On July 8, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published draft Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) pertaining to “911 Notifications Following Possible Pipeline Ruptures.” These two FAQs are meant to build upon existing FAQs addressing Control Room Management (CRM).
PHMSA was motivated by a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation from the 2010 San Bruno pipeline tragedy that recommended PHMSA “Require operators of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines and hazardous liquid pipelines to ensure that their control room operators immediately and directly notify the 911 emergency call center(s) for the communities and jurisdictions in which those pipelines are located when a possible rupture of any pipeline is indicated.” (P-11-09)
The first FAQ discusses what notifications operators should include as a part of their response to a possible pipeline rupture. PHMSA suggests that operators must notify “fire, police, and other appropriate public officials for all jurisdictions and communities that could be impacted by a release or rupture.” The FAQ goes on to explain that operators “must include in their emergency response plan detailed procedures for emergency notification, such as 911 notification to call centers, to ensure timely notifications for any part of the operator’s system.”
The second proposed FAQ details who must make the notification. PHMSA proposes that “notifications may be made by the control room operator or other designated operator personnel” and that “emergency response procedure should provide specific instructions on which operator personnel are responsible for making notifications.”
APGA will be submitting comments to PHMSA by the August 9 deadline. The comments, developed by the Operations and Safety Committee, will seek additional clarity concerning when PHMSA expects operators to make these notifications. Currently there is no definition for “pipeline rupture” in pipeline safety regulations, which leaves uncertainty concerning the scope of the FAQs.
View the FR Notice here
View the Draft FAQs here
For questions on this article, please contact Erin Kurilla of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org