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U. S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
DOT (PHMSA) Pipeline Right-of-Way Maintenance Why Now? Harold Winnie Community Assistance & Technical Services (CATS) Manager Central Region Restoring Trust In Pipeline Safety New Orleans, LA November 2, 2006
Regulations § Continuing Surveillance. § Transmission lines: Patrolling. § Inspection of rights-of-way and crossings under navigable waters § Subpart O- Pipeline Integrity Management § Pipeline integrity management in high consequence areas.
§ Continuing Surveillance. (a) Each operator shall have a procedure for continuing surveillance of its facilities to determine and take appropriate action concerning changes in class location, failures, leakage history, corrosion, substantial changes in cathodic protection requirements, and other unusual operating and maintenance conditions. (b) If a segment of pipeline is determined to be in unsatisfactory condition but no immediate hazard exists, the operator shall initiate a program to recondition or phase out the segment involved, or, if the segment cannot be reconditioned or phased out, reduce the maximum allowable operating pressure in accordance with § (a) and (b).
Continuing Surveillance Thank you for sending use information about using aerial video taping to assist in compliance with some of the gas pipeline safety standards in 49 CFR Part 192. Most of the Part 192 standards are written in performance language. Such language does not specify how the standards are to be met. Rather, it allows pipeline operators to use whatever means are suitable to achieve compliance, including aerial video taping. We believe aerial video taping would be an acceptable part of the process of complying with the standards you discussed. Keep in mind, however, that actual compliance cannot be foretold. It is determined by our enforcement personnel, or those of State agencies, after inspecting and analyzing individual pipeline operations.
§ Transmission lines: Patrolling. (a) Each operator shall have a patrol program to observe surface conditions on and adjacent to the transmission line right-of-way for indications of leaks, construction activity, and other factors affecting safety and operation. (b) The frequency of patrols is determined by the size of the line, the operating pressures, the class location, terrain, weather, and other relevant factors, but intervals between patrols may not be longer than prescribed in the following table: (c) Methods of patrolling include walking, driving, flying or other appropriate means of traversing the right-of-way.
§ Transmission lines: Patrolling. (Cont.) Class location of line 1,2 3 4 Maximum interval between patrols At highway andAt all other places railroad crossings 7 1/2 months 15 months 4 1/2 months 7 1/2 months 4 1/2 months 4 1/2 months
§ Inspection of rights-of-way and crossings under navigable waters. (a) Each operator shall, at intervals not exceeding 3 weeks, but at least 26 times each calendar year, inspect the surface conditions on or adjacent to each pipeline right-of-way. Methods of inspection include walking, driving, flying or other appropriate mean of traversing the right-of-way. (b) Except for offshore pipelines, each operator shall, at intervals not exceeding 5 years, inspect each crossing under a navigable waterway to determine the condition of the crossing.
Section Inspection of rights-of-way and crossings under navigable waters. Section (a) requires an operator, at intervals not exceeding 3 weeks, but at least 26 times each calendar year, to inspect the surface conditions on or adjacent to each pipeline right-of-way. Because some surface condition activities that affect the safety and operation of pipelines are more visible from aerial patrols than from walking or driving the right-of-way, RSPA proposed that the section be changed to clarify that aerial patrols are an optional method of compliance. No comments were received regarding the change and the THLPSSC voted 10 to 0 in favor of the change (5 members did not vote). Accordingly, the change to § (a) is adopted as proposed.
§ Subpart O- Pipeline Integrity Management
(a) General requirements. An operator must take additional measures beyond those already required by Part 192 to prevent a pipeline failure and to mitigate the consequences of a pipeline failure in a high consequence area. An operator must base the additional measures on the threats the operator has identified to each pipeline segment. (See § ) An operator must conduct, in accordance with one of the risk assessment approaches in ASME/ANSI B31.8S (ibr, see § 192.7), section 5, a risk analysis of its pipeline to identify additional measures to protect the high consequence area and enhance public safety. Such additional measures include, but are not limited to, installing Automatic Shut-off Valves or Remote Control Valves, installing computerized monitoring and leak detection systems, replacing pipe segments with pipe of heavier wall thickness, providing additional training to personnel on response procedures, conducting drills with local emergency responders and implementing additional inspection and maintenance programs.
