DOT Pipeline Compliance News

April 2021 Issue

In This Issue

NTSB 2021-2022 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements

[Pipeline Leak Detection]

The NTSB Board Meeting to discuss the 2021-2022 Most Wanted List proposed 10 recommendations, including one safety item to improve pipeline leak detection and mitigation. This safety item has three elements:

  1. Equipping gas transmission lines with ruptured detection technology;
  2. Installing automatic shut-off valves and remote-control valves on natural gas transmission lines; and
  3. Installing methane detectors in all residents with natural gas service.

The NTSB is recommending that the industry take the following actions:

  • Revise the National Fuel Gas Code, National Fire Protection Association 54 to require methane detection systems for all types of residential occupancies with gas service; and
  • Develop additional guidance that identifies steps gas distribution operators can take to safely respond to leaks, fires, explosions, and emergency calls.

The NTSB also notes that operators should review and update as needed:

  • Incident-reporting practices;
  • Policies and procedures for responding to leaks, fires, explosions, and emergency calls; and
  • integrity management programs

A full list of recommended actions can be found on the NTSB website.

Colorado Public Service Commission Implements New Gas Pipeline Regulations

On March 17, 2021 Regulation 11 Rules Regulating Pipeline Operators and Gas Pipeline Safety was implemented by the Public Utilities Commission. These regulations apply to all public utilities and all municipal or quasi-municipal corporations transporting natural gas or providing natural gas service, all operators of master meter systems, and all operators or pipelines transporting gas in interstate commerce as defined in 49 CFR Part 191.3. These regulations make up the Pipeline Safety Program (PSP) under a cooperative agreement with federal agencies to adopt and create rules to administer and enforce the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act (49 U.S.C. §§ 60101). These regulations describe the requirements for safe construction, operation, maintenance, and integrity management of the following:

  • All intrastate pipeline facilities engaged in the transportation of hazardous gases, including natural gas and vaporized liquefied petroleum (LP) gas; and
  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.

These regulations also outline reporting requirements for operators of all facilities and pipeline systems. Some of these are incorporated by reference from 49 CFR Part 191 while others are in addition to the Federal requirements or part of the requirements that were not incorporated.

Lastly, this rule provides additional guidance for preventing damage to pipelines by excavation and complying with integrity regulations.  

For more information about this rule or how RCP can assist you with implementation of the compliance programs required within this rule, contact Jessica Foley.

Maine’s Updated Damage Prevention Regulations

Maine has updated its “65-07 – Public Utilities Commission – General” natural gas pipelines regulations. Several of the additions and changes focused on changing the wording and requirements to align with current PHMSA regulations for natural gas. This means renumbering of the regulation and adding several new definitions to existing portions; therefore, a lot of word substitution. Outlined below are a few of the changes:

  1. Incident reporting changed from 1-hour limit of reporting an incident to as soon as practical, without compromising safety. Also, incidents are to be reported on the new MPUC Underground Facility Incident Reporting Form.
  2. New training requirement for locators and new mapping requirements.
  3. Damage Prevention documentation will need to be updated to include new procedures for protecting underground facilities.
  4. New communication requirements to third-party excavators.
  5. Determining the depth of cover has been changed to less cover but the depth has to be measured from the shallowest pipe appurtenance.
  6. Control Room Management Plans have been added to the list of documents that are to be submitted to the PUC.
  7. The PUC updated its enforcement procedures to align with PHMSA’s enforcement procedures.

For more information about this rule or how RCP can assist you with implementation of the compliance programs required within this rule, contact Jessica Foley.

Proposed Changes to Operator Qualification and Waivers in NY State

[I.D No. PSC-14-21-00003-P]

The New York Public Service Commission is considering revisions to certain sections of 16 NYCRR Part 255 as summarized below:

Waivers would become Special Permits

  • The current waiver request would become a request for a special permit.  Currently, pipeline operators are required to comply with the regulations as stated or ask for a “waiver” of the requirement. The term “waiver,” however, inaccurately describes what occurs when a company is complying with the regulations but believes it can do so in a different manner than that specifically stated in the regulations. A “special permit,” whether granted temporarily or permanently, is a more accurate description of what is being granted. Any alternative approach to a regulation as written must still “meet or exceed” the existing regulation.

