DOT Pipeline Compliance News

February 2002 Issue

In This Issue


2002 API Pipeline Conference and Cybernetics Symposium

The API Pipeline Conference and Cybernetics Symposium will be held April 9-11, 2002, in Dallas, TX at the Wyndham Anatole hotel. The brochure can be downloaded at http://api-ep.api.org/filelibrary/agr17500-2.PDF. To view other information about the conference, including on-line registration, go to http://api-ep.api.org/ and search for “cybernetics”. The early registration deadline is March 19, 2002. We hope to see you there!


Old Mapping Docket Item Removed from Regulatory Agenda

On January 25, 2002, the DOT / RSPA removed Docket No. RSPA-97-2426 (RIN 2137-AB48) from their regulatory agenda. This docket item dealt with mapping standards for gas and liquid pipelines, and was initiated in 1997. The docket item is being removed from DOT’s regulatory agenda because it has been superceded by the National Pipeline Mapping System, and for other security related reasons.

Editor’s note: This action doesn’t change any rules and regulations a pipeline operator currently must comply with. So, it didn’t relax any current mapping requirements. The DOT has simply decided to not pursue further development of this particular regulation in this docket.


Pending Audits?

Has the DOT notified you of a pending audit? RCP can provide confidential internal auditing to help ensure that your facilities are up to the agency’s latest standards.
Click Here.


Issuance of Nationwide Permits; Notice


The Corps of Engineers is reissuing all the existing Nationwide Permits (NWPs), General Conditions, and definitions with some modifications, and one new General Condition. The Corps has made a number of changes to the proposed NWPs and General Conditions that are designed to further clarify the permits and strengthen environmental protection. These changes are discussed in the preamble.

All NWPs except NWPs 7, 12, 14, 27, 31, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44 expire on February 11, 2002. Existing NWPs 7, 12, 14, 27, 31, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44 expire on March 18, 2002. In order to reduce the confusion regarding the expiration of the NWPs and the administrative burden of reissuing NWPs at different times, the COE is issuing all NWPs on the same date so that they expire on the same date. Thus, all issued, reissued and modified NWPs, and General Conditions contained within this notice will become effective on March 18, 2002 and expire on March 19, 2007. Activities authorized by the current NWPs issued on December 13, 1996, (except NWPs 7, 12, 14, 27, 31, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44), that have commenced or are under contract to commence by February 11, 2002, will have until February 11, 2003 to complete the activity. Activities authorized by NWPs 7, 12, 14, 27, 31, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44, that were issued on March 9, 2000, that are commenced or under contract to commence by March 18, 2002, will have until March 18, 2003 to complete the activity.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David Olson, at (703) 428-7570, Mr. Rich White, at (202) 761-4599, or Mr. Kirk Stark, at (202) 761-4664 or access the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Home Page at: http//:www.usace.army.mil/inet/functions/cw/cecwo/reg/. The complete Federal Register notice is available on RCP’s website here.


Acquiring a pipeline?

RCP can provide due diligence audits to help you ensure that potential compliance issues have been addressed before the sale is final. Click Here.


Pipeline Drug Testing; Random Testing Rate – 2002

Each year, a minimum percentage of covered pipeline employees must be randomly tested for prohibited drugs. The percentage, either 50 percent or 25 percent, depends on the positive rate of random testing reported to RSPA in the previous year. In accordance with applicable standards, RSPA has determined that the positive rate of random testing reported this year for testing in calendar year 2000 was less than 1.0 percent. Therefore, in calendar year 2002, the minimum annual percentage rate for random drug testing is 25 percent of covered employees. Therefore, effective January 1, 2002, through December 31, 2002, at least 25 percent of covered employees must be randomly drug tested.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: L. M. Furrow by phone at 202-366-4559, by fax at 202-366-4566, by mail at U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, or by e-mail at buck.furrow@rspa.dot.gov.


Small Liquid Pipeline Integrity Management – Typo

Editor’s note: We have clarified with the DOT that the date for small liquid pipeline operators (Category 2 pipelines) to use prior assessments is not in fact December 18, 2006, but should be 5 years PRIOR to the publication date of the rule, less one month. If I can do the math correctly, that makes the “grandfathered” assessment cut off date something like March 16, 1997. We will let you know when the corrected date is published in the Federal Register.


Pipeline Integrity Management in High Consequence Areas (Hazardous Liquid Operators With Less Than 500 Miles of Pipelines)

The DOT has extended the Pipeline Integrity Management regulations (previously applicable only to operators of more than 500 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines) to operators with less than 500 miles of regulated pipelines. The DOT has taken this action because safety recommendations, statutory mandates, and accident analyses indicate that coordinated risk control measures are needed for public safety and environmental protection in addition to compliance with traditional safety standards. Broadening the coverage of the existing regulations will further enhance the protection of high consequence areas against the risk of pipeline failures. This Final Rule takes effect February 15, 2002. This rule is essentially the same as the previous rule for “large” liquid pipeline operators, but with different compliance dates. Operators of less than 500 miles of hazardous liquid pipeline will need to:

Identify pipelines / segments by November 18, 2002 Prepare the written integrity management plan by February 18, 2003 Complete the first 50% of baseline assessments by August 16, 2005. Complete the last 50% of baseline assessments by February 17, 2009 The complete rule is available on RCP’s website here. And, as always, RCP would be glad to add your company to our growing list of Pipeline Integrity Management clients….


