The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) plans to conduct several work group meetings in 2005 to evaluate ways to enhance integrity of gas distribution pipeline systems. The work groups include representatives of OPS, state pipeline safety regulators, the gas distribution industry, the Gas Pipeline Technology Committee, the Fire Marshal’s Association, and the public.
Executive representatives of the study group met in Dulles, VA on March 16 and 17, 2005, to begin this effort. That group concluded that further investigation of potential approaches to assuring distribution integrity is needed. The executive group further concluded that the most useful approach is likely to include a combination of a high-level, risk-based federal regulation with implementation guidance included in a consensus standard or a guidance document. States, which are principally responsible for regulating distribution system safety, could impose additional requirements beyond the federal regulation and could adopt all or portions of the guidance. The executive group also concluded that a program of public education could be important to reducing the frequency of damage caused by excavations near distribution pipelines and that research and development should be conducted to identify improved means of assessing the integrity of distribution pipelines.
The latest meeting was held on March 29-31, 2005, in Dallas, Texas. The participants were formed into four study groups to evaluate strategic options, risk control practices, protection against outside force damage, and data issues related to understanding distribution integrity threats. OPS expects that this effort will involve a series of meetings by each sub group, and the Steering Committee. The date and time of future meetings will be set to suit the schedules of the participants. OPS will announce the time and place of future meetings on the Web site (ops.dot.gov). OPS will also post on that web site minutes of meetings, copies of nonproprietary documents considered during the meetings, and work group products.
For more information, contact Mike Israni, OPS, (202) 366-4571; email@example.com.