In This Issue

PHMSA Plastic Pipe Final Rule

[Docket No. PHMSA-2014-0098: Amdt. No. 192-124]

PHMSA is amending the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations that govern the use of plastic piping systems in the transportation of natural and other gas. These amendments are necessary to enhance pipeline safety, adopt innovative technologies and best practices, and respond to petitions from stakeholders. The changes include increasing the design factor of polyethylene pipe; increasing the maximum pressure and diameter for Polyamide-11 pipe and components; allowing the use of Polyamide-12 pipe and components; new standards for risers; more stringent standards for plastic fittings and joints; stronger mechanical fitting requirements; the incorporation by reference of certain new or updated consensus standards for pipe, fittings, and other components; the qualification of procedures and personnel for joining plastic pipe; the installation of plastic pipe; and a number of general provisions.

The Final Rule will only apply to new, repaired, and replaced pipelines. Regulatory updates include an increased design factor for polyethylene pipe; updated standards governing the use, maximum pressure limits, and diameters for pipelines made of polyamide 11 and 12 thermoplastics; new and expanded standards for the installation of plastic pipe to help mitigate contact with other underground utilities and structures; and several other installation and operational related provisions for plastic pipe and plastic pipe components.

As a result of the Final Rule’s updated design factor, the cost of materials to produce new pipe is estimated to be reduced by 10 percent, resulting in an annual material cost savings of approximately $32 million for transmission, gathering, and distribution operators.

This final rule is effective 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. For a copy of the Plastic Pipe Final Rule, contact Jessica Foley.