DOT Pipeline Compliance News

May 2005 Issue

In This Issue

OSHA Final Rule on Pipeline Whistleblowers

OSHA has finalized its regulations governing the employee protection (“whistleblower”) provisions of Section 6 of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 (“Pipeline Safety Act”), enacted into law December 17, 2002. This rule establishes procedures and time frames for the handling of discrimination complaints under the Pipeline Safety Act, including procedures and time frames for employee complaints to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), investigations by OSHA, appeals of OSHA determinations to an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) for a hearing de novo, hearings by ALJs, review of ALJ decisions by the Administrative Review Board (acting on behalf of the Secretary) and judicial review of the Secretary’s final decision.

This final rule is effective on April 8, 2005.

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.

Public Meeting To Discuss Technical Issues Associated With the NPDES Stormwater Permit Coverage for Small Oil and Gas Construction Activities – May 10, 2005

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public meeting to discuss specific issues associated with the development of regulations for storm water discharges from oil and gas construction activities. The intent of the public meeting is to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to participate in an open discussion of the technical issues associated with controlling storm water discharges from oil and gas construction activities. The meeting is designed to facilitate an exchange of information between interested parties and EPA on critical technical and procedural issues relating to a proposed rulemaking. The Agency expects to consider the information provided in its technical analysis for developing a framework for regulating storm water discharges from oil and gas construction sites. To structure the meeting, EPA will give several presentations, which will then be followed by a question and comment period from the participants.

The public meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 10, 2005. The meeting will begin promptly at 10 a.m. and end at approximately 4 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the Adolphus Hotel located at 1321 Commerce Street in downtown Dallas, Texas. The hotel is located 18 miles from the Dallas Fort Worth airport and 8 miles from Love Field airport. If you need overnight accommodations, please contact the hotel directly. The Adolphus hotel phone number is 214-651-3631.

For more information, contact Ruby Cooper of the Office of Wastewater Management (4203M), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Room 7329F, EPA East, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-0751; fax number: (202) 564-6431: e-mail address: For any updates on the issues that EPA will discuss at the meeting, refer to EPA’s storm water Web site at

Need help with the new Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) deadline?

RCP can help determine whether these new rules are applicable to you as well as develop, update & submit permits for your construction projects. Click Here to request additional information.

Meeting on Pipeline Repairs and Permitting – May 6, 2005

On May 6, 2005, OPS will hold a meeting to discuss pipeline repairs and permitting at the Hyatt Regency Reston Hotel, 1800 Presidents Street, Reston, VA 20190, (703) 925–8225. This meeting provides the pipeline industry an opportunity to share its experience with making pipeline repairs and obtaining permits.

During the meeting, OPS would like participants to discuss the repair process, repair criteria, and the agency permitting process. During the discussion on the repair process, and in exploring ways to streamline the permit process, OPS would like participants to share the type of experience they have had with the repair process, e.g., pipeline assessment, excavations, and nature of repairs. For the repair criteria, OPS would like participants to describe their experience with factors that allow them to meet or prevent them from meeting the repair criteria defined in the gas or hazardous liquid IMP regulations.

OPS would also like participants to share their experience with the Federal permitting process, such as the type of permits requested, and the average time it takes to obtain permits. The agenda for this meeting will include a discussion on:

  • Repair Process
  • Repair Criteria
  • Agency Permitting Process

OPS plans to establish a docket and place the record of the meeting in the docket ( Interested persons may also submit their views to the docket following the meeting. For further information contact: Mike Khayata, OPS, (404) 832–1155 or Rita Freeman-Kelly, OPS (202) 366–5443.

