DOT Pipeline Compliance News

September 2002 Issue

In This Issue

Reports of Abandoned Underwater Pipelines

Underwater pipelines are being abandoned at an increasing rate as older facilities reach the end of their useful life. This trend is expected to continue. RSPA’s/OPS’s regulations for abandonment reporting can be found at Title 49 cfr 192.727 and 195.402. RSPA requests public participation in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval process regarding the renewal of an existing RSPA/Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) collection of information for Pipeline Safety Reports of Abandoned Underwater Pipelines. RSPA/OPS published a notice requesting public comment on May 20, 2002 (67 FR 35618). No comments were received. RSPA/OPS is offering the public another opportunity to comment on this information collection. It is also requesting OMB approval for the renewal of this information collection.
Comments are invited on: (a) The need for the proposed collection of information for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques. Comments on this notice must be received within 30 days of August 12, 2002, to be assured of consideration [Docket Number: RSPA-4957]. Interested persons are invited to send comments directly to OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, 726 Jackson Place, Washington, DC 2003 ATTN: Desk Officer for the Department of Transportation.

  • Respondents: Gas and hazardous liquid pipeline operators.
  • Estimated Number of Respondents: 400.
  • Estimated Number of Responses Per Respondent: 1.
  • Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 2,400 hours.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marvin Fell, (202) 366-6205, to ask questions about this notice; or write by e-mail to

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

OSHA Excavations Standard – Regulatory Flexibility Act Review

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is conducting a review of the Excavations Standard pursuant to Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and Section 5 of Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and Review. The purpose of this review is to determine, while protecting worker safety, whether this standard should be maintained without change, rescinded, or modified in order to minimize any significant impact of the rule on a substantial number of small entities and whether the rule should be changed to reduce regulatory burden or improve its effectiveness.

The Excavations Standard is currently found in 29 CFR, subpart P, 1926.650-1926.652 and Appendices A-F, and covers the construction industry. The purpose of the Standard is to protect employees from deaths and injuries resulting from excavation work, including deaths and injuries resulting from cave-ins. The Standard regulates the use of support systems, sloping and benching systems, and other systems of protection as means of protection against excavation cave-ins. In addition, the Standard regulates the means of access to and egress from excavations, along with employee exposure to vehicular traffic, falling loads, hazardous atmospheres, water accumulation, and unstable structures in and adjacent to excavations. The Standard applies to all types of excavations, including trenches, made in the earth’s surface.

An important step in the review process involves the gathering and analysis of information from affected persons about their experience with the rule and any material changes in circumstances since issuance of the rule. This document requests written comments on the continuing need for the rule, its adequacy or inadequacy, its small business impacts, and other relevant issues.

OSHA statistics show that during the period 1990-2000, an average of approximately 70 fatalities per year occurred as a result of excavation and trenching accidents. While the annual number of fatalities has remained fairly constant over this 1990-2000 period, the fatality rate as a percentage of the real value of construction activity has declined. One factor contributing to this decline has been an increased use of new “trenchless” technologies, such as directional drilling, pipejacking, microtunnelling, auger boring, impact ramming, pipe bursting, folded pipes, and spray on linings. These technologies can result in fewer accidents by eliminating or reducing the amount of time that workers are physically exposed to the hazards of trenching. For example, some of these technologies use remote-controlled equipment to dig and lay cables, to install pipe, or to replace existing pipes.

Written comments to OSHA are welcomed, and must be sent or postmarked by November 19, 2002. You may submit comments electronically through OSHA’s Homepage at Please note that you may not attach materials such as studies or journal articles to your electronic comments. If you wish to include such materials, you must submit three copies of the material to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. S204A, Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350. When submitting such materials to the OSHA Docket Office, you must clearly identify your electronic comments by name, date, subject, and docket number so that we can attach them to your electronic comments. If your written comments are 10 pages or fewer, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648. You do not have to send OSHA a hard copy of your faxed comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joanna Dizikes Friedrich, Directorate of Policy, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N3641, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210, Telephone (202) 693-2400, Fax (202) 693-1641.

Interested in Web-Based Compliance Management Systems?

RCP has the latest technology to help manage all of your permits, inspections, procedures, and data requirements and neatly organize them into one overall compliance assurance system. This includes regulatory tasking, data management, and exception reporting. Because it is web-based, there are no IT issues to struggle through to get started. An institutional memory is created of the compliance history and ongoing compliance requirements, despite operator or personnel turnover.  Click Here

Texas GLO Spill Planning Revisions

The Texas General Land Office announces that proposed regulation changes have been published in the Texas Register August 23, 2002 edition. The effected regulations include 31 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 19 concerning facility certification, facility response plan requirements and definitions pertaining to coastal facilities. The proposed changes are expected to significantly lessen facility regulatory requirements by eliminating the current plan submission scheme and substantially reducing the cost of acquiring a discharge prevention and response certificate. Further, the proposed new regulations clarify plan requirements, redefine the term “waterfront”, and establish an interactive web-based facility information account system for supplying facility emergency response information to the Land Office via the internet.