Operator Qualification (OQ) requirements would change in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Add a definition for “span of control,” which describes pipeline operators’ ratio of fully operator qualified supervisors to non-qualified workers who are completing pipeline work.
  • Change the definition of “covered task” so it would also apply to pipeline construction.
  • OQ programs would have to be revised to make clear that to be “operator qualified” workers must have been evaluated for their “knowledge, skills, and abilities” (KSA’s) to complete each covered task.  Further, although written tests are not required to test workers’ repair or construction knowledge, when written tests are used, they must be offered in a secure setting that precludes opportunities to cheat. A passing grade on a written test will have to include some basic requirements; for instance, a worker cannot be deemed to have passed a written exam if the worker incorrectly answered any question about how to respond to a “abnormal operating condition” (AOC).
  • Operators must explain their “management of change” process for when they make changes to their own operator qualification protocols, such as when and how a task, process, or span of control changes.
  • Operators would have to develop a method to keep records and allow real-time checks of which workers are operator qualified and for which tasks on any worksite. It should also be apparent when those credentials expire.

The full text of the proposed rule is posted at the following State website:

For questions, contact: John Pitucci, Public Service Commission, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350, (518) 486-2655, email:

Data, views or arguments may be submitted to: Michelle Phillips, Public Service Commission, 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350, (518) 474-6530, email:

Public comment will be received until 60 days after April 7, 2021 (the date of publication). 

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. Every year, the industry celebrates National Safe Digging Month in April. During the month, campaigns and activities focus on promoting safe digging to the general public and professionals nationwide. New tools and graphics are now available for you Really Cool People.  Visit the National Safe Digging Month Toolkit (

Mega-Rule #1: Gas Transmission Regulation Deep Dive Virtual Workshop

RCP has been heavily involved throughout this rulemaking process and is ready to assist operators as they get prepared. Whether it’s a deep dive into MAOP records reconfirmation, conducting Engineering Critical Assessments, assessing where your Moderate Consequence Areas exist, developing Material Verification plans, reviewing existing pipeline integrity programs, developing action plans to get into compliance, or simply providing training to your team on what’s coming, RCP can help.


Join us for a virtual deep dive into the recently finalized Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines rule. The virtual format for this is unlike anything you have experienced before. Once registered, attendees will receive links to workshop materials and will be able to review these materials at their own pace and schedule leading up to three separate live Q&A sessions with other attendees and the trainers. Attendees will have the ability to download copies of the materials, and chat and post questions in a live forum from the time they register until the live Q&A sessions with the trainers. There are practical exercises and knowledge reinforcement throughout the workshop to ensure attendees understand how to apply what they have learned. During the live Q&A sessions, trainers will work through these exercises and answer questions from the attendees.

What You Will Learn

There is a lot to unpack with this rule. This workshop will not only dive deep into the rule requirements and some of its nuances; there will also be several practical and interactive exercises for the audience to perform, ensuring they come away knowledgeable not only with “what” is required, but also “how” to conduct certain analyses that are new to the gas transmission pipeline regulations. These exercises will include how to conduct an Engineering Critical Assessment, how to calculate estimated remaining life of your pipelines, how to develop material sampling plans, how to determine TVC records and extract the required data for validated MAOP calculations, and how to plan and execute a spike test.

Workshop Materials

Each attendee will receive access to all presentation materials after registration, including the ability to download copies of the presentations for future reference or taking notes while progressing through the workshop. There are additional reference materials posted within the virtual workshop that can be downloaded, including related PHMSA Frequently Asked Questions, Federal Register Notices, and more.


  • February 1 through April 23, 2021
    • Registration Open
    • Registrants obtain access to workshop materials and proceed through this content at their own pace
  • April 6, 2021
    • Live Kick-Off Session with Trainers
  • May 4-6, 2021
    • Live Q&A Sessions with Trainers (1pm-3pm)
    • Day 1: MAOP, Material Verification
    • Day 2: Engineering Critical Assessment, Calculating Remaining Life
    • Day 3: Integrity Outside HCAs, Changes to Integrity Programs, Spike Testing

About the Trainers

RCP trainers have a wealth of industry experience and provide participants a practical perspective on operations and maintenance activities at a level all can understand and are very effective in answering any questions.

