In This Issue

TRRC Chapter 8 Amended Pipeline Safety Regulations

Effective January 3, 2020, the Railroad Commission of Texas (TRRC) adopted amendments to 16 TAC 8 – Pipeline Safety Regulation Subchapters A, B, C, and D.

The amendments to Subchapter A require the retention of documents filed with the DOT to be made available to the TRRC upon request rather than concurrent filing. Additionally, some definitions have been clarified, including a newly written definition of what constitutes a private school.

The amendments to Subchapter B added a new section requiring operators of otherwise unregulated natural gas pipelines (gathering lines) and rural hazardous liquids and carbon dioxide gathering lines to (1) take appropriate action to correct hazardous conditions that create risk to public safety; (2) submit appropriate reports; investigate accidents, incidents, public safety threats, and complaints; (3) take appropriate correction action and preventative measures to avert reoccurrence. Additionally, changes have been made to the notification requirements (60 days instead of 30 days) for the construction of pipelines and facilities as well as the amendments to the Typical Penalties table.

The amendments to Subchapter C – Gas Pipelines include changing the leak survey intervals for the prescriptive option to once each calendar year at intervals not exceeding 15 months within a business district and changes to the incident reporting for gas distribution systems. In addition, dates that are no longer applicable have been removed from §8.209 Distribution Facilities Replacements, along with changes that requires operators to annually remove or replace at least eight percent of underground distribution gas pipeline facilities posing the greatest risk in the system and identified for replacement under the program. Eight percent is an increase from the current requirement of five percent. Other changes are also noted to reflect the reporting and record retention changes noted in Subchapters A and B.

The amendments to Subchapter D – Hazardous Liquids and Carbon Dioxide Pipelines reflect the reporting and record retention changes noted in Subchapters A and B.

The Railroad Commission of Texas (TRRC) also adopted changes to 16 TAC 8 Section 70 – Pipeline Permits Required which states that operators of a pipeline or gathering system, other than an operator excluded under §8.1(b)(4), must obtain pipeline permits and renew them annually. Production or flow lines subject to §8.1(a)(1)(B) and (a)(1)(D) must also comply with the permitting requirements.

For a copy of TRRC’s amendments to 16 TAC 8, contact Jessica Foley.