NACE Materials Performance Article
2006 - 2007
April 21, 2016
May 31, 2007
California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, Department of Consumer Affairs, State of California, has provided testing and certification for Corrosion Engineers for decades. It is one of many specialized disciplines, but very few engineers had applied for the examination over the years. In January 1999, the Board decided to stop administering examinations for registration as a Corrosion Engineer. As an alternative, corrosion engineers or corrosion technicians can apply for the examinations or certifications through a third party. NACE International, formerly National Association of Corrosion Engineers, is one of the organizations, which administers these tests. An engineer who possesses the Professional Engineer license issued by California Board for Professional Engineers is only recognized in the State of California. However, the engineers or technicians who have passed the NACE certifications are recognized worldwide.
NACE offers many certifications in the corrosion field. Some of the certifications are Corrosion Technician, Corrosion Technologist, Senior Corrosion Technologist, Cathodic Protection Specialist, Protective Coatings Specialist, Chemical Treatment Specialist, and Corrosion Specialist. One of the most popular certifications is Cathodic Protection Specialist. In order to become a Corrosion Specialist, a person must pass a series of tests. Each test requires the applicant to demonstrate the adequacy of cathodic protection theory and hands-on experience at different levels. A person will learn the certification as CP Tester, CP Technician, CP Technologist, and CP Specialist, respectively, if he/she fulfils the requirements as set forth in CP Level 1, CP Level 2, CP Level 3 and CP Level 4 courses.
There are very few test-sites in the United States, which meet the criteria of NACE International for conducting the cathodic protection classes. One of them is at the NACE International Headquarter in Houston, Texas. Most people must travel to Houston to take the course and to pass the exam. Few other locations in the United States had also been approved by NACE International to conduct the CP courses, since many modifications to the test sites are required to conduct the CP courses. Some test-sites may only be used for CP Level 1. Others may be used for both CP Level 1 and CP Level 2 and beyond.
San Francisco is a unique city in many ways, some ways are not very obvious, located next to the Pacific Ocean, and the soil in this area is considered very corrosive. The San Francisco Bay Area is very congested and densely populated with many municipalities as well as the world famous Silicon Valley. Utility owners employ many corrosion maintenance personnel and utilize many corrosion-consulting firms to mitigate corrosion problems. However, corrosion mitigation is very complex. Personnel who work in this field need training and must have a firm understanding of corrosion science and the art of corrosion protection. More corrosion classes need to be provided locally to minimize traveling for training, and a NACE certified test-site needs to be available for such trainings. Board Members for the NACE, San Francisco Bay Area Section had an action plan to construct a NACE-certified test site in San Francisco.
Many issues needed to be resolved, such as site location, material and equipment donation, and construction contractor. Emails were circulated among the members. A committee for the special task force was formed. The committee consisted of representatives from San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, JDH Corrosion Consultants, and American Construction and Supply, Inc. Mr. Mohammed Ali, a Corrosion Engineer for JDH Corrosion Consultants who is also a NACE instructor, prepared the design drawings for the CP test site, and had NACE Headquarter in Houston, Texas, approved the drawings.
Next was to determine the test site location and it was unanimously decided that the site should be within the San Francisco Peninsula, not far from downtown San Francisco. Since the City & County of San Francisco is the largest utility in the area, Mr. Mongkol Mahavongtrakul, an Electrical Engineer for City & County of San Francisco solicited the SFPUC management for an area for the construction of the new NACE test site. Many City’s Officials including City Attorneys, SFPUC Operations Department, and SFPUC Homeland Security were consulted. Possible locations for the NACE CP test site were discussed, and SFPUC Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant in San Bruno was selected. Rudy Arana and Steve McKim from American Construction and Supply, Inc. had agreed to bury all pipelines and associated cathodic protection equipment, once we received the material donation.
The idea of building a cathodic protection test site to meet NACE’s requirements has been widely supported by many organizations. East Bay Municipal Utility District, Northwest Pipe, Farwest Corrosion Control Company, and CSI Services were among the donors who donate pipeline, rectifier, anodes and other miscellaneous items. Cash donations were also received from NACE Western States Corrosion Committee, V&A Consulting Engineer and Sherwin Williams. It took 3 weekends to finish the construction. All labor came from the NACE members in the San Francisco Bay Area with the very good cooperation from the plant personnel at Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant.