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Industry Evolution: Incident/Accident Reporting, Farm Taps & More


In this final installment in the EWN Educational Series on the Industry Evolution, EWN will recap miscellaneous provisions of the NPRM for Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery, Accident and Incident Notification, and Other Pipeline Safety Proposed Changes (also known as the OQ NPRM) that are not directly related to Operator Qualifications.

We will also provide a brief recap of the status of the NPRMs for the Plastic Pipes Rule and the Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines or “Mega” Rule.



The NPRM proposes to expand and clarify requires for the initial and subsequent reporting of incidents and accidents. Key highlights of these proposed changes include:

  • Accident & Incident reporting not later than one hour after confirmed discovery
  • Report incident and product loss
  • Review or confirm initial report within 48 hours
  • Defines ‘discovery’

Recommendation from Joint Session of GPAC and LPAC:

PHMSA’s Pipeline Advisory Committees approved a revision to Section I. Accident and Incident Notification in the proposed OQ NPRM (PHMSA Docket No. PHMSA-2013-0163). As originally proposed by PHMSA, the rule would require operators to provide an estimate of product loss within one hour of a confirmed discovery to the National Response Center. The vote recommended moving the product loss estimate out of the one-hour notification requirement in 191.5 (b)(5) and into (c) along with the 48-hour update notification. As revised by the GPAC and LPAC, the definition of Confirmed Discovery would eliminate the verbiage “sufficient information to determine a reportable event MAY have occurred” with the following:

“Confirmed Discovery means when it can be reasonably determined, based on information available to the operator at the time, that a reportable event has occurred even if only based on a preliminary evaluation.”


The NPRM proposes to change requirements for “farm taps” in (distribution service lines) as follows:

  • Exempt ‘farm taps’ from 49 CFR 192, Subpart P Distribution Integrity Management
  • Amend 192 to include periodic inspection and requirement for ‘pressure regulating and over-pressure relief equipment’

Recommendation from Joint Session of GPAC and LPAC:

The PACs approved acceptance of the PHMSA proposed updates for farm taps with the following revisions:

192.740 Pressure regulating, limiting, and overpressure protection Individual service lines directly connected to production, gathering, or transmission pipeline that is not operated as part of a distribution system.

  1. This section applies, except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, to any service line directly connected to a production, gathering, or transmission pipeline that is not operated as part of a distribution system.
  2. Each pressure regulating/limiting device, relief device (except rupture discs), automatic shutoff device, and associated equipment must be inspected and tested at least once

192.1003(b) Exceptions. This subpart does not apply to an individual service line directly connected to a transmission, gathering, or production pipeline.


Section 13 of the 2011 Pipeline Safety Act allows PHMSA to prescribe a fee structure and assessment methodology to recover costs associated with design reviews for design and construction costs totaling at least $2,500,000,000, and new or novel technologies or design, as determined by the Secretary.

Accordingly, PHMSA proposed to create new Subpart D in Part 190. The Subpart would include Scope, Applicability, Notification, Master Agreement, Fee Structure, and Procedures for Billing and Payment of Fee. PHMSA also provided a sample Master Cost Recovery Agreement.

Recommendation from Joint Session of GPAC and LPAC:

The PACs voted to accept PHMSA proposed new regulatory section for Cost Recovery for Design Reviews with the following revisions:

The definition of new and novel technologies is revised as follows:
New and novel technologies mean any products, designs, materials, testing, construction, inspection or operational procedures that are not addressed in 49 CFR Parts 192, 193 or 195 due to technology or design advances and innovation for new construction. Technologies that are addressed in consensus standards that are incorporated by reference into Parts 192, 193 and 195 are not new or novel technologies.

In Section 190.405 the phrases permitting activities, purchasing and right of way acquisition are deleted.


As defined in 190.341(a), a special permit is an order by which PHMSA waives compliance with one or more of the pipeline safety regulations if it determines that granting the permit would not be inconsistent with pipeline safety. In the NPRM, under the category of other proposed changes, PHMSA proposed to amend various elements in 190.341 of the Federal pipeline safety regulations to add procedures for renewing expiring special permits.

