Pipeline regulations face more scrutiny

October 1, 2001 By    

More pipeline regulations are in the works, but the Research & Special Programs Administration promises they won’t add significantly to costs or burdens.

The agency proposed updating safety standards as recommended by the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives. But the proposals would merely clarify existing regulations and practices and conform hazmat rules with gas ones, RSPA says.

RSPA proposes to require that all welders have produced at least one tested and acceptable weld every six months. Welders who haven’t welded in six months would need recertification. Also, because inspections have shown that poor backfill causes dents and gouges, backfill material would have to “provide firm support for the pipe and prevent damage to the pipe and coating.”

It also would require that hydrostatic test records include temperature of the test medium or pipe for test validity. Otherwise, a pressure drop caused by a temperature fall during the test could be confused with a leak or a pressure increase could mask a small leak.

The regulations also would require operators to train emergency response personnel in the basic evaluation of fire hazards and the appropriate use of portable fire extinguishers and other on-site fire control equipment.

NAPSR claims that phone numbers at pump stations and breakout tank areas for emergency calls often don’t get answered, so operators would have to add a number staffed 24 hours.

Briefly Speaking

    • Winter preparation

RSPA sent another advisory bulletin urging LPG distribution system operators to prepare for weather-related problems.

It suggests reviewing compliance with all leak detection, corrosion monitoring, and emergency response procedures, including training of emergency response personnel and liaison with emergency responders. The agency warns that heavy rain and frozen ground can cause propane to leak into basements causing combustible gas measurement problems.

A propane explosion in Maryland in September that killed one person and wounded 17 others prompted RSPA to issue the warning. RSPA surmises a corroded service line caused the problem. It reminds distributors to ensure they can adequately and quickly detect leaks of heavier-than-air gas.

    • Dishwasher testing

The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy is taking comments on its plans to change test procedures for residential dishwashers. The proposals would define soil-sensing and non soil-sensing dishwashers and standby power.

OEERE also proposes to include standby power in estimated operating cost calculations and to revise estimated costs based on a new survey of use.

Details: Sept. 3 Federal Register. Send comments by Nov. 18 to Brenda Edwards-Jones, U.S. Department of Energy, OEERE, EE041, 1000 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20585.

Label envelopes “Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products: Test Procedures for Dishwashers, Docket No. EE-RM-99-500.”

    • Building Standards

Thirteen-year-old guidance on energy standards for buildings has just been shoved out the door.

OEERE issued a new Standard 90.1-1999, Building Energy Standards program: Determination Regarding Energy Efficiency Improvements in the Energy Standard for Buildings, except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.

The new standards require zone and loop controllers to include control error correction reset on chilled and hot water temperature controls of systems greater than 300,000 Btu. They also require a 7.5 percent increase in average energy efficiency ratios for cooling systems.

The requirements don’t apply to residential buildings, which require unit controls. Commercial furnaces will have to reduce their loss through equipment casings from 1.5 percent  to .75 percent. Service water heating efficiency rises from 78 percent to 80 percent.

States can apply for extensions to use the old standards until July 15, 2004. Details: July 15 Federal Register.

    • Public Education

RSPA has awarded $500,000 to the Common Ground Alliance for a pipeline safety campaign. The alliance will educate the public, improve equipment used to locate lines, and try to improve incident reporting procedures.

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