U.S. DOT Announces Final Rule to Enhance Public Safety by Expanding Natural Gas Transportation in Plastic Pipelines

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today announced the issuance of a Final Rule that amends the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations for plastic piping systems used in the transportation of natural or other gas. The updates in the final rule are intended to improve safety, allow for the expanded use of plastic pipe products in the transportation of natural or other gas, and allow or require the use of certain materials and practices.

“Advancements in plastic pipe design and manufacturing have resulted in products that are much safer today than they were 20 years ago,” said PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott.  “These regulatory updates will significantly contribute to advancing public safety.”

The updates which are on public display in today’s Federal Register take into consideration the changing technologies and issues affecting plastic pipe. They address concerns with installation and operational safety issues associated with plastic pipe, as observed by federal and state inspectors during routine field activities.  Additionally, several industry petitions received by PHMSA requested that the agency consider regulatory updates for plastic pipe that align with new innovations in manufacturing and design, as well as current best practices in plastic pipe installation.

The Final Rule will only apply to new, repaired, and replaced pipelines.  Regulatory updates include an increased design factor for polyethylene pipe; updated standards governing the use, maximum pressure limits, and diameters for pipelines made of polyamide 11 and 12 thermoplastics; new and expanded standards for the installation of plastic pipe to help mitigate contact with other underground utilities and structures; and several other installation and operational related provisions for plastic pipe and plastic pipe components.

As a result of the Final Rule’s updated design factor, the cost of materials to produce new pipe is estimated to be reduced by 10 percent, resulting in an annual material cost savings of approximately $32 million for transmission, gathering, and distribution operators.

This final rule is effective 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register

About PHMSA:

The mission of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is to protect people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials that are essential to our daily lives.  PHMSA develops and enforces regulations for the safe operation of the nation’s 2.7 million-mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly one million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.  Please visit http://phmsa.dot.gov or https://twitter.com/PHMSA_DOT for more information.

Reaching the right person at right time could save life of contractor digging near your facilities

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Sunshine 811 recently completed a series of emails to its member facility owners to update their contact information. This is something we do each year, but it’s becoming a critical part of our daily operation as some ignore our plea.

We consistently hear from excavators that the phone numbers are incorrect or out of service. And during hurricane season, members rely on this information to coordinate storm recovery efforts with other members.

“Our member service representatives update contact information on a daily basis,” Sunshine 811 Technical Operations Manager Bill Heath explains. “Whenever we discover an outdated contact, we work to find the correct information.”

Updating contact information is a simple action to help each member comply with, § 556.112, Fla. Stat., which requires all Sunshine 811 members to update their design services information annually.

“Although excavators must notify 811 and wait the required time before digging,” Sunshine 811 Executive Director Mark Sweet explains, “they may have questions about your response to their locate request. To help protect your underground facilities from accidental damage, it is essential that all members provide Sunshine 811 with accurate and current contact information to facilitate direct communications with excavators who will be digging near your facilities”

Members

Below are the 11 contacts types within Sunshine 811’s system. If you are a member and have not updated any of the contact information listed below, please contact our Member Services Department at (800) 651-6720 or email them at memberservices@sunshine811.com.

Excavators & Others

If you’re an excavator, locator or other stakeholder and cannot reach a member using the contact information on your ticket or in the emergency phone book, please complete the quick form by clicking on SUBMIT INCORRECT MEMBER CONTACT INFORMATION below. Member Services will use your information to begin getting the updated contact information.

Reaching the right person at the right time could help save the life of a contractor digging near your buried facilities.

Contact Types

  1. Emergency Contact: The emergency contact is the person listed on emergency tickets and included on the emergency contact list. This number should be answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  2. Alternate Contact: The alternate contact receiving location is where locate tickets are sent when your primary receiving equipment is not working properly.

  3. After Hours Contact: The after-hours contact is someone who can be contacted outside of your organization's normal business hours.

  4. Billing Contact: The billing contact is the person or department to receive the monthly invoice and annual assessment letters.

    If you are currently receiving paper invoices and would like to receive them electronically, email memberservices@sunshine811.com your member code and the email address or addresses where you would like us to send your invoices.

  5. Board Representative: The board representative contact is the person authorized to vote on your organization's behalf at Sunshine 811 membership meetings.

  6. Catastrophic Contact: The catastrophic contact is someone who is contacted before, during and after a storm, natural disaster or other catastrophic event. This contact is included in our emergency contact list.

  7. Damage Contact: The damage contact is the person primarily responsible for submitting damages as required by § 556.102 (12)(a), F.S. This person is also responsible for maintaining user accounts in the Florida DIRT System.

  8. Database Contact: Person or department responsible for setting up and maintaining your company’s service area registration. This may include manually drawing your service area on the maps in our system, or it may be the person responsible for uploading shape files and approving their release into production.

  9. Engineering Contact: The engineering contact is the person or department responsible for design requests as required by § 556.112, F.S.

  10. Receiving Location Contact: The receiving location contact is a person or department that monitors and receives locate tickets from Sunshine 811. This person is also contacted with ticket delivery issues. This is also the default contact provided to excavators requesting member contact information.

  11. Temporary Type Contact: The temporary type contact has access to a limited set of permissions at online811.com including entering positive response information for a ticket. This contact is not typically contacted for receiving or database-related issues.

2018 BOARD ELECTIONS

Sunshine 811 held its annual elections at the 2018 Annual Meeting, May 17, 2018 in DeBary. Re-elected to the board for fiscal year 2018-2019 are: Carlos Bates, Frontier Communications; Dino Farruggio, AT&T; Lisa Jackson, Hillsborough County Public Utilities; Michelle Johnson, Duke Energy; Lorenzo Jones, TECO; and Pedro Vigil, Miami-Dade Water & Sewer.

Damage prevention stakeholders request legislative enforcement study - recommendations

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Sunshine 811 and industry stakeholders including the Florida Natural Gas Association, TECO Peoples Gas, AT&T, Florida Internet and Television, the National Utility Contractors Association of Florida, and the Florida Energy Pipeline Association, have asked the Legislature to conduct a study of Florida’s damage prevention law enforcement program with recommendations for future legislation as appropriate.

This request follows annual determinations made by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), U.S. Department of Transportation, that the State of Florida's enforcement of its excavation damage prevention law is INADEQUATE.

PHMSA’s determinations, made initially for 2016 and again for 2017, have opened the door for federal enforcement action to be taken against excavators that violate federal one-call law and damage PHMSA-regulated pipelines with fines of up to $205,648 per violation per day with a maximum civil penalty of $2,056,380 for a related series of violations.

Purpose of Legislature Study

  • Identify options and future legislation needed to bring the State of Florida in line with federal enforcement standards;
  • Increase compliance with Florida’s one-call law; and
  • Reduce excavation damages to underground facilities through more effective enforcement of Chapter 556, the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act, Florida Statutes.

A copy of the May 11, 2018 letter to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House is provided below.