DOT Pipeline Compliance News

December 2005 Issue

In This Issue

EPA Amends SPCC Rule

On Dec. 5, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed modifications and compliance extensions for the oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule.

EPA is proposing to streamline requirements for qualified facilities, qualified oil-filled operational equipment, and airport mobile refuelers. The proposal also offers a separate extension of the compliance date for farms and the removal of certain SPCC requirements for animal fats and vegetable oils.

In order to allow facilities that may be affected by the final rule the necessary time to apply the provisions, EPA is also proposing to extend the compliance deadline by which all facilities must prepare or amend and implement their SPCC Plan to Oct. 31, 2007. The agency also wants to provide members of the regulated community with sufficient time to understand the full impact offered in today’s proposal in light of the information contained in the forthcoming “SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors” document. Finally, the effects of the recent hurricanes on many industry sectors could have adversely affectedtheir ability to meet the upcoming compliance dates if no extension is provided.

The SPCC rule applies to non-transportation-related facilities that meet an oil storage capacity threshold and that could reasonably be expected to discharge oil into navigable U.S. waters. SPCC regulations require each owner or operator of such a facility to have a SPCC plan, certified by a professional engineer. The plan must address the facility’s design, operation and maintenance procedures for preventing discharges as well as countermeasures to mitigate effects in case of discharge.
br> For more information on Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plans, go to:

EPA Releases SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors

On Dec. 2, EPA released the SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors. The guidance document is intended to assist regional inspectors in reviewing a facility’s implementation of the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule at 40 CFR part 112.

With its publication, EPA seeks to establish a consistent understanding among regional EPA inspectors on how particular provisions of the rule may be applied. The guidance document covers topics such as applicability, environmental equivalence, secondary containment and impracticability determinations, and integrity testing, as well as the role of the inspector in the review of these provisions. The document is also available as a guide to owners and operators of facilities that may be subject to the requirements of the SPCC rule and the general public on how EPA intends the SPCC rule to be implemented. The SPCC Guidance for Regional Inspectors is available online.

RCP’s Fantastic 1-Page Version of New SPCC Regulation

The deadline for SPCC Plan revisions is fast approaching, February 17, 2006! RCP has developed a 1-page version (in tiny type) of the new SPCC regulations, to be revised as per the April 17, 2003 rule modification. To receive a complimentary copy along with a CD of valuable SPCC Reference Materials
Click Here to request additional information.

Public Awareness, Pipeline Safety, and OQ Meeting Reminders

For details of these meetings, see the November issue of DOT Pipeline Compliance News.

  • Pipeline Safety Workshop on Public Awareness Programs for Operators (Houston)
    The Dec. 7-8 workshop, which will focus on hazardous liquid and gas transmission operators, will be held at the Hilton America, 1600 Lamar Street, Houston, TX 77010. Hotel reservations under the U.S. Department of Transportation room block can be made at 713-739-8000 or 1-800-4HILTON.
  • The Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (TPSSC) and Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (THLPSSC) will meet in joint sessions on Dec. 13-14, 2005, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel at 480 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, D.C. 20024. The phone number for reservations at the hotel is 202-484-1000.
  • Public meeting on operator qualification programs. The meeting provides an opportunity to discuss progress on operator qualification programs to help PHMSA prepare a Report to Congress and the potential the ASME consensus standard offers for strengthening operator qualification programs. The meeting will take place at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, D.C. 20024 on Dec. 15, 2005, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number for reservations at the hotel is 202-484-1000.

Need to make sure your Public Awareness Program meets API RP 1162 standards?

RCP can conduct a gap analysis of your current program that includes a self assessment of your Public Awareness Programs. This final product will help you to meet API RP 1162 standards. We can provide turnkey implementation, mail-outs, evaluations, and tracking of your program. For more information, call or click here.

