DOT Pipeline Compliance News

January 2012 Issue

In This Issue

Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 Becomes Law H.R. 2845

New Pipeline Safety Act
The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 passed the House and the Senate and was signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 (see related story in the November edition of the DOT Pipeline Compliance News.) The bill reauthorizes the federal pipeline safety programs at DOT through FY 2015, and includes a number of other provisions affecting pipeline owners and operators – some of which do not depend upon DOT’s additional rulemaking. Items that are immediately effective for pipeline owners and operators are in bold underline below. The Act:

  • Increases the cap on civil penalties for violators of pipeline regulations and adding civil penalties for obstructing investigations;
  • Establishes more stringent standards for grant recipients pertaining to state “One-Call” systems by requiring the elimination of blanket exemptions given to local and state government agencies and their contractors on notifying “One-Call” centers before digging;
  • Allows (but does not require) DOT to promulgate regulations requiring installation of automatic or remote control shut off valves for new or totally replaced transmission pipelines (within 2 years of enactment, and after the response capability study described below)
  • Allows DOT to grant 6 month extensions for the 7 year gas transmission IMP reassessment intervals;
  • Requires DOT to maintain a map of designated HCAs in NPMS
  • Requires (within 1 year) DOT to develop and implement an awareness program for NPMS
  • Requires DOT (within 18 months) to develop guidance for pipeline operators to share system-specific information with emergency responders
  • Requires DOT to retain copies of pipeline operator OPA-90 plans and provide them to the public as requested (after possibly redacting certain information);
  • Requires DOT to develop regulations (within 18 months) that establish time limits on accident and leak notifications to local and state officials and emergency responders;
  • Allows DOT to collect GIS and other technical data from operators, including operators of unregulated “transportation-related oil flow lines”, which have a new, unique, and rather extensive definition…
  • Allows DOT to recover expenses for design reviews for new pipelines costing more than $2.5B, or using “new or novel technologies or design”, requires DOT to define “new or novel technologies or design” within 1 year, and requires the person proposing the affected project to submit plans and specifications to DOT 120 days prior to beginning construction;
  • Requires DOT to establish regulations for gaseous CO2 pipelines;
  • Allows DOT to grant certain waivers to states for state funding of pipeline safety programs;
  • Establishes various changes to the administrative enforcement process, including hearings;
  • Allows DOT to regulate offshore oil gathering, after the study mentioned below;
  • Allows DOT to establish regulations on excess flow valves for multi-family residences / commercial users, depending on the results of the study mentioned below (2 years)
  • Requires DOT (within 6 months) to establish requirements for gas transmission pipeline operators to confirm the pipelines’ physical and operation characteristics and their established MAOP, for pipelines in class 3 and 4 locations, and HCAs.
  • Requires gas transmission pipeline operators to report to DOT any pipeline segments with insufficient MAOP records (18 months). DOT is required to establish requirements for pipeline operators to address these issues.
  • Requires gas transmission pipeline operators to report MAOP exceedances (above relief allowances) to the DOT within 5 days;
  • Requires OT to issue regulations on testing of grandfathered / previously untested gas transmission pipelines (18 months);
  • Prohibits the DOT from issuing regulations or guidelines incorporating any documents that are not available for free on a website (1 year)
  • Requires all pipeline operators to consider seismicity in their evaluation of pipeline threats;
  • Requires DOT to develop and implement protocols for technical assistance to Indian tribes (1 year);

DOT and the Comptroller General are also tasked with conducting several studies and developing several reports over the next 2 years, some of which are a necessary prelude to additional rulemaking. These studies include:

  • A study on excavation damage (2 years)
  • A study on transmission pipeline operator response capabilities in HCAs (1 year)
  • A study on expanding IMP requirements outside of HCAs, and possibly eliminating Class Location requirements (18 months for the study, 2 years for a report to Congress)
  • A report to Congress on using Risk Based Assessment Intervals for IMP (2years)
  • Surveys and reports on cast iron pipe management and replacement (recurring)
  • A report to Congress on liquid pipeline leak detection systems (1 year)
  • A study and report to Congress on the transportation of diluted bitumen (18 months)
  • Allows DOT to study transportation of nonpetroleum hazardous liquids (i.e. chemicals)
  • A report to Congress on existing gathering line regulations (2 years)
  • A report evaluating NTSB’s recommendation on excess flow valves (2 years)
  • A report to Congress on minority, women, and disadvantaged business participation in the pipeline industry (1 year)
  • A study and report to Congress on pipeline construction permitting issues
  • A study and report to Congress on depth of cover for liquid pipeline navigable water crossings (1 year); and another year to make “legislative recommendations” based on the study
  • A report to Congress on PHMSA staffing (1 year)

Disclaimer: This article, as always, is simply your humble newsletter editor’s feeble attempt to summarize a very important issue. Use at your own risk. There is no substitute for the original. For copy of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (HR 2845) contact Jessica Roger.

