an inspector with the tools to verify during construction that the product being installed meets specification quality requirements. It also provides a review of potential issues that might occur with the technology during installation that are cosmetic and those that might be of concern to the owner. They may require either no action or some repair or replacement of unacceptable product installation.”

Initially, some installation contractors were concerned that actions of inspectors who had received the training would direct contractors about how to install the product, cause work to be slowed or require unnecessary changes to completed construction.

“Subsequently,” said Muenchmeyer, “it became clear that good, qualified, trained inspectors on job sites actually help to prevent issues on the project.”

Each training course includes two days of technology and specification information that the inspector needs to know, Muenchmeyer said. Covered in each course are how existing pipe conditions affect CIPP installations, overview of CIPP technology, field installation of CIPP, writing and understanding performance specifications and pipeline renewal technologies and their applications,

The course includes a detailed, illustrated inspection manual that will serve as a reference guide during training and later in the field. The manual also contains sample charts and forms that can be used by the inspector for recording information on the project site. The forms are used to record specific quality assurance and testing requirements for the CIPP technology, the inspection procedures required and the information which needs to be documented for a complete inspection record.

Each student is required to pass an open book certification exam to demonstrate basic knowledge of the field requirements for a cured-in-place-pipe installation.

Upon completion of the training program and passing a test, the student receives a certificate and an inspector identification card, confirming that he or she has successfully completed the Inspector Training and Certification Program for cured-in-place pipe. Certification can be verified on the NASSCO web site.

“The benefits of ITCP CIPP are numerous,” Muenchmeyer continued. “The trained inspector will be in a position to prevent unacceptable installations, will ensure that the correct materials are installed to the size and length specified, will give the customer verification that the product installation was achieved under the watchful eye of a qualified person, and the contractor will generally experience better work quality, resulting in less repair work and higher profits.”

Ultimately, concluded Muenchmeyer, it is the program’s goal to have trained inspectors available in various regions of North America so that municipalities and consulting engineers can specify that a trained inspector be on their project sites during a CIPP installations.

The success of CIPP ITCP has brought development of two additional Inspection and certification training programs: Manhole Rehabilitation ITCP was launched the first of this year, and Pipe Bursting ITCP’s first classes are scheduled to begin later in 2013.

NASSCO is a national association composed of several hundred member organizations representing sewer and rehabilitation industry manufacturers and suppliers, municipalities and utility districts, engineers and contracting firms dedicated to establishing and implementing standards for rehabilitation of underground utilities. Muenchmeyer also is president of Muenchmeyer Associates, consulting engineers. NASSCO executive director is Ted DeBoda, P.E. The association’s offices are in Owings Mills, MD. Information about NASSCO programs is available on its web site ( or by calling (410) 486-3500.

What ITCP Students Say About the Program

Student reaction to NASSCO ITCP training is an important element in evaluating the effectiveness of the program. Several representative comments follow:

• “One of the best courses I have ever taken!” –Dean Dashiell, Senior Project Manager, Ocean City, MD
• “The course was very informative. I had inspected one small project prior and was amazed at the amount I learned at the course.” –Tanner Bakke, Bonestroo Engineers, St Cloud, MN
• “The course is very thorough; you won’t leave being less than 100 percent qualified for field inspection.” –Russell Mathews, W.T Harrison Enterprises, Washington Grove, MD
• “I just wanted to let you know that I truly enjoyed the Inspector Training and Certification Program for the Inspection of Cured-In-Place-Pipe Installation. The manual has great resources and some truly helpful visuals and you presented the information very clearly.” –Aaron Yonkers, Wallace Group, San Luis Obispo, CA
• “One of the things identified as ‘what went right’ was the inspector training that the Sacramento Area Sewer District coordinated for the inspection, owner and design teams to attend prior to the beginning of the Central Trunk Sewer Rehabilitation Project. It gave our team an understanding of the characteristics a quality liner would possess and how to test for them. It also gave our team confidence in being able to determine the quality of the installed product. The project was accepted by our board last May and has won seven awards so far.” –Amber Parmer, Sacramento Area Sewer District, Sacramento, CA.

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