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New Pipeline Safety Rules at PHMSA, TRRC, COGC, & PAPUC

This was originally sent out as our August 2019 Gas & Oil Newsletter

I. New Safety Rules & Regulations

New pipeline regulations continue to move forward at PHMSA as the Senate Commerce committee advanced the reauthorization of the Pipeline Safety Act.  The new rules will address over-pressurization and change professional engineering requirements.  The new Transmission, Liquids, and Gathering regulations are moving ahead, while many states propose new regulations as well.

The Texas RR Commission, Pennsylvania PUC, Colorado OGC, and others all have significant changes coming down the pipe.  In an environment where every incident is a high-profile incident, momentum for stricter, more prescriptive rules continues to grow.  In Texas, PHMSA has expressed support for the Railroad Commissions plans for new requirements for all liquid gathering lines including:

·      Damage prevention program

·       Public awareness program

·       Installing line markers

·       Conducting leak surveys

·       Patrolling the ROW 26 times per year

New regulations on the horizon and increased public scrutiny, all while construction booms in many areas.  More excavation increases the risk of the next incident, so operators have to do everything they can to keep their assets operating safely.

II. Mitigating Risk From Un-locatable Facilities

Any facility operator with plastic pipe understands the challenges of un-locatable facilities. Tracer wire can break or corrode, and “detectable” buried warning tape can have a short lifespan. There are several new technologies that can provide an accurate location, but contract locators don’t carry them in the truck. Operators will often employ internal resources or specialty contractors for tricky locates, but timing and communication can lead to increased risk.

Before leaving the area, the contract locator should clearly communicate the approximate location of the un-locatable facility by installing an unmistakable warning sign. Recently I’ve been working with a group of gas companies to design the Stop Stick™.  This customizable temporary marker will warn excavators that the locate has been elevated and crews are on the way to help mark out the location of the pipeline.  I wrote an article for the upcoming edition of the dp-PRO magazine, to get a sneak peak and a longer explanation of how to use Stop Sticks™ click here.

stop stick

III. Hall of Shame: Marking Failures from Around the World

Yikes … safe to say this marker is pretty dang worthless. We can assume this post was hit by a mower, and probably because he couldn’t see the 2-dimensional profile from the side. We have a couple solutions:

a) To prevent damaged posts like this, use our incredibly durableTriView® marker. It has superior visibility and can withstand repeated impacts.

b) To replace a flat marker like this, you should deploy one of our TriView XL marker posts. It was specifically made to retrofit flat posts and installation takes seconds. 

IV. Must Watch

The summer heat is starting to get to us.  Anyone else feeling nostalgic for winter? If you don’t miss those glorious days of high windchill and dead car batteries, maybe our TriView Impact on a Frozen Lake will get you back in the winter spirit!

The Inside Scoop: News from the Rhino Office

Overheard: “They taste like sweat.”  – Tom Preston, Damage Prevention Consultant and office beer snob when describing Coors Light.

On the Road: We’ll be at the ISE show coming up next month in Fort Worth, TX. Stop by booth 721 if you’d like to see some awesome products, hear some average jokes, or get a few golf tips from Tom.

You Can’t Make This Up: Serious damages can be caused by excavators, backhoes, horizontal drilling, and … 75-year old ladies.  This story is from 2011 but we couldn’t resist re-sharing it now.

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