MAOP Analysis Services

RCP has developed the most comprehensive MAOP analysis model on the market. Using this model, RCP has successfully conducted MAOP analysis for dozens of complex onshore/offshore gathering, transmission, and distribution pipeline systems. The analysis can be performed as a service with the results delivered on a system-by system basis as well as detailed individual record MAOP reports that indicate the regulatory code citation or letter of interpretation that is driving the calculated MAOP value. The MAOP model can also be purchased and configured to run by your personnel using your in-house data sets. For more information, visit or contact Jessica Roger.

PHMSA DIMP Implementation Webinar

January 25, 2012 – 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST

Distribution pipeline operators were required to have prepared and implemented distribution integrity management plans (DIMP) by August 2, 2011. Federal and state regulators have begun inspecting those plans and their implementation. This webinar will be the first opportunity for the regulators to share their findings broadly with the regulated community. The webinar will also include discussion of analyses of the initial submissions of data concerning mechanical fitting failures in distribution pipelines.

Preliminary Webinar Agenda

  • Welcome, Introductions, and Overview
  • Initial DIMP Inspection Findings
  • Results of Initial Analyses of Mechanical Fitting Failure Reports
  • Question & Answer Session
  • Session Concludes

Registration: Members of the public may attend this free webinar. To help ensure that adequate space is provided, all attendees are required to register for the webinar at

The Webinar will use the audio feature of LiveMeeting and not a standard phone line for the voice portion of the Webinar. Upon registration, LiveMeeting information will be distributed. Due to the limited capacity, it is encouraged and requested that parties at the same location share a LiveMeeting link.

If you are interested in attending this webinar and live in the Houston metro area, you can participate at RCP’s corporate headquarters located at 801 Louisiana Street, Suite 200, Houston, Texas. Please notify Donna Williams if you plan to attend at this location.

Additional information can be found on the Federal Register website.

RCP’s Web-Based Compliance Management Systems

CP’s Compliance Management System (CMS) is an invaluable tool for managing all aspects of regulatory workflow. Some examples of how our clients are using the CMS include:

  • O&M Scheduling and Data Acquisition;
  • Cathodic Protection Inspection and Data Management;
  • One-Call Screening and Ticket Management;
  • Repair / Replacement Programs;
  • Operator Qualification Administration and Workflow Integration;
  • Leak Life Cycle Management;
  • Environmental, Health and Safety Compliance;
  • Audit Action Item Tracking; and
  • Customer Data Management.

DIMP Integration

For gas distribution operators looking for a powerful tool to implement DIMP, the RCP CMS integrates O&M data captured from field personnel along with inherent system attributes to provide real-time risk analysis, performance reporting, as well as track additional and accelerated actions taken to mitigate risks.

Key Features

  • GIS integrated workflow management
  • Custom tailored e-mail notifications and reporting
  • Runs on any web-enabled device, no software to download
  • Powerful reporting and custom query functionality
  • Multiple security and user privilege settings
  • Document storage and control (ex. procedures, maps, images, and completion documentation)
  • Automatic recurrence setting for routine tasks (example: leak surveys, CP surveys, etc.)
  • Create work orders for unscheduled / unplanned activities (ex. release reporting)

To request a demonstration or to request more information, please contact Jessica Roger.

Pennsylvania New Pipeline Safety Law

Docket No. M-2011-2271982 / HB 344

On December 22, 2011, Gov. Tom Corbett signed a bill giving Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission regulatory oversight of the commonwealth’s natural gas pipelines. (See related story in the December Edition of the DOT Pipeline Compliance News.) The new law (Gas & Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Act) which takes effect in 60 days, gives the PUC authorization to conduct safety inspections and investigations of pipelines in coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration. It also gives the PUC the power to regulate pipelines without having to deem them a public utility, said Tioga County Republican Rep. Matt Baker, the bill’s author.