RCP Services Spotlight – Underwater Inspection Procedures and Interval Risk Modeling

Underwater Inspection Procedures – On August 10, 2004, the DOT published final amendments to 49 CFR 195.413 and 49 CFR 192.612 for Periodic Underwater Inspections of regulated pipeline facilities located in water depths of 15’ or less in the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets. Effective August 10, 2005, operators of certain hazardous liquid and gas pipelines will be required to have procedures in place to identify, inspect, and address those pipelines that are exposed or pose a hazard to navigation. RCP has experience developing comprehensive pipeline safety procedures including procedures to meet the new underwater inspection requirements. RCP can develop comprehensive and customized procedures that address these requirements, including:

  • General application criteria
  • Underwater inspection technologies most appropriate for your pipelines
  • Measures to be taken in the event pipelines are exposed or pose a threat to navigation
  • Risk-based analysis to determine appropriate inspection intervals

Inspection Interval Risk Modeling – The recently finalized regulations for Periodic Underwater Inspections are performance-based and require certain pipeline operators to develop procedures to identify and take appropriate action for lines that pose a hazard to navigation or are otherwise exposed. The Office of Pipeline Safety suggests the use of risk analysis when developing the rationale for inspection intervals. RCP’s development of a proven integrity management risk model has enabled us to translate that success into development of a similar approach to identify underwater inspection intervals.

If you would like information regarding RCP’s Underwater Inspection Procedures or Interval Risk Modeling e-mail Jessica Roger or call (713) 655-8080.

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

811 One Call Number

The Federal Communications Commission has designated 811 as the national abbreviated dialing code to be used by state One Call notification systems for providing advanced notice of excavation activities to underground facility operators in compliance with the Pipeline Safety Act. The 811 abbreviated dialing code shall be deployed ubiquitously by carriers throughout the United States for use by all telecommunications carriers, including wireline, wireless, and payphone service providers that provide access to state One Call Centers. The FCC requires the use of 811 as the national abbreviated dialing code for providing advanced notice of excavation activities to underground facility operators within two years after publication of this Order in the Federal Register (April 13, 2005).

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 seeks volunteers for pipeline Controller Certification Pilot Program (CCERT)

OPS is seeking hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipeline operators to participate in a pilot program aimed at determining whether a certification process for controllers is warranted. These actions are in response to requirements within Section 13(b) of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. OPS will be focused on the content of the pipeline operator’s administrative, training and evaluation techniques that make up the controller qualification process. Operators interested in participating are requested to contact OPS by May 16, 2005. The pilot program will be conducted from the second quarter of 2005 through the first quarter of 2006. OPS will summarize the pilot results, merge other project findings into the project report, and submit the report to Congress by December 17, 2006.

The stated objectives of this project are to:

  • Define and document current practices and processes that pipeline operators use to determine that controllers have adequate knowledge, skills and abilities to perform their assigned tasks.
  • Evaluate and determine what practices and processes best serve to substantiate that individual pipeline controllers have adequate knowledge, skills and abilities to perform their assigned tasks.
  • Determine what evaluation techniques, criteria, and validation frequency can most effectively demonstrate proficiency.
  • Define what administrative procedures, records, and certification criteria can best serve to demonstrate the aforementioned objectives.
  • Determine how specific or uniform such practices, process content, evaluation parameters, and administrative procedures are across the various types of pipeline operators.
  • Determine the adequacy of the existing operator personnel qualification requirements for controllers, in light of the significant impact they can have on pipeline safety and integrity.
  • Develop conclusions and establish recommendations to be reported to Congress at the end of the project

Integrity Management Plan Up-to-Date?

RCP has the tools and expertise to develop comprehensive Integrity Management Plans for both liquid and gas pipelines. Click Here if you would like information on RCP’s Integrity Management Services and receive a copy of our FREE Integrity Management CD.

OPS Announces Liquid IMP Meeting, May 17-18

The Office of Pipeline Safety will sponsor a 1-1/2 day workshop on May 17th & 18th in Houston to discuss lessons learned from the initial Integrity Management inspections of hazardous liquid pipeline operators, and to communicate expectations for further operator Integrity Management program development. There will also be panel discussions that include industry and regulatory representatives

To register, go to;=30.

Are Your Response Plans Current?

RCP can provide audits and updates to help ensure that your spill and emergency response plans are current and meet federal and state requirements. Click Here.

Proposed Advisory Bulletin on Contractor Drug Testing Data Submittals

The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) intends to issue an Advisory Bulletin to begin collecting annual drug and alcohol testing data for contractor employees performing covered functions in the pipeline industry. The collection of contractor testing data is necessary for the calculation of the minimum annual percent rate for random drug testing, which is based on the reported positive rate for the entire industry. The current rule already requires operators to report testing data for covered employees to OPS, but deferred the reporting of contractor data until a suitable reporting method was developed.