§ How is direct assessment used and for what threats? (a) General. An operator may use direct assessment either as a primary assessment method or as a supplement to the other assessment methods allowed under this subpart. An operator may only use direct assessment as the primary assessment method to address the identified threats of external corrosion (ECDA), internal corrosion (ICDA), and stress corrosion cracking (SCCDA). (b) Primary method. An operator using direct assessment as a primary assessment method must have a plan that complies with the requirements in-- (1) ASME/ANSI B31.8S (ibr, see § 192.7), section 6.4; NACE RP (ibr, see § 192.7); and § if addressing external corrosion (ECDA). (2) ASME/ANSI B31.8S, section 6.4 and appendix B2, and § if addressing internal corrosion (ICDA). (3) ASME/ANSI B31.8S, appendix A3, and § if addressing stress corrosion cracking (SCCDA). (c) Supplemental method. An operator using direct assessment as a supplemental assessment method for any applicable threat must have a plan that follows the requirements for confirmatory direct assessment in §
§ What must be in the baseline assessment plan? An operator must include each of the following elements in its written baseline assessment plan: (a) Identification of the potential threats to each covered pipeline segment and the information supporting the threat identification. (See § ); (b) The methods selected to assess the integrity of the line pipe, including an explanation of why the assessment method was selected to address the identified threats to each covered segment. The integrity assessment method an operator uses must be based on the threats identified to the covered segment. (See § ) More than one method may be required to address all the threats to the covered pipeline segment; (c) A schedule for completing the integrity assessment of all covered segments, including risk factors considered in establishing the assessment schedule; (d) If applicable, a direct assessment plan that meets the requirements of § § , and depending on the threat to be addressed, of § , § , or § ; and (e) A procedure to ensure that the baseline assessment is being conducted in a manner that minimizes environmental and safety risks.
§ What additional preventive and mitigative measures must an operator take to protect the high consequence area?
§ Pipeline integrity management in high consequence areas.
Thank you for your recent letter addressed to the office of Congressional Affairs on behalf of your constituent, Mr. Roy Farrow of Troy, Illinois. Your letter has been referred to the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) for a reply. RSPA is the agency within the Department of Transportation responsible for regulating the safety of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. Mr. Farrow has concerns regarding the clearing of pipeline rights-of-way. The Department's Pipeline Safety Regulations (49 CFR and ) require pipeline operators to inspect the surface condition of their rights-of-way for leaks and activities that could affect pipeline safety. Since the regulations do not specify the means by which inspections are to be carried out, operators may use either aerial or ground patrols. The regulations do not require that trees be removed or that rights-of-way be inspected from the air. It is the position of the Department that, if visual aerial inspections are used by the operator to meet the requirements of the regulations, the rights-of-way must be kept clear of brush and trees. Normally, this is a matter subject to negotiation in the rights-of-way agreement between the pipeline companies and the landowners involved.
Thank you for your letter to David Marks, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs, concerning negotiations between the East Goshen Conservancy Board and the Duke Energy Corporation over Duke Energy's plan to cut trees on its pipeline easement in East Goshen Township. Your letter has been referred to the Research and Special Programs Administration(RSPA) for response. RSPA is responsible for administering the Federal pipeline safety program. As stated in the incoming correspondence, Duke Energy plans to cut down trees to facilitate routine inspection of its easement by aerial patrol. It also wants to remove trees to make it easier for large equipment to gain access to the easement for normal maintenance and emergency response. Pipeline operated by Duke Energy are subject to the safety regulations of the Department of Transportation. These regulations require pipeline operators to patrol their easements for signs of leaks and construction activity. Although it is not a federal requirement to keep the right-of way is clear. However, federal regulations do not give operators a right to cut down trees on their pipeline easements. An operator's authority to cut down trees is subject to private agreements with landowners and to any local land use controls.
You stated that Buckeye Pipe Line Company plans to remove some large trees on your property, and that Buckeye maintained that cutting the trees was necessary to comply with a Federal regulation so that the right-of-way can be better seen from the air. The Federal safety regulations governing liquid pipelines are 49 CFR Part. Judging from your letter, the applicable section of Part 195 is section "Inspection of right-of-way and crossings under navigable waters" which states in subsection (a) "Each carrier shall, at intervals not exceeding two weeks, inspect the surface conditions on or adjacent to each pipeline right-of-way." Please note that this regulation does not require that trees be removed or that the right-of-way be inspected from the air. Therefore, the growth of trees on pipeline rights-of-way is not covered by the Federal regulations. It normally is a matter subject to negotiation in the right-of-way agreement between the pipeline companies and any landowners involved.