Federal funding and other funds generated through gas industry assessments will cover the hiring of inspectors, Baker said. The PUC is expected to hire at least 12 additional pipeline safety inspection engineers.

For a copy of Pennsylvania’s House Bill 344, Gas & Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act, contact Jessica Roger.

TAC, Title 16, Chapter 18 Underground Pipeline Damage Prevention TRRC Stakeholder Regulatory Workshop Report

In December 2011, the Texas Railroad Commission (TRRC) held workshops in Austin, Texas to open discussions within the various stakeholder audiences regarding clarifications as well as edits to the current regulations. Below is a brief synopsis of some of the issues discussed at TRRC’s Damage Prevention Workshop on December 6th. If you feel the need to comment on specific issues, direct your inquiries to David Ferguson at the Texas Railroad Commission.

Sec. 18.1:

  • Excavation Depth – Considering zero depth when utilizing mechanized equipment (except less than 16″ agricultural tillage). General comments were there is confusion when having different depths, which further leads to damages in places such as the service meters. There was a general consensus there should be zero depth, regardless.
  • Ticket Size – Discussed limiting the ticket size to one mile maximum per ticket (refresh only yet to be excavated).
  • Life of the Locate Ticket – General comments on this issue were regarding a 14-calendar day life of the ticket (refresh if not visible).
  • Exemptions – Discussed better defining field boundaries and public access as well as inclusion of interstate pipelines.

Sec. 18.2:

  • Tolerance Zone – Reviewed definition and discussed 18″ vs. 24″ area. Suggested using method outlined in CGA Best Practices.
  • White Lining – Considering allowing other methods (i.e., electronic white lining) as long as they are agreed to by all parties and documented.
  • Underground Pipeline – Clarification may be necessary stating this applies to small diameter lines / distribution lines.

Also discussed the need to add or change definitions for: Emergency, Life of Locate Ticket and Extraordinary Circumstances.

Sec. 18.3:

  • Refresh Ticket – Discussed the need to specify that a refresh ticket is required if locate marks are not visible.
  • Ticket Ownership – Discussed issues surrounding ticket ownership (subcontractors working under a general contractor’s locate ticket) and discussed the Commission’s consideration of allowing up to three names listed in existing ticket fields or comments.

Sec. 18.4: 2nd Notice by Excavators – Must call in 2nd notice if marks can’t be found (as in CGA BP 5-21). The excavator notifies the operator directly or through the One-Call Center if an underground pipeline is not found where one has been marked or if an unmarked underground facility is found, sometimes may be abandoned line not in use.

Sec. 18.5:

  • Response Time – Commission is considering adding a positive response time to emergency locate requests. There was discussion regarding the fact that Operators must communicate to Excavator when/how they will respond to the ticket within four hours, which is not a lot of time, considering the One-Call Center 2-hour notification procedures.
  • Positive Response – The Commission is considering using the work start date for positive response due date. There was considerable discussion around the fact that positive response due dates create problems for operators because they do not include weekends and holiday exemptions.
  • Investigate & Collect Damage Data – The Commission is considering requiring operators to investigate, collect and submit data regarding damages/incidents on all damages with regards to TDRF reporting. The discussion outlined the need for collection of information necessary to complete all pages of TDRF by the due date to the TRRC. There was considerable discussion from operators stating it would be a burden to collect this information on all damages/incidents, as not all incidents require or have investigations conducted.

Sec. 18.6: Combine Markings and Ticket Life – Currently, markings expire after 14 working days. The discussion is regarding the life to start at the time the notices are given to the One-Call Center.

Sec. 18.7: Marking Guidelines – Suggested using guidelines similar to those used by operators, as in CGA BP 7.0, Appendix B.

Sec. 18.8:

  • Updating Maps – Discussion regarding requirement for operators to update maps regularly and provide the updated information to the notification centers. Basically considering adding requirement as stated in the Texas Utilities Code (251.107) which requires quarterly updates. The Commission is currently considering this to occur at the time the facility goes active.
  • Requirements of 49 CFR 192 and 195 – Currently considering adding wording to the Code that requires operators (and contract locators) to meet the requirements as stated in 49 CFR 192 and 195. There was some confusion as to why this would be added to the Code, as it is already included in the federal regs.

