New Requirements for Pipelines near Environmentally & Ecologically Sensitive Areas in the Coast Zones of California
The state of California Fire Marshal’s office is proposing to adopt new requirements for pipelines located within a ½ mile of environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas in coastal zones. Pipelines in these sensitive areas, including low stress and gravity fed lines, will be required by January 1, 2022 to be fitted with the best available technology to reduce the volume of Hazardous Liquids released in a spill to protect state waters and wildlife. Such technologies will include, but not be limited to, leak detection systems, automatic shutoff systems, remotely controlled block valves, and any combination thereof. A dataset of the areas where pipelines will need to conform to Article 7 of CA state law will be available January 1, 2020, on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website.
New and replacement pipelines will be required, as of January 1, 2020 to utilize the best in current technologies to reduce the negative consequences of pipeline releases based on risk analyses conducted by each operator. Operators of existing pipelines will be required to submit a risk analysis and implementation plan by July 1, 2020 to retrofit existing pipelines in these sensitive coastal areas with the best mitigating technologies. Operators will be able to prioritize the retrofitting of pipelines based on risk and potential impacts. Once the pipelines have been updated, the technologies in place will be tested and a report submitted within 90 days to the State Fire Marshal for review. In addition, any plan for retrofitting new technologies will also require details on the training of personnel in the use and operation of each technology.
Operators may submit risk analysis cases that show a given pipeline near these sensitive coastal areas could not impact the coastal zone to exempt that pipeline from the requirements in this regulation. In addition, operators may also submit analyses and data that show a given pipeline is already using the most effective current technologies for a deferral for provisions in this Article. All submissions must be completed by February 1, 2020.
If a pipeline release impacts a coastal zone, operators are required to provide a report within 90 days to the State Fire Marshal that includes an evaluation and failure analysis of the factors included in the risk analysis submitted for the requirements of this Article, whether the pipeline was exempt or not. The report will also require an evaluation of the technologies’ performance and identify how the operator will address any issues thereof. Operators must also submit a new risk analysis and implementation plan for that pipeline which will be required within 12 months of the release.
All operators will be required to perform and update their risk assessments and resubmit them to the State Fire Marshal once every 5 years for review. All records associated with this Article’s provisions, risk analysis, implementation plan, testing results, training requirements, and other support documents, shall be kept for the life of the pipeline. Any other supplementary records used for review during inspections shall be kept for 6 years or three inspection cycles, whichever is longer.