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  • Writer's pictureNathan Hammer

Keeping Our Pipelines Safe: A Look at Pipeline Safety in the USA



Pipeline safety in the USA is a complex and important topic, as pipelines are responsible for transporting a significant portion of the country's energy resources. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an agency within the US Department of Transportation, is responsible for developing and enforcing pipeline safety regulations.

PHMSA's regulations cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Pipeline design, construction, and operation: Operators must follow strict safety standards when designing, building, and operating their pipelines.

  • Pipeline maintenance: Operators must inspect and maintain their pipelines regularly to identify and repair any potential problems.

  • Emergency response: Operators must have a plan in place to respond to pipeline emergencies quickly and effectively.

PHMSA also oversees the qualification of pipeline operators and other personnel involved in the pipeline industry. Operators must meet certain experience and training requirements before they can be licensed to operate pipelines.

In addition to PHMSA, many states also have their own pipeline safety regulations. State regulations often complement or supplement federal regulations. Here are some examples of companies who may be regulated by pipeline safety regulations:

  • Oil and gas companies

  • Natural gas companies

  • Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) companies

  • Hazardous liquid pipeline companies

  • Carbon dioxide pipeline companies

  • Hydrogen pipeline companies

Here are some items like operator qualifications, account management, and similar that are considered parts of pipeline safety:

  • Operator qualifications: Operators must meet certain experience and training requirements before they can be licensed to operate pipelines.

  • Account management: Operators must have a system in place to track and manage their accounts with customers and other stakeholders. This system must ensure that all relevant information about the pipeline system is communicated to the appropriate parties.

  • Emergency response: Operators must have a plan in place to respond to pipeline emergencies quickly and effectively. This plan must include procedures for notifying emergency responders, evacuating people from the area, and containing and cleaning up any spills or leaks.

  • Damage prevention: Operators must work with the public and other stakeholders to prevent damage to pipelines from excavation and other activities. This includes educating the public about the importance of calling 811 before digging and working with other stakeholders to develop and implement damage prevention plans.

Pipeline safety is a critical issue, and PHMSA and other agencies work closely with the pipeline industry to ensure that pipelines are operated safely and reliably.


 

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