Chris Foley, RCP
Mike Rosenfeld, RSI-Pipeline Solutions
Nathan Switzner, RSI-Pipeline Solutions
Nhan Pham, RCP
Joel Anderson, RSI-Pipeline Solutions

Mike Rosenfeld is an experienced consultant in pipeline fitness for service, pipeline integrity, pipeline design and construction, causes of pipeline failures, pipeline regulations and standards, and related matters. He has performed numerous pipeline failure investigations and root cause failure analyses; conducted research, funded by the pipeline industry, on the effects of mechanical damage, fatigue, pipeline integrity threat interactions, and methods to determine the probable grade of undocumented pipe materials; performed engineering analyses of a broad range of design, operations, or integrity matters for numerous pipeline operators; and provided expert support in litigation. He chairs the Subgroup on Design, Materials, and Construction of the ASME B31.8 Gas Transmission and Distribution Piping Committee and serves on other ASME piping standards development committees. Mr. Rosenfeld has authored or co-authored over 90 published articles or public presentations dating to 1988, is an ASME Fellow, and is a Professional Engineer registered in the State of Ohio. He previously worked with Kiefner & Associates (27 years), Battelle (6 years), and Impell Corporation (4 years). He earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Michigan (1979) and a Master of Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University (1981).

Chris Foley has a deep understanding of the new gas transmission regulation, including participating on the Joint Industry Trade Association Task Group to prepare for and submit comments throughout the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee process.  Mr. Foley owns three patents for MaxOp, which is widely considered the gold standard used across the gas and hazardous liquid pipeline industry for MAOP validation. He serves on the ANSI GPTC Z380 Gas Piping Technology Committee and the American Gas Association Engineering Committee.  Mr. Foley has almost 30 years’ experience developing and implementing engineering and regulatory compliance solutions and technology for the oil and gas industry. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering with a specialty in Systems Safety Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Virtual Workshop Pricing

$1,250 for registration prior to March 25
$1,350 for registration after March 25 and prior to April 1
$1,500 for registration after April 1

For more information or to register for this course click here.

What makes RCP’s online training different?

Online Training Done Right! Check out our online training introduction video. Our online training has been built from the ground up to make the most use of the virtual learning environment. We’ve re-organized our training material into 5-10 minute* bite-sized topics, and made them all available in a format that allows students to take them in any order and at any time. Topics include a video presentation, as well as external reference links and thumbnails of the slides. At the close of each lesson we will have a short quiz. The class includes live Q&A sessions each day to address questions, work through example problems, and review the quizzes.

Students will have the ability to browse the material in the manner that best suits their learning style. They can choose to watch all the topic videos, click-through the slides to skip topics they already know, browse through the reference materials and links, or a combination of all those things. They can spend more time on topics of bigger interest and skip the ones they don’t need to review (a liquid transmission operator probably isn’t interested in gas distribution topics). A three-day in-person course can be done in three days online by watching the appropriate videos each morning and attending the live Q&A sessions in the afternoon. Or, students can review the online materials in advance as their schedule allows and just log on for the live Q&A sessions when scheduled.

While there is no substitute for in-person training, we have done our best to create the next-best thing. We hope you will agree, and here’s what past attendees are saying:

“The course was great. I really think that the course setup is helpful for comprehending the information. The biggest benefit is having “homework” and being able to look back at the information to help solidify the learning. I would recommend this layout for information delivery in the future with more “homework” and videos walking through the results.”

“I appreciated the visuals accompanied by an explanation, especially with the mouse pointer to guide where to look/which section was being explained.”

“The presentation was great – at a good pace and with enough background that I understood what he was presenting.  Thank you.”

“I liked all of the details that Nathan provided. I learned a lot about the different types of testing for each of the properties. I knew generally what was available before but now I have a lot more knowledge. This will be helpful when sourcing vendors for material testing.”

*Truth in advertising – some of the recorded topics are 40 minutes.  It must be true that the older people are, the more long-winded they become.  But it’s all good.  Honest! 

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


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