I am responding to your request for consideration of the pipeline right-of-way matter involving landowners, Byron L. Brown and Juanita M. Brown. While we are sympathetic to any disagreement concerning the rights of landowners in relation to those of easement owners, the solution is largely a matter of state and local law. In regard to the landowners' specific concerns, the Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) has looked into this matter and advised me that Exxon has three crude oil pipelines crossing the Browns' property and that the trees on the easement have been cut down, but not fully removed from the property. The federal pipeline safety standards require all operators, to "...inspect the surface conditions on or adjacent to each pipeline right-of-way." The purpose of these inspections is to locate any pipeline leaks and to detect excavation activity which could affect the safe operation of the pipeline. The federal standards allow operators to choose the manner of inspection. Exxon, as have most operators, has chosen air surveillance. Thus, it is necessary to observe the ground in the vicinity of the pipeline from the air. OPS does not require that the surveillance be by air or that any specific width be clear-cut, only that the method of surveillance chosen and its implementation allow the surface condition to be adequately surveyed. Exxon has advised OPS that, due to the number of miles of pipeline in their system, air patrol is the most economical method available to meet the federal requirement for inspection of rights-of-way. In addition to the patrolling requirements, federal rules require that Exxon must maintain and repair its pipelines at all times to protect the public safety. Exxon advised OPS that the tree roots here may threaten the integrity of its pipelines. They believe, and we agree, that tree roots can damage pipe coating and diminish the effectiveness of the corrosion control system, which is required for safety by federal law.
Mr. Farrow has concerns regarding the clearing of pipeline rights-of-way. The Department's Pipeline Safety Regulations (49 CFR and ) require pipeline operators to inspect the surface condition of their rights-of-way for leaks and activities that could affect pipeline safety. Since the regulations do not specify the means by which inspections are to be carried out, operators may use either aerial or ground patrols. The regulations do not require that trees be removed or that rights-of-way be inspected from the air. It is the position of the Department that, if visual aerial inspections are used by the operator to meet the requirements of the regulations, the rights- of-way must be kept clear of brush and trees. Normally, this is a matter subject to negotiation in the rights-of-way agreement between the pipeline companies and the landowners involved.
This responds to your petition P-45 dated January 26, 1991, requesting the revision of 49 CFR (a) to prohibit aerial inspections of pipeline rights-of-way in areas with population densities greater than 1000 people per square mile. You feel that low altitude flights at the required inspection frequency in such populated areas are ineffectual and present noise and other dangers of their own to public safety. Section (a) of the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Regulations states: "Each operator shall, at intervals not exceeding 3 weeks, but at least 26 times each calendar year, inspect the surface conditions on or adjacent to each right-of-way." This standard permits the pipeline operator to select an appropriate method of implementation. The use of airplanes and helicopters to perform these inspections complies with the regulation. Aerial inspections are an established industry practice and we consider such inspections to be an effectual way to disclose excavation activities on either side of the right-of-way that occasionally extend to the pipelines within the right-of-way. Checking for excavation activities is an important part of the inspection, because excavation activities, or "dig-ins," are the leading cause of damage to underground pipelines.
Duke Energy may want to remove the trees to minimize the possibility that tree roots will damage the pipeline or pipeline coating. It may also want to remove the trees to facilitate routine patrolling of the easement. Pipelines operated by Duke Energy are subject to the safety regulations of Title 49 CFR Parts (enclosed). These regulations require operators to patrol their pipeline easements for signs of leaks and construction activity. However, the regulations do not require operators to keep their easements free of trees to make patrolling easier or to minimize the possibility of damage by tree roots, nor do the regulations give pipeline operators a right to remove trees on their pipeline easements. The authority of an operator to remove trees is subject to private agreements with landowners and to any local land use controls. Although, aerial surveillance is usually the most practical method of patrolling, in areas where an easement is concealed by trees or large bushes, a pipeline operator may observe conditions on the easement by walking or driving along the easement.