PHMSA proposes possible onshore pipeline regulation changes

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 19 -- The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is considering possible changes in its regulations covering onshore liquid pipelines, the US Department of Transportation agency said on Oct. 18. It will accept comments through Jan. 18, it said in a Federal Register advance notice of probable rulemaking.

Possible changes include extending regulations to currently exempt pipelines, identifying other areas along a pipeline for extra protection or including them as additional high-consequence areas (HCAs) for integrity management protection, and establishing standards for minimum leak detection requirements for all pipelines, according to the notice.

PHMSA also is considering whether to require installation of emergency flow-restricting devices in certain areas, whether revised valve spacing requirements are needed on new construction or existing pipelines, and whether repair timeframes should be specified for pipeline segments outside HCAs that are assessed as part of integrity management programs, it said.

The agency also is looking at possibly establishing standards and procedures to improve methods for preventing, detecting, assessing, and remediating stress corrosion cracking in hazardous liquids pipelines, PHMSA said. “Comments should address the public safety and the environmental aspects of new requirements, as well as the cost implications and regulatory burden,” it indicated.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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