The Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 authorizes the Department of Transportation to regulate pipeline transportation of flammable, toxic, or corrosive natural gas and other gases as well as the transportation and storage of liquefied natural gas.
U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), develops and enforces minimum regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation's 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.
The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) oversees and implements interstate pipeline safety regulations. States are responsible for intrastate pipelines. Acting as an agent for the federal Office of Pipeline Safety and the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Gas Safety Division of state PUCs enforce the federal pipeline safety regulations.
In Pennsylvania, safe operations & maintenance of existing intrastate and interstate pipelines is overseen by OPS Eastern Region Office, Washington, DC. The Gas Safety Division of The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is responsible for enforcing federal and Commission pipeline safety regulations as they apply to the certificated natural gas utilities in Pennsylvania. The division monitors compliance with these regulations by conducting frequent inspections of pipeline facilities and records of regulated gas utilities. It also investigates incidents which could include fires, explosions and major outages. PUC may prescribe additional, non-conflicting standards for intrastate gas pipeline operators including design, installation, operation, inspection, testing, construction, extension, replacement and maintenance of pipeline facilities.
In March 2012, Pennsylvania enacted Act 127, known as the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act (or “the Pipeline Act”). Act 127 expanded the PA PUC authority to enforce federal pipeline safety laws in non-public utility gas and hazardous materials pipelines and facilities, including all classes of intrastate pipelines and all classes of gathering lines with exception of Class 1 gathering lines. Since Class 1 gathering lines are exempt from PHMSA authority they are also exempt from PUC safety authority.
Under Act 127, PUC has established and maintains a registry of the locations, miles and size of pipelines, pressures, and operators of all gas pipelines in Pennsylvania. Class 1 gathering lines are to be included in registry for miles of pipeline only.
PUC (The Commission) will recover the costs of this program by assessments on pipeline operators based on the total intrastate regulated transmission, regulated distribution and regulated onshore gathering pipeline miles in operation for the transportation of gas and hazardous liquids in Pennsylvania during the prior calendar year. Non-compliance by pipeline operators is subject to a retroactive $10,000/day fine.
The registry does not give PA PUC siting authority over non-interstate lines, however the registry does provide the PA PUC with the power to track and maintain records of the location of intrastate pipelines. The PA PUC’s present understanding is that PHMSA considers farm taps as regulated distribution service regardless of their Class location.
The National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives is a nonprofit organization that represents state pipeline safety personnel and supports the safe delivery of pipeline products by working closely with PHMSA, the pipeline industry and other interested organizations
One Call : Know What’s Below - Call before you Dig
811 is the designated call before you dig phone number that directly connects you to local one call centers. Each state has different rules and regulations governing digging, some stricter than others. The One Call website will help you find state-specific information and links to submit an online digging request where available.
DEP’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Management is responsible for statewide oil and gas conservation and environmental programs to facilitate the safe exploration, development, recovery of Pennsylvania's oil and gas reservoirs in a manner that will protect the commonwealth's natural resources and the environment. The bureau develops policy and programs for the regulation of oil and gas development and production pursuant to the Oil and Gas Act, the Coal and Gas Resource Coordination Act, and the Oil and Gas Conservation Law; oversees the oil and gas permitting and inspection programs; develops statewide regulation and standards; conducts training programs for industry; and works with the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission and the Technical Advisory Board.
In Pennsylvania, all excavators must contact PA One Call at least 3 business days prior to excavation, as required by law. Pennsylvania One Call System is a non-profit Pennsylvania corporation created to protect the underground facilities before anyone begins to disturb the earth. PA One Call receives requests from excavators, contractors, plumbers, builders, designers, and the general public to find out where underground lines are located. Pennsylvania One Call notifies member underground facility owners of the intent to excavate. The member underground facility owner then marks where their lines are located.
Below are some additional resources.
Know What's Below. Call Before You Dig: A PA PUC brochure explains 811 and PA One Call.
811 Public Service Announcement: A 30 second ad for the 811 Call Before You Dig campaign.
811 Public Service Announcement: A 60 second ad for the 811 Call Before You Dig campaign.