DOT Pipeline Compliance News

April 2020 Issue

In This Issue

PHMSA Proposed Revisions to the HL Accident Report Form 7000-1

[Docket No. PHMSA 2019-0141-0003]    

PHMSA is proposing changes to the HL Accident Report form, some of which will mirror changes already accepted for the NG Gathering & Transmission Incident Report. Listed below are some important proposed changes. The comment period is open until May 8th, 2020. To view the proposed changes or make a comment, please see docket PHMSA-2019-0141-0003 or click on this link.

The proposal includes:

  • Adding new items to build a complete timeline including interactions with emergency responders, spill response resources, and details about ignition. In addition, PHMSA is proposing new questions regarding detection, discovery, and confirmation of the accident.
  • Collecting information on the operational status of the pipeline at the time of the accident.
  • Requesting not just the first, but all subsequent, NRC notification numbers.
  • Adding questions about initial actions the operator took to control the flow of products to the failure location.
  • Adding a question to collect the date of the most recent evaluation of the water crossing. These formal evaluations can provide information critical to protecting the integrity of water crossings.
  • Collecting the date of installation and manufacture for all items involved in the accident.
  • Collecting more data on accident consequences including # of businesses affected, persons harmed but not hospitalized, and amount of HL product consumed by fire.
  • Data on Maximum Pressure, its determination method, and Flow Reversals
  • Updated questions and answers for Stray Current Corrosion and Natural Force Damage.
  • Questions about the length of pipe isolated during/after an accident.
  • Providing State Damage Prevention Law Exemptions by the Operator
  • Adding “post-construction pressure test” questions for the Cause, “Material Failure of Pipe or Weld”.
  • New, updated sections on Inspection Methods and Contributing Factors to the accident. ILI inspection questions will ask for more details on the type of tool, what it was tuned to detect, and the date of the previous and last inspections with each method. Direct Assessment inspection methods have also been updated. Contributing factors  will be available to choose and should be explained in the Narrative section of the form.

PHMSA Form Changes Beginning July 1st, 2020

The following forms have been modified per PHMSA’s final rule and will be available via the PHMSA portal on July 1, 2020.

OpID Assignment Request and National Registry Notification
Operators will be able to select HL Gravity and HL Reporting-Regulated when submitting either form.

Hazardous Liquid/CO2 Annual Report
Starting with CY 2020 reports, new parts collect data about HL Gravity and HL Reporting-Regulated pipelines. HL Gravity and reporting-regulated gathering lines are only to be reported as miles in Part K1 and K2, respectively. The gravity-fed and reporting-regulated gathering lines are not to be included in any other parts of the HL Annual Report; however, safety-regulated gathering lines should be reported in all appropriate sections.

Hazardous Liquid Gravity and Reporting-Regulated (GRR) Accident Report
For accidents occurring 7/1/2020 or later, this new form will be available in the PHMSA Portal. HL Gravity and reporting-regulated gathering lines will be required to submit a shortened accident report form similar to the HL Accident Report Form 7000-1. The HL GRR accident report form is only for gravity-fed and report-regulated gathering line accidents. The accident report form requests very similar information on the time, date, location, consequences, cause, and subcause of the accident, but does not include any further questions as to the accident’s cause or subcause.

PHMSA Issues Guidance and Stay of Enforcement Due to COVID-19

[The following article was previously published in RCP’s Special Edition March 2020 Newsletter.]

On March 19th & 20th, PHMSA issued two guidance statements related to pipeline operators’ potential inability to comply with federal safety requirements throughout the United States as a result of COVID-19.

  • Notice of Stay of Enforcement and Notice of Enforcement Discretion to Operators Affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
    PHMSA issued a Stay of Enforcement to state pipeline safety program managers, pipeline operators, and operators of gas storage and liquefied natural gas facilities, temporarily halting its enforcement of compliance with operator qualification, control room management, and employment drug testing requirements. The Stay of Enforcement does not relieve operators of their safety responsibility to use trained, non-impaired workers to perform pipeline operation and maintenance tasks. To read the Notice, click here.
  • PHMSA Guidance to State Partners Regarding COVID-19
    In addition to the Stay of Enforcement, PHMSA also provided guidance to its state pipeline safety partners on ways to continue to effectively execute their shared pipeline safety mission. PHMSA recognizes state resources may be limited for the foreseeable future and encourages its state partners to consider the guidance as they proceed with their oversight activities. The guidance also explains actions PHMSA will take in its efforts to continue to support the efforts of state pipeline programs during this time. To read this Notice, click here.

Operators should justify and document any deviations from normal regulatory compliance requirements as related to COVID-19 and explain alternative measures being used to ensure safety. PHMSA is also willing to exercise discretion in enforcement of other regulatory requirements, which will also need to be justified, documented, and communicated to the regulator. Examples might include inability to meet dig deadlines or inspection intervals under IMP, or inability to conduct scheduled internal tank inspections.

