Pipeline Leak Detection Regulations in the USA

The US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) monitors the safety of hazardous liquid pipelines in the United States.

1979 PHMSA’s regulatory program for hazardous liquids pipelines was created.

1998 The U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety (DOT-OPS) adopted API 1130 into the federal rules intended to ensure safe operation of the nation's hazardous liquids pipelines.

1999 All operators of U.S. hazardous liquids pipelines engaged in pipeline leak detection known as "computational pipeline monitoring" (CPM) must use, by reference and with other information, the document API 1130.

2011 The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 was designed to examine and improve the state of pipeline safety regulation and required the Secretary of Transportation submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives a report on leak detection systems utilized by operators of hazardous liquid pipeline facilities and transportation-related flow lines.

The report has to include:

(A) an analysis of the technical limitations of current leak detection systems, including the ability of the systems to detect ruptures and small leaks that are ongoing or intermittent, and what can be done to foster development of better technologies; and (B) an analysis of the practicability of establishing technically, operationally, and economically feasible standards for the capability of such systems to detect leaks, and the safety benefits and adverse consequences of requiring operators to use leak detection systems.

2012 PHMSA completed the required leak detection study on Dec. 10, 2012

2017 In January of 2017 released final updates known as the Liquids Mega Rule that would require the installation of leak-detection systems on all hazardous liquid pipelines.

This Final Rule was then subject to the Priebus Memo issued by the Trump administration and swiftly withdrawn by PHMSA on January 24, 2017. As with other rules subject to the Priebus Memo, the Final Rule must now be reviewed by a member of the Trump Administration. The fate of the Final Rule is still uncertain.

By: Atmos International
Date: 11 October 2019