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PHMSA Advisory Bulletin (ADB-2014-03): 60 Day Construction Notification

[Docket No. PHMSA-2014-0017]

The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an Advisory Bulletin to all owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to provide further clarification regarding the notification(s) required prior to certain construction-related events. The gas and liquid regulations in 49 CFR 191.22(c)(1) and 195.64(c)(1) require each operator to notify PHMSA 60 days in advance of certain construction-related events through the National Registry of Pipeline and LNG Operators, including:

  • Construction of 10 or more miles of a new pipeline: (1) a pipeline that did not previously exist and (2) for the replacement of 10 or more contiguous miles of line pipe in an existing pipeline; or
  • Construction of a new or any planned rehabilitation, replacement, modification, upgrade, uprate, or update of a facility, other than a section of line pipe, that costs $10 million or more.

PHMSA did not specifically define the term “construction” in the codes. This may be somewhat challenging for pipeline operators attempting to determine when 60 days before a construction related event occurs for reporting purposes. Accordingly, PHMSA strongly encourages operators to provide the required notification(s) not later than 60 days prior to whichever of the following construction-related activities occurs first:

  • Material purchasing and manufacturing;
  • Right-of-way acquisition;
  • Construction equipment move-in activities;
  • Onsite or offsite fabrications; or
  • Right-of-way clearing, grading, and ditching.

That is, pipeline operators should notify PHMSA 60 days prior to whichever of these activities would occur first on the operator’s specific project.

While the notification prior to the first occurring construction-related activity is strongly encouraged and will benefit both PHMSA and the operator, these activities may not necessarily represent the commencement of construction for purposes of triggering the minimum 60-day notice period in the regulations subject to enforcement by PHMSA. [See related Advisory Bulletins (ADB–2012–01 and ADB–2012–0) on this same topic.]

For a copy of ADB-2014-03, contact Jessica Foley.