OPS intends to issue an Advisory Bulletin that will end the deferment period noted in the preamble to the final rule. OPS proposes that in lieu of operators submitting contractor data, the operators may opt to use contractors as their agents to report the data. If operators choose this method, OPS encourages them to consider adding language in their contractual agreements to that effect. To facilitate these submissions, OPS would create and assign unique identifiers for contractors to submit annual testing data on the DOT MIS data collection form by mail or by online submission.

OPS encourages comments on this proposed method in addition to suggestions for alternative methods of collecting contractor testing data. Specifically, OPS invites comments on the validity of the method being proposed and ways to avoid duplication and enhance quality. Following the review of timely comments, OPS will issue an Advisory Bulletin notifying operators of the selected method to begin reporting contractor testing data in calendar year 2006. Comments must be received by June 6, 2005 (docket number RSPA-04-19856). For further information contact: Sheila Wright, Program Analyst, PHMSA, OPS at (202) 366-4554, or by e-mail,

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.

DOT Technical Advisory Committees Meeting – June 14-17

We got the following heads-up from Ben Cooper at AOPL:

The next set of pipeline safety technical advisory committee meetings will be June 15-16 at the Ritz Carleton Hotel at Pentagon City in Arlington, VA. The schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday June 14, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will hold an orientation and tour for advisory committee members arranged by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America.
  • Wednesday, June 15, the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (natural gas) will meet from 8:00 am – noon. The Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (oil) will meet from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm that same day.
  • Thursday, June 16 there will be a joint meeting of the TPSSC and the THLPSSC from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.
  • Friday, June 17, PHMSA will hold a public meeting on emergency flow valves for natural gas pipelines.

Need A Security Plan or Audit?

We have the expertise to develop a security plan and perform risk assessments for pipeline and terminal facilities to meet recent DOT Hazmat Transportation & Pipeline regulations. We can also assist you in USCG security plans for dock facilities and vessels. Please contact Jessica Roger for more information.

Advisory Bulletin ADB-05-02 – Strapping Tables for Breakout Tanks

The Office of Pipeline Safety recently distributed this advisory bulletin concerning strapping tables for breakout tanks. Simply put, if the strapping table is wrong, the floating roof may in fact be on its legs when the operator thinks it is still floating, or vice versa. This type of error was a contributing factor to the storage tank explosion and fire in Glenpool, Oklahoma on April 7, 2003.

To: Owners and Operators of All Pipeline Facilities Who Rely on Strapping Tables to Determine Volume Based on Measured Height For Product Level.

Subject: Validation of Strapping Tables to Reduce the Likelihood of Errors That May Lead to Dangerous Conditions in Breakout Tanks.

Purpose: To advise owners and operators of all hazardous liquid pipeline facilities about the need to validate strapping tables.

Advisory: Strapping Tables are commonly used to determine the commodity volume based on product level within breakout tanks. If the strapping table is incorrect, operators may expose themselves and the community to unnecessary risks.

OPS seeks to advise operators that they should review and, if necessary, revise their breakout tank operating procedures to minimize risk. The strapping tables should be validated to reduce the potential for errors that may lead to dangerous conditions, such as static discharge inside a tank after a floating roof has been either intentionally or unintentionally landed. Pipeline operators, therefore, may need to adjust the measurements on their strapping tables to ensure accuracy.

Need to update your Public Awareness Program?

RCP can help develop your updated plan to meet API RP 1162 standards, and provide turnkey implementation, mail-outs, evaluations, and tracking of your program. For more information call or Click Here.

Pipeline Safety Trust Newsletter

The Pipeline Safety Trust, which came about after the pipeline tragedy in Bellingham Washington, has recently published its first quarterly newsletter which can be found at According to the Trust’s executive director, Carl Weimer, the purpose of the newsletter is to “provide a variety of pipeline safety information from a concerned citizen perspective to help increase understanding and communication between citizens, regulators, and industry to help make pipelines even safer.”

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