Gas Gathering Line Definition – Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The following is a reminder concerning this open regulatory issue:

PHMSA has recently proposed new definitions for gas gathering, based on API RP-80, that should clarify the difference between production, gas gathering, and transmission. PHMSA has also developed a new risk classification system, based on pipeline pressure and population density, to determine which of the gathering pipelines are “regulated onshore gathering lines.” This risk classification system would also be used to establish safety standards for the higher-risk onshore gathering lines, and to relax current standards on the low-risk onshore gathering lines. (Onshore gathering lines in inlets of the Gulf of Mexico are not affected by this rulemaking.) Operators would use a new risk-based approach to determine which of its gathering lines are “regulated onshore gathering lines” and what safety standards the lines must meet.

At present, PHMSA’s safety standards do not apply to onshore gathering lines in rural locations, while onshore gathering lines in non-rural locations must meet the same requirements as transmission lines. In addition, PHMSA does not regulate “production facilities” in either rural or non-rural environment, since these facilities are under the jurisdiction of the EPA. The definition of “gas gathering” has been the subject of much discussion for over 30 years. The current regulations essentially say that gathering begins at the end of production, gathering ends at the beginning of transmission, and that transmission begins at the end of gathering. Thus it is frequently unclear if a pipeline is an exempt production line, a gathering line (possibly exempt), or a regulated transmission line.

For further information contact DeWitt Burdeaux by phone at 405-954-7220 or by e-mail at Persons interested in submitting written comments on the rules proposed in this notice must do so by January 3, 2006. Late filed comments will be considered so far as practicable. [Docket No. RSPA-1998-4868; Notice 5]; RIN 2137-AB15.

O&M Manual Up-To-Date?

RCP has the tools and expertise to develop comprehensive procedures that you need to protect your people, facilities, and environment.  
Click Here

API Issues New Pipeline Welding Standard

The American Petroleum Institute has issued the 20th edition of API Standard 1104, Welding of Pipelines and Related Facilities. The standard covers the welding of butt, fillet, and socket welds in carbon and low-alloy steel piping used in the compression, pumping, and transmission of crude petroleum, petroleum products, fuel gases, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Where applicable, it also covers welding on gas distribution piping. The standard applies to both new construction and in-service welding. The Department of Transportation expects to incorporate API’s revised standard into regulation by reference into the Federal Register within the next 6-12 months. To order API Standard 1104, contact Global Engineering Documents at or (800) 854-7179.

Need to Update Your Current Operator Qualification Program?

We have the expertise to update your current operator qualification program to satisfy the upcoming regulation change and inspection protocols. Click Here to request more information.

OPS Issues FAQs for Gas IMP

FAQ-207: Pro-rating ASME B31.8S intervals (11/10/2005)
Question: If a pipeline operating below 30% SMYS was pressure-tested at 1.5 times MAOP, can the reassessment interval in ASME B31.8S Table 3 be prorated?
Answer: If a hydrostatic pressure test was performed per Subpart J requirements, then the operator may use a seven-year reassessment interval. Extended intervals may be achieved per ASME B31.8S, Section 5, Table 3. If the Test Pressure ratio (or the Predicted Failure Pressure ratio) falls in between the intervals listed in ASME B31.8S-2001, Table 3, straight-line interpolation between the 5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year intervals is acceptable.

FAQ-235: Use of Guided Wave Ultrasound as part of ICDA
If Guided Wave UT is used as part of the ICDA process, is it considered “other technology” requiring notification to OPS/states?
Answer: Response is under development. For more information on gas pipeline integrity management FAQ’s, go to:

Integrity Management Services

RCP can assist pipeline operators with ongoing compliance management and engineering associated with your IMP. This includes direct assessment strategies, tool and vendor selection, ILI/ECDA report analysis, corrosion control programs, repair strategies, and IMP/risk model updates. For more information on how RCP can support your ongoing IMP needs, Click Here.

Texas Damage Prevention Regulations

The Texas Legislature approved three separate bills in the last legislative session that all give the Railroad Commission of Texas new authority to promulgate regulations for damage prevention programs, including enforcement powers. The RRC is moving quickly in this area, and plans to hold one or more meetings early in 2006 to begin the rulemaking process. Stay tuned for more information in this area.

