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Natural Gas Pipeline Safety

Information Bulletin


Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Advisory Bulletins

PHMSA uses advisory bulletins to inform affected pipeline operators and Federal and state pipeline safety personnel of matters that have the potential of becoming safety or environmental risks.  A complete list of Advisory Bulletins can be found at http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline/regs/advisory-bulletin.

Integrity Management - Distribution Systems

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published the final rule establishing integrity management requirements for gas distribution pipeline systems on December 4, 2009 (74 FR 63906). The effective date of the rule is February 12, 2010. Operators are given until August 2, 2011 to write and implement their program.

The regulation requires operators, such as natural gas distribution companies to develop, write, and implement a natural gas distribution system integrity management program with the following elements:

  • Knowledge of the system
  • Identify Threats
  • Evaluate and Rank Risks
  • Identify and Implement Measures to Address Risks
  • Measure Performance, Monitor Results, and Evaluate Effectiveness
  • Periodically Evaluate and Improve Program
  • Report Results

PHMSA has developed and continues to enhance guidance to help the public and the affected industry understand the requirements of the final rule in the form of FAQs.  Additional information can be found at http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline/imp

Integrity Management - Transmission Systems

The Gas IM Rule specifies how pipeline operators must identify, prioritize, assess, evaluate, repair and validate the integrity of gas transmission pipelines that could, in the event of a leak or failure, affect High Consequence Areas (HCAs) within the United States.  HCAs include certain populated and occupied areas.
 
For an overview of the progress being made under the Gas IM Rule, please see the PHMSA Performance Measures page.  There you will find graphs and charts, which depict progress and other aspects of rule implementation.  You will also find a link to the tabulated semi-annual submissions provided by pipeline operators in accordance with this rule.
 
Additional information, including an operator IM process flowchart and a fact sheet that summarizes key requirements of the Gas IM Rule; details of the Gas IM Rule itself; FAQs; and other information useful in more fully understanding the Gas IM Rule can be found at http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/gasimp

Pipeline Information
Gathering Pipelines

On March 15, 2006 final action was taken by PHMSA in establishing safety rules consistent with the risks of gas gathering pipelines.  Questions regarding the March 15, 2006 final federal rulemaking and federal implementation can be directed to the local Community Assistance and Technical Services (CATS) team regional representative.  CATS representatives can be found at http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/CATS.htm

Public Awareness Program

The finalized public awareness documents (such as the inspection form, enforcement guidance and FAQs) can be found by visiting the PHMSA Stakeholder Communication website at: https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/PublicAwareness/PublicAwareness.htm
All the documents are listed in the left hand menu. 

Operator Qualification - Update

The Office of Pipeline Safety has posted the OQ Protocols being discussed in public meetings. All updates and contact information concerning OQ can be found at http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline/tq/oq
Effected plans should be reviewed and modified if necessary to follow the protocols as posted.


Drugs and Alcohol

As proposed in April, 2001, several DOT agencies have amended their drug and alcohol testing rules covering transportation workers in safety-sensitive jobs. The revised rules and the response to comments are available at the DOT's drug and alcohol testing web site, www.dot.gov/ost/dapc . Additional information is also available at http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/drug

Additional Resources: http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline/tq/resources

Consumer Protection