September 2021 Issue
In This Issue
September Featured Service
TestApp is a complete hardware and software solution for gas distribution operators to simplify how pressure tests are conducted for pipelines operating less than 100 psig.
- TestApp eliminates any concerns whether a test actually met an operator’s test acceptance criteria.
- TestApp eliminates the need for hand written records, providing a digital record of:
- what was tested,
- who performed the test,
- when it was conducted,
- the data that was captured during the test, and
- whether the test met the operator’s test acceptance criteria.
- TestApp can be customized to receive lists of lines for selection by the user.
- Operators can authorize both employees and external contractors to use its license.
- TestApp works offline even if cell or Wi-Fi service is not available at the jobsite.
How does it work?
- TestApp allows authorized users to download testing metadata to any iOS or Android device.
- TestApp connects an authorized user’s mobile device via Bluetooth or USB to a compatible pressure gauge that can log time stamped pressure and temperature readings.
- TestApp syncs with the compatible gauge to gather collected test data and analyze whether the test successfully met the operator’s test acceptance criteria.
- TestApp exports all of the test data to the operator’s data site as soon as the test is completed.
Iowa Updated Permit Requirements
On September 9, 2021, the Iowa Department of Commerce, Utilities Division, issued an updated Chapter 13 under Title 199. Except for the new requirement to submit copies of all PHMSA reports to the Utilities Board, most of the update is a re-ordering of Chapter 13 and adding details to existing requirements for requesting, amending and renewal of pipeline permits. Many of the changes are concerned with the Informational Meeting requirements. The changes primarily are additional details to existing requirements. For example, the additions include timelines for setting the date of the Informational Meeting, obtaining approval to hold the Informational Meeting, and communicating the meeting date to potentially impacted persons along the pipeline right of way. An example of a new requirement is to submit a copy of all presentation material to the Utility Board within 14 days of the Meeting.
Some parts of the regulation now have more detail, such as a public notice for the Informational Meeting, which includes adding a requirement to notify the board of supervisors for every county that will be impacted by the pipeline. The permit application content requirements have been re-organized with some additional details that have typically been included in an application but were previously not required. For example, one change will be to require information about authorizations from other authorities (highway and railroad crossing) for inclusion in the permit request, instead of just recommending the information for inclusion.
The Reporting Rule was updated to include reporting to the Iowa Utility Board when a PHMSA report is required. This only applies to the portions of the pipeline that is located within Iowa.
Ohio PUCO Chapter 16 Gas Pipeline Safety Updated Regulation
The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) published an updated Gas Pipeline Safety regulation on August 17, 2021. The regulation was updated to include the results of the five-year review. The next schedule review is due July 26, 2026. One new requirement was included in this update. Starting August 5, 2023, each operator will have to prepare a plan for tracking inactive service lines until the service line is abandoned as outlined in 49 CFR 192.727. Inactive service lines are defined as no billing activity for 36 months. Inactive service lines are to be considered and treated as active lines until they are abandoned. If a leak is discovered on an inactive service line, the operator must begin the process of abandonment as soon as practicable but must be completed within 12 months. When a leak investigation identifies an inactive service line, the plan must be updated within 10 days with the information about the inactive service line.
The update also includes some changes to existing reporting requirements. The 24-Hour Contact report must now include the total mileage of gas gathering pipelines by county. The Start of Construction report has been deleted.
The last update changes the dollar amounts for settlement agreements. The $1,000 trigger was updated to $10,000.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our services with you.
W. R. (Bill) Byrd, PE