The proposed rules may be viewed at Effective as of the date of the publication, there is established a 30-day comment period for the regulated community and the public to submit opinion. Questions regarding the proposed regulations may be forwarded in writing to

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.

Revised SPCC Requirements and RCP SPCC Workshops

On July 17th, the EPA published final rule revisions for all SPCC and Facility Response Plans. The final rule:

  • Expands the scope of the rule to conform with the expanded jurisdiction in the amended Clean Water Act
  • Includes new subparts for various classes of oil
  • Revises applicability of the regulation
  • Amends several requirements for completing SPCC Plans
  • Clarifies storage threshold quantity factors
  • Revises several definitions
  • Revises the discharge reporting thresholds and reporting requirements
  • Revises the review period frequency for SPCC Plans
  • Adds new integrity testing and new equipment design requirements
  • Revises employee training requirements.

RCP has prepared a document that highlights the changes from the previous version of the rule. There are 8 definitions from the original rule that were unchanged. Other than that, EVERY PARAGRAPH was changed in some way.. If you would like to recieve a copy of the document, please request one via email at

Also, RCP is in process of scheduling several SPCC Workshops throughout the 4th Quarter 2002 in various cities throughout the country. Click Here to view a list of locations and find out how to register.

OPS issues Comprehensive Integrity Management Inspection Protocals on August 30, 2002.

These long awaited protocals cover more than 170 pages and include extensive lists of specific points and questions inspectors will be checking when auditing your Pipeline Integrity Management Plan. Details are the name of the game for these protocols. For example – Have the risk analysis results and information been documented and incorporated appropriately in other integrity management program elements? Or – Verify that the operator’s water transport analysis adequately and conservatively evaluates the effects of stream conditions, flow characteristics and water properties on water transport consequences. RCP is well qualified and prepared to give your plan a pre-autit prior to OPS’s inspectors arrival at your site. Give us a call and we can help you be ready this major regulatory event.

Small Liquid Pipeline Integrity Management Deadlines

Just a reminder for those Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Operators with less than 500 miles of pipelines. The initial compliance deadline for identifying segments that could effect HCA’s is only about 10 weeks away (November 18, 2002). The deadline to have the final written plan in place is February 18, 2003. OPS has given a lot of scrutiny to the “segment identification process” in the large liquid pipeline audits. If you have not started on this work or even thought about it, the time to start is yesterday. You will need to combine your pipline location information and operating parameters with appropriate spill/leak analytical tools and experience to determine which, if any, HCA’s in the vicinity of your pipelines could be effected by a leak/spill from your pipeline. Of course, we’d be glad to do that for you if needed….

Air Permit Needs?

Are you planning to expand or acquire? Air permit applications can be complex and consuming. RCP has the expertise to navigate through the application process, develop compliance assurance systems, and submit reports. Click Here

Gas HCA Determinations / Class Location Surveys

On August 6, 2002, RSPA published the final rule for Gas Pipeline High Consequence Areas. The upcoming Gas Pipeline Integrity Management rule will use this definition of high consequence areas to determine what pipelines are required to prepare integrity management plans. This raises a few questions for Gas Pipeline Operators. Is your Class Location Survey up-to-date? Does it reflect the most recent construction and development along your pipeline routes? Can you identify those “Identified Sites” described in new paragraph 761 of Part 192? If your answer to all three questions is not catagorically “Yes”, you have work to do. Note that, unlike the liquid pipeline rule, OPS will not be publishing maps of HCAs for gas pipelines. The operator is responsible for conducting whatever surveys are required. Of course, we can help…. We can perform the Class Location Survey, determine if your pipeline meets the regulatory criteria for operating in its specific Class Location and identify those “Identified Areas” affected by your pipeline’s location.

New Spill Planning Guidance in the Gulf of Mexico

Effective October 1, 2002, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) is revising their guidance (aka Notice to Lessees, or NTL) concerning Oil Spill Response Plans (OSRPs) for the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The new NTL is number 2002-G09. This NTL provides clarification, guidance, and information to operators of facilities and leases located seaward of the coastline regarding who is required to submit a regional OSRP and how to prepare and submit a regional OSRP in the Gulf of Mexico OCS Region (GOMR). Note that this guidance also applies to pipeline right-of-way holders in the GOM. This NTL supersedes NTL No. 98-30, effective March 1, 1999, and NTL No. 98-30, Addendum No. 1, effective April 25, 2001. It provides for subregional Oil Spill Response Plans (OSRP’s) in the Eastern Planning Area of the Gulf of Mexico, allows you to submit OSRP’s in digital format on CD-ROM, adds guidance on calculating worst case scenario volumes, provides for a discussion of dispersant effectiveness over time, and makes a few minor technical amendments.

The new NTL can be downloaded from RCP’s website here.

And, if we didn’t already write your MMS OSRP, we’d be glad to do it now…..

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