Pipeline Integrity Management in High Consequence Areas – Repair Criteria

The DOT / OPS has issued the final rule concerning the repair provisions for hazardous liquid pipelines under the Pipeline Integrity Management Program. These provisions were initially proposed in the previous rulemaking action which addressed requirements for pipeline integrity management programs in high consequence areas for operators owning or operating 500 or more miles of hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide pipeline (Integrity Management rule.) In the Integrity Management rule, the DOT requested comment on the repair and mitigation provisions, because the provisions were substantially modified from those originally proposed in the notice of proposed rulemaking. The final rule also makes several non-substantive corrections and clarifications to other provisions of the Integrity Management rule.

This rule is effective May 29, 2001, except for paragraph (h) of ยง195.452 which takes effect February 13, 2002. For further information, contact Mike Israni, (202) 366-4571, or by e-mail: mike.israni@rspa.dot.gov, regarding the remediation provisions in paragraph (h) or any other provisions of the integrity management rule. The entire final rule, with preamble, can be downloaded from RCP’s website here.


DOT Mail Processing Notice

After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, overnight shippers, e.g., FEDEX, advised the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) offices that they faced delivery delays because the airlines had been grounded. In addition, DOT requested that, beginning October 16, 2001, the United States Postal Service (USPS) halt most mail deliveries until it could put in place appropriate safety measures to address the potential threat from anthrax-contaminated mail. Mail caught in transit between October 13 and October 22 at DC’s Brentwood Facility, where testers found traces of anthrax, may be part of quarantined mail that DOT might never receive. Mail sent to DOT from mid-October to November 27 has been significantly delayed. DOT began receiving mail again on November 28. Even now, the USPS continues to irradiate first class and express mail bound for DOT. This means that DOT will receive mail after delays of a week or more.

DOT does not know the full extent of the impact delayed or blocked mail delivery will have on informal rulemaking proceedings and preemption determination proceedings for the Research and Special Programs Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. However, DOT will take this interruption of mail service into account, with respect to DOT rulemakings or preemption determination proceedings with comment periods that closed before mail delivery resumed on November 28, 2001. Because DOT cannot be sure if they received filings sent just before October 13 or when, if ever, they will receive filings and comments caught in Brentwood between October 13 and November 27, please check the Dockets Web page (http://dms.dot.gov) to see if DOT received and processed your document(s). If your document is not in the electronic docket, DOT may not have received it. Please bear in mind that processing a document into the electronic system after receipt may take up to eight business days, especially since the DOT Mail Room must x-ray and screen all package deliveries prior to their acceptance into the DOT Docket Management System.

DOT’s complete notice on this issue is available on RCP’s website here.


High Consequence Areas for Gas Transmission Pipelines – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The DOT has issued their proposed rule to define areas of high consequence where the potential consequences of a gas pipeline accident may be significant or may do considerable harm to people and their property. This proposed rule is the first step in a two step process to address the integrity management programs for gas pipelines. DOT / RSPA created the proposed definition from the comments received on their previous notice, as well as information gathered through a series of discussions and meetings with representatives of the gas pipeline industry, research institutions, state pipeline safety agencies and public interest groups. The proposed definition does not require any specific action by pipeline operators, but will be used in the pipeline integrity management rule for gas transmission lines that RSPA is currently developing. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments by March 11, 2002 (Docket No. RSPA-00-7666 – http://dms.dot.gov). Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Israni by phone at (202) 366-4571, by fax at (202) 366-4566, or by E-mail at mailto:mike.israni@rspa.dot.gov, regarding the subject matter of this proposed rule. The complete notice is available from RCP’s website at here.


Upcoming RCP Seminars

RCP will repeat our 2 day workshop on Pipeline Integrity Management on February 27 and 28th in Houston. This workshop presents a detailed analysis of the recent federal Pipeline Integrity Management regulation and the management programs / elements that it requires. We will also review recent state initiatives / proposed rules on pipeline integrity management. On the 28th we will discuss various methods of actually conducting a risk assessment for pipeline segments, and will work though several hands-on examples. We received very positive feedback from the Pipeline Integrity Management workshop that we conducted in 2001, and expect this session to fill up rapidly. Some companies have chosen to send their entire risk assessment team to this seminar, as a way of kicking off their internal risk assessment process. Additional information is available on our website here.

RCP will conduct a 2 day workshop on DOT Pipeline Regulations on March 20th and 21st in Houston. This workshop will present an overview of all the current DOT regulations for pipeline operators, including recent regulatory initiatives such as pipeline integrity management, hazardous liquid corrosion control requirements, and operator qualification. This workshop is suitable for personnel who need a general introduction to DOT pipeline regulatory requirements, or who need an update on recent and proposed DOT Pipeline regulatory initiatives. Additional information is available on our website here.

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