In response to comments on 190.341(d), and feedback from the PACs, PHMSA agreed renewal applications should be treated the same as initial applications and, therefore, recommended revising the amendatory language in 190.341(d)(1) by replacing the word ‘application’ with application or renewal. Further, in 190.341(e) PHMSA amended the proposed language to state that the grantee of the special permit must apply for a renewal of the permit 180 days prior to the permit expiration. In 190.314(f) the verbiage was revised to limit aerial photography of pipeline segments where special permits affect public safety, such as a class location special permit that allows a less stringent design factor in a populated area, and allow operators to submit a summary of inline inspection survey results with permit renewals.

Recommendation from Joint Session of GPAC and LPAC:

The PACs voted to accept PHMSA proposed updates for Special Permits with amendments to the proposed verbiage in 190.341(d)(1), 190.341(e), and 190.341(f).


When the integrity management regulations were established, consensus standards did not exist in addressing how pipeline assessment techniques should be applied. Since then, the American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Corrosion Engineers, and the American Society for Non-Destructive Testing published standards for using ILI and SCCDA as assessment techniques. In addition, PHMSA received a petition from NACE for incorporation some of its ANSI/NACE Standards into 49 CFR Parts 192 and 195.

In the NPRM, PHMSA proposed to incorporate the following by reference into 49 CFR part 195:

  • API STD 1163, In-Line Inspection Systems Qualification Standard (August 2005);
  • NACE Standard Practice SP0102-2010 ΓÇ£Inline Inspection of Pipelines
  • NACE SP0204-2008 Stress Corrosion Cracking Direct Assessment; and
  • ANSI/ASNT ILI-PQ-2010, In-line Inspection Personnel Qualification and Certification (2010).

Recommendation of the LPAC (only) from Joint Session of GPAC and LPAC:

The PHMSA proposed rule changes were unanimously accepted by the LPAC, without amendment, for liquid pipelines only.


PHMSA does not currently have a procedure in the pipeline safety regulations setting out how a request can be made for confidential treatment of information. In the NPRM, PHMSA proposed a procedure where a submitter of information to PHMSA may request confidential treatment of that information. The proposal also included a provision regarding PHMSA’s decision on the request. In response to industry and PAC feedback, PHMSA modified their proposed verbiage and included the term ‘confidential commercial information’ in section 190.343(a) and included FOIA procedures by reference in section 190.343(b). Accordingly, PHMSA’s new regulatory section on confidential information is proposed to be added as follows:

49 CFR 190.343 – Information Made Available to the Public and Request for Protection of Confidential Commercial Information.

When you submit information to PHMSA during a rulemaking proceeding, as part of your application for special permit or renewal, or for any other reason, we may make that information publicly available unless you ask that we keep the information confidential.

190.343(a) Asking for protection of confidential information. You may ask us to give confidential treatment to information you give the agency by taking the following steps:

  1. Mark ‘confidential’ on each page of the original document you would like us to keep confidential.
  2. Send us, along with the original document, a second copy of the original document with the confidential commercial information deleted.
  3. Explain why the information you are submitting is confidential commercial information.

190.343(b) PHMSA Decision. PHMSA will treat as confidential the information that you submitted in accordance with this section, unless we notify you otherwise.

If PHMSA decides to disclose the information, PHMSA will review your request to protect confidential commercial information under the criteria set forth in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, including following the consultation procedures set out in the Departmental FOIA regulations, 49 CFR Section 7.29.

If PHMSA decides to disclose the information over your objections, we will notify you in writing at least five business days before the intended disclosure date.

Recommendation from Joint Session of GPAC and LPAC:

The PACs approved acceptance of the PHMSA proposed updates for commercially confidential information if the PHMSA recommended revisions to Section 190.343 are implemented.