RCP Services Spotlight – RCP Auditing, Due Diligence and Expert Witness Services

RCP’s approach to audits and assessments is typically either consultative or enforcement oriented depending upon the client’s needs. The consultative approach is typically viewed by clients as a cooperative effort that assesses regulatory compliance status in concert with operational and maintenance issues. This method provides feedback on existing management practices versus industry standards. The consultative approach not only identifies opportunities for regulatory compliance improvement, but also provides recommendations on how existing management practices can effectively achieve and sustain these improvements. An enforcement approach gives the client an idea of how well a facility can manage an agency audit and how likely it would be for an agency inspector to issue a Notice of Violation.

RCP provides comprehensive, confidential regulatory consulting services, including:

  • Quick-Hit Regulatory Compliance Checkups
  • Comprehensive Regulatory Compliance Audits
    • Compliance program gap analysis
    • Recordkeeping evaluation
    • Field inspections
  • Regulatory Agency Jurisdictional Determinations, Interpretations & Audits
    • DOT
      • Integrity Management Program
      • Operator Qualification
      • Operations & Maintenance
      • Public Awareness API RP1162
      • Facility Response Plans
    • U.S. Coast Guard
      • Dock Operations
      • Oil Spill Response Plans
      • Facility Security Plans
    • EPA
      • Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasure Plans
      • Air/Wastewater Permitting
      • Facility Response Plans
      • Risk Management Plans
    • OSHA
      • Process Safety Management
      • Health & Safety Plans
    • State-Specific Regulations
  • Asset Acquisition Due Diligence
    • Phase I Environmental Assessments
    • Permitting & Associated Agency Notifications
    • Compliance Program Development
    • Employee Qualification & Training Program Assessments
    • Asset Integrity Management Liability Assessment
    • Record Keeping, Documentation & Data Room Inspections
  • Expert Witness Service
    • Pipeline Safety
    • Regulatory Interpretation

If you would like information regarding RCP’s Auditing, Due Diligence and Expert Witness Services, e-mail Jessica Roger or call (713) 655-8080.

SCADA Safety Study

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its conclusions and recommendations from a study designed to examine how pipeline companies use SCADA systems to monitor and record operating data and to evaluate the role of SCADA systems in leak detection. The study was prompted by the number of hazardous liquid accidents in which leaks went undetected after indications of a leak on the SCADA interface.

The study describes SCADA systems being used at pipeline companies that transport hazardous liquids and examines the extent to which the SCADA system design helps or hinders controllers in detecting leaks and acting to limit the amount of product released.

For this study, the NTSB examined the role of SCADA systems in the 13 hazardous liquid line accidents that the Safety Board investigated from April 1992 to October 2004. In 10 of these accidents, some aspect of the SCADA system contributed to the severity of the accident.

Based on surveys, personal interviews, and previous accident investigations, NTSB outlined a set of recommendations for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration at a public meeting on Nov. 29.

  1. Require operators of hazardous liquid pipelines to follow the American Petroleum Institute’s Recommended Practice 1165 for the use of graphics on the SCADA screens.
  2. Require pipeline companies to have a policy for the review/audit of alarms.
  3. Require controller training to include simulator or non-computerized simulations for controller recognition of abnormal operating conditions, in particular, leak events.
  4. Change the liquid accident reporting form (PHMSA F 7000-1) and require operators to provide data related to controller fatigue.
  5. Require operators to install computer-based leak detection systems on all lines unless engineering analysis determines that such a system is not necessary.

A full synopsis of the public meeting is available at

Marine Maps Available Online

The National Ocean Service has launched an online site publishing interactive Raster Navigational Charts (RNCs) to give mariners more timely and accurate information in the rapidly changing marine environment. Targeted at improving marine safety and reducing the risk of accidents, interactive RNCs make updated charts available to the mariner faster and with greater accuracy than paper documents, sometimes in near real-time.