Sec. 18.9: Protocols – Discussion regarding the combining of portions of Sec. 18.3 and 18.9 pertaining to protocols. Also discussed adding wording which requires protocols to be adhered to as agreed to and documented.

Sec. 18.10: Define Excavation Activities w/in Tolerance Zone – Commission feels there is a need to better define activities such as: “non-earth materials” (i.e., inclusion of sidewalk as part of the depth); “tolerance zone area” (include vertical); “movement of earth on the ground or in the ground” (Rule currently does not define “surface”); and “pavement” (not only asphalt, but concrete, etc.)

Sec. 18.11:

  • Calling 911 – Commission discussed the need for more clarification as to when an excavator should and should not 911. Also discussed was the consideration of parameters for (either) any damage release or certain hazardous conditions (i.e., migration due to soil, pavement, structures, depth, location, etc.).
  • TDRF Due Date – Discussed extending the damage reporting due date to 15 days for all. They are also considering 21 or 30 days.
  • Damage Notice to Operators – Discussed allowing excavators to contact the operators directly (in addition) to contacting the One-Call Center.

Sec. 18.12: Penalty Guidelines – Commission is considering increasing penalty amounts for frequent repeats. They are also considering allowing training in lieu of penalties.

Texas Damage Prevention Summit San Marcos, TX – February 6 -8, 2012

The Texas Damage Prevention Summit will be held on February 6-8, 2012 in San Marcos, Texas at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center. This Summit is for all those interested in keeping Texas a safer place to live and work. Last year’s attendees included stakeholders ranging from gas and pipeline representatives, professional excavators and locators, electric company personnel, communications representatives, railroad commission representatives to municipalities.

Deadline for early attendee registration is January 6, 2012. More information can be found on the 2012 Damage Prevention Summit website, including a conference agenda, registration and hotel information.

Damage Prevention Plans

RCP can develop or update your Damage Prevention plan. For more information about how RCP can assist you with your Damage Prevention Plan, click here.

DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshop – February 28, 29 & March 01, 2012

Join us February 28, 29 & March 01 in Houston at our new office and dedicated training facility for an informative, lively, and interactive workshop on DOT Pipeline Compliance and OPA Planning for DOT Pipelines. This workshop has been attended by hundreds of pipeline personnel, with excellent feedback. The workshop provides an overview of the DOT pipeline regulations, and is appropriate for people who are new to pipeline regulations, who could use a refresher, or anyone who needs to know the latest information in these areas.


Day 1 (February 28): Gas Pipeline Regulations (49CFR192)
The workshop will include an introduction to DOT/OPS pipeline compliance; State and Federal program variations; roles and responsibilities; design, construction, operations, maintenance, and emergency response requirements; how to monitor rulemaking activity and stay current with your compliance program; operator qualification, public awareness; with a specific emphasis on the gas integrity management regulations. Each attendee will receive general training materials which include the applicable DOT 49 CFR 192 regulations for gas pipelines (cd-rom), inspection checklists, and speaker’s PowerPoint presentation handouts.

Day 2 (February 29): Special Topics
Back by popular demand! RCP is conducting a special workshop day to discuss topics that many of our clients have expressed an interest in. The workshop topics will include a detailed review of the recently enacted Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (pipeline reauthorization bill).

Day 3 (March 01): Liquid Pipeline Regulations (49CFR195)
The workshop will include an introduction to DOT/OPS pipeline compliance; State and Federal program variations, roles and responsibilities; design, construction, operations, maintenance, and emergency response requirements; spill response planning requirements; how to monitor rulemaking activity and stay current with your compliance program; operator qualification and public awareness. Each attendee will receive general training materials which include the applicable DOT 49 CFR 195 regulations for hazardous liquid pipelines (cd-rom), inspection checklists, and speaker’s PowerPoint presentation handouts.

To register, or for additional information, click here.

Pipeline Operations Manager Houston, Texas

RCP has been approached by one of our clients about posting a critical need position on our newsletter. This is a great opportunity for someone looking to play a key role in a relatively young but growth-oriented company. Those with an interest should submit your resume to with Operations Manager listed in the subject line.

This position is located in Houston, Texas and will coordinate and manage all operational activities associated with both hazardous liquid and natural gas pipelines. This includes oversight of field operations and maintenance personnel and contractors, as well as coordination with upstream production operations and regulatory compliance personnel. Strong desire for someone with extensive offshore experience.

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