Department of Transportation
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
49 CFR 192
Docket No. PHMSA-2014-0098 (RIN 2137-AE93)


On June 1, at the joint session of the GPAC and LPAC, the advisory committees voted to approve multiple changes to pipeline safety regulations related to plastic pipe. Among the significant changes from the proposed rule are:

  1. Socket fusion will continue to be allowed for all sizes of plastic pipe;
  2. PHMSA will clarify that changes such as prohibiting the use of leak clamps for permanent repair will not be applied retroactively;
  3. Proposed requirements for compaction will be deleted; and,
  4. Requirements for tracking and traceability will be limited to the items that are included in the bar code required by ASTM F2897 and will not take effect for five years after the effective date of the rule.

Department of Transportation
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
49 CFR 191 and 192
Docket No. PHMSA-2011-0023 (RIN 2137ΓÇôAE72)


In this rulemaking, PHMSA is proposing regulatory changes regarding integrity management principles for gas transmission pipelines. Specifically, PHMSA will be reviewing the definition of a High Consequence Area (HCA), repair criteria for both HCA and non-HCA areas, the use of automatic and remote-controlled shut-off valves, valve spacing, and whether applying integrity management program requirements to additional areas would mitigate the need for class location requirements.

On June 2nd, PHMSA provided an overview presentation to the Gas and Liquid Advisory Committees (PACs), on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding gas transmission and certain gathering pipelines. PHMSA’s summary of the rule included revisions and new requirements, with some details and the basis of the proposed rule changes which were based on Congressional mandates, NTSB recommendations, and feedback from over 100 comments received by PHMSA during the comment period of the 2011 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

PHMSA’s presentation covered proposed rule changes to:

  1. Require assessments for non-high consequence areas (HCAs) and creation of new Moderate Consequence Areas (MCAs)
  2. Strengthen repair criteria for ‘High Consequence Areas (HCAs)’ and non-HCAs – References to several industry standards (NACE, API, and ANSI)
  3. Strengthen requirements for assessment methods
  4. Clarify requirements for validating & integrating pipeline data
  5. Clarify functional requirements for risk assessments
  6. Clarify requirements to apply knowledge gained through integrity management
  7. Strengthen corrosion control requirements
  8. Add requirements for selected P&M measures in HCAs to address internal and external corrosion – Need prescriptive preventative/mitigating measures (incidents from corrosion issues)
  9. Management of change requirements – Need more transparent Management of Change process
  10. Require pipeline inspection following extreme external events – Rules need to address ‘extreme’ events (weather, man-made, natural disasters, etc.)
  11. Include 6-month grace period (with notice) to 7-year reassessment interval
  12. Require reporting of Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) exceedance
  13. Incorporate provision to address seismicity
  14. New requirement for safety features on launchers and receivers
  15. Require reporting for all gathering lines and new regulations for some
  16. Grandfather clause/Inadequate records Integrity Verification Process (IVP)

Since PHMSA’s presentation to the joint GPAC and LPAC session, the extended comment period for the NPRM closed on July 7, 2016. PHMSA received approximately 400 comments from various stakeholders.

Special Note:

Although timing for the issuance of Final Rules on these regulatory updates is unknown, it is anticipated that PHMSA will issue a Final Rules on some of these topics later this year. One factor that may influence the timing is the recent enactment of the PIPES Act of 2016, which includes an emphasis for PHMSA to accelerate the numerous rulemakings outstanding from the 2011 pipeline safety bill. Under the new PIPES Act, PHMSA is required to provide a report to Congress before the end of October 2016 on the status of statutory directives, including the status of each mandate, reasons for its incompletion, and estimated completion date. The Congressional reporting requirement is anticipated to create some urgency for PHMSA to complete several pending NPRMs, which could include the OQ Rule and Plastic Pipes Rule updates. A Final Rule from the NPRM for the Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines is not anticipated in 2016 or the foreseeable future.

It’s important to remember that PHMSA is required by law to hold advisory committee meetings with the GPAC and LPAC groups. PHMSA is not bound by the recommendations that are agreed to by the PACs, but will consider those recommendations as they develop a Final Rule.