The RNCs were developed by the Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. Access the site at

Submit written comments to Director, Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean Service, NOAA (N/CS), 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD, 20910. Written comments may be faxed to (301) 713-4019. Comments by e-mail should be submitted to .

For more information, contact Captain James Gardner, Chief, Marine Chart Division, Office of Coast Survey, NOS/NOAA, 301-713-2724 x101, fax 301-713-4516, .

Texas Railroad Commission Launches Public GIS Map Viewer

Using data generated from the Geographic Information System of the Texas Railroad Commission, the commission has created an online viewer that allows the public to view GIS data for the state of Texas.

This system provides interactive search capabilities and map views of pipeline, survey, and well location data. RRC pipeline and well location data change daily, and the data found on this site is updated nightly. Additional map features, such as roads, rivers, surveys, pipelines, and wells, are displayed as you zoom in to the map display.

To access the map, go to

DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing

Proposed rule: Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs
[Docket OST-2003-15245]

The Department of Transportation is proposing to amend certain provisions of its drug and alcohol testing procedures to change instructions to laboratories, medical review officers, and employers with respect to adulterated, substituted, diluted, and invalid specimen results. These proposed changes are intended to create consistency with specimen validity requirements established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and to modify some measures taken in two of our own interim final rules. This NPRM also proposes to make specimen validity testing mandatory within the regulated transportation industries.

Comments to the notice of proposed rulemaking should be submitted by December 30, 2005. Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable. For further information contact: Jim L. Swart, Deputy Director (S-1), Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, D.C. 20590; telephone number 202-366-3784 (voice), 202-366-3897 (fax), or (e-mail)

Proposed NPDES General Permit for Industrial Stormwater Discharges

EPA Regions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, and 10 have proposed a new NPDES general permit for stormwater discharges from industrial activity, also referred to as the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). This proposed permit will replace the existing permit covering industrial sites in EPA Regions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10 that expired on October 30, 2005. The proposed permit is similar to the existing permit and will authorize the discharge of stormwater associated with industrial activities in accordance with the terms and conditions described therein. The organization and numbering of the proposed MSGP has been revised from the 2000 MSGP to more clearly present permittee responsibilities. EPA made changes to the discharge authorization time frame, training, monitoring, reporting, recordkeeping, inspections, and some sector-specific provisions to ensure that receiving waters will be adequately protected.

EPA seeks comment on the proposed permit and on the accompanying fact sheet. Comments must be postmarked by January 16, 2006 (docket ID No. OW-2005-0007). EPA will hold an informal public meeting at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 20, 2005. The public meeting will include a presentation on the draft permit and a question and answer session. In addition, some EPA Regional offices may schedule public meetings in their areas. Written, but not oral, comments for the official permit record will be accepted at the public meetings. Comments generated from what was learned at a public meeting (or discussion with someone who did attend) can be submitted any time up to the end of the comment period.

More information on these meetings will be available on the Internet at and on the various EPA Regional Web sites including any additional dates and locations if scheduled. Due to limited seating, those wishing to attend EPA’s public meeting are asked to please send an e-mail message containing their name, telephone number and organization to Lance Wills at An e-mail message is not required, however. Anyone wishing to may attend. Directions to the meeting site will be provided upon receipt of your e-mail.

After the close of the public comment period, EPA will issue a final permit decision. This decision will not be made until after all public comments have been considered and appropriate changes made to the permit. Responses to Comments will be included as part of the final permit decision.

Since this permit was not reissued or replaced prior to expiration of the MSGP 2000, MSGP is administratively continued in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, and remains in force and effect. Any facility with permit coverage prior to the October 30, 2005, expiration date, automatically remains covered by this permit until the earliest of:

  1. Reissuance or replacement of the permit, at which time the facility must submit an NOI requesting authorization to discharge under the new permit and comply with the requirements of the new permit to maintain authorization to discharge, or:
  2. The facility submits a Notice of Termination, or;
  3. Issuance or denial of an individual permit for the facility discharges, or;
  4. A formal permit decision by EPA not to reissue this general permit, at which time the facility must seek coverage under an alternative general permit or an individual permit.

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