A proposed package of new requirements for pipeline safety will require faster notification following pipeline accidents and will strengthen existing regulations.
The US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposed amendments seek to strengthen federal pipeline safety regulations related to pipeline accident and incident notifications.
The proposed Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery and Accident Notification rule would also allow PHMSA to recover costs for pipeline design reviews as well as addressing several National Transportation Safety Board recommendations relating to operator qualification programs, personnel training, drug and alcohol testing and acceptable methods for assessing crack defects in pipelines.
The rule would require pipeline operators to notify the National Response Centre of a pipeline release at the earliest practicable moment following the confirmed discovery of an accident or incident involving natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. It should be no later than an hour following the confirmed discovery.
The proposed rule will revise and strengthen the federal Pipeline Safety Regulations by establishing updated requirements regarding operator qualification programs, a fee structure and assessment methodology to recover costs associated with the design reviews of pipelines as well as over-pressure protection requirements.
Anthony Foxx, US transportation secretary says: ‘This proposed rule will improve safety in a number of ways, including a notification time limit which eliminates any ambiguity about timelines in reporting and is crucial to the ability to mitigate damage and protect people, property and environment following an incident.’
The new rule has been submitted to the Federal Register for publication. To read a preview of the proposal, click here.