PHMSA Proposes New Safety Regulations for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

WASHINGTON –  The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has announced proposed regulations to make critical safety improvements for hazardous liquid pipelines.

The proposed regulations seek to strengthen the way hazardous liquid pipelines are operated, inspected and maintained in the United States.

The proposed rule would require that all hazardous liquid pipelines have a system for detecting leaks and establish a timeline for inspections of affected pipelines following an extreme weather event or natural disaster. These inspections would allow operators to quickly identify and repair post-event leaks and other damage to pipelines.

The proposed rule would require operators to annually evaluate the protective measures they have implemented on pipeline segments that operate in High Consequence Areas where pipeline failures have the highest potential for human or environmental damage, and implement additional measures as necessary.

It would also set a deadline to require the use of internal inspection tools where possible for any new and replaced pipeline that could affect an HCA.

The proposed rule would improve the quality and frequency of tests used to assess the condition of pipelines and establish more strict repair guidelines for high-risk pipelines.

The proposed regulations would modify repair and replacement criteria under PHMSA’s risk-based management framework by expanding the list of conditions that require immediate repair, establishing shorter repair timelines for critical repairs, and tightening the standards for pressure tests.