The employees of RCP are well-equipped to work from home and stand ready to assist our clients with the necessary analysis and documentation of any deviations from regulatory requirements. Please contact Jessica Foley at if you require assistance during these unprecedented times.

Since this notice, many states have in turn notified the operators and LDC’s within their state to provide notification should they need relief from certain regulatory requirements. 

The American Petroleum Institute (API) announced it has published a new recommended practice (RP) for rural gas gathering pipelines with outside diameters (OD) greater than 12.75-inches.  This RP is expected to be incorporated by reference into Part 192 when the Safety of Gas Gathering Pipelines rule is finalized by PHMSA. 

API RP 1182 creates two new categories of rural gas gathering lines.

  • Type C is a gas gathering line with the following attributes
    • Not categorized as a Type A or B gas gathering line
    • OD greater than 16-inches
    • MAOP >20% SMYS for metallic lines or MAOP >125 psig for non-metallic line
    • Gas gathering lines with OD’s between 12.75 and 16 inches and contains a building intended for human occupancy or “other impacted site” within 660-feet or within the pipeline’s potential impact radius (PIR)
  • Type D is a gas gathering line with the following attributes
    • Not categorized as a Type A or B gas gathering line
    • MAOP <20% SMYS for metallic lines or MAOP <125 psig for non-metallic line
    • OD is between 12.75 and 16 inches and does not contain a building intended for human occupancy or “other impacted site” within 660-feet or within the pipeline’s potential impact radius (PIR)

The RP defines an “other impacted site” as a small, well defined outside area (such as a playground, recreation area, outdoor theater, or other place of public assembly) that is occupied by 20 or more persons, on at least 5 days a week for 10-weeks in any 12-month period (the days and weeks need not be consecutive) and freeways, interstates, or other principal 4-lanes or more arterial roadway.

Once Type C and D gas gathering lines have been identified, the RP outlines practices pipeline operators should take for the following.

  • Design, construction and testing for new gathering pipelines
  • Corrosion control on new and existing Type C gathering lines
  • MAOP for Type C and type D gathering lines
  • Operations and maintenance for Type C and Type D gathering lines
  • Conversion of service
  • Change of service
  • Acquisitions

For more information regarding this RP, contact Jessica Foley.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) announced it has published the second edition of recommended practice (RP) 80, Definition of Onshore Gas Gathering Lines. This RP is expected to be incorporated by reference into Part 192 when the Safety of Gas Gathering Pipelines rule is finalized by PHMSA.  The second edition restructures the outline of the RP, including providing sections for definitions, outlining gas gathering and production operation functions, as well as providing examples how those definitions and functions are applied.  In general, the second edition provides a much clearer definition of what an onshore gas gathering line is compared to the first edition of RP 80.  For more information about this new RP, or to discuss how RCP can assist operators with clearly designating the endpoints of production and gathering systems, contact Jessica Foley.

Is there uncertainty as to whether a pipeline meets the applicability of 49 CFR 195 or 192? RCP can answer your questions regarding the jurisdictional status related to pipelines that may be regulated by PHMSA and other state agencies. Click here to request more information on how RCP can help.

Damage Prevention Rule Changes in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has modified its requirements for damage prevention programs in P.L. 852, No. 287 – Underground Utility Line Protection Law.  In addition to a multitude of minor and editorial changes, the law now specifically applies to unregulated gas gathering lines.  It also establishes a state-level Damage Prevention Committee, with a responsibility to:

  1. Review a report of an alleged violation of this act and damage prevention investigator findings and recommendations.
  2. Issue a warning letter to a person as deemed appropriate by the committee or as recommended by the damage prevention investigator.
  3. Issue an informal determination that imposes an administrative penalty.
  4. Require a person to attend a damage prevention educational program.
  5. Issue an informal determination that modifies or dismisses a recommendation of committee staff.

The new act takes effect 120 days after publication (And, for all of you really cool people, that’s 120 days after March 23, 2020).

April is National Safe Digging Month

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) is a member-driven association of individuals, organizations and sponsors in every facet of the underground utility industry. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, April 2020 will be a very different National Safe Digging Month than ever before. CGA recognizes that the industry is focused on adjusting operations in the quickly changing environment and that conditions are different around the country. CGA will be providing public outreach tools for spring 2020 for members who are continuing to see typical digging activity in their areas. CGA will be updating these tools and resources as the situation evolves. Visit the Public Awareness Toolkits on CGA’s website for more information.

RCP On-Line Training Survey

RCP is well known for our popular 3-day workshops in DOT compliance for both gas and liquid pipelines. These workshops provide an overview of the DOT pipeline regulations in 49 CFR 191, 192, 194, 195, and 199. For the past 20+ years, these workshops have been held at our corporate office in Houston, Texas.  Our world is changing and we want to hear your thoughts on attending an on-line DOT workshop. On-line training would be broken out by topic and held in multiple sessions over a 3-week time frame.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our services with you.


Bill Byrd signature
W. R. (Bill) Byrd, PE
RCP Inc.