The PIPES Act 2020 was signed into law on December 27th, 2020. Deadlines, specifically for Section 114, are coming up on December 27th, 2021. Pipeline operators need to have their documentation ready to go soon to ensure they’re ready for this upcoming date. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know about the law, Section 114, creating the plans, and how we can assist you with your strategy.
What is the PIPES Act of 2020?
The PIPES Act of 2020 is also known as the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2020. It gave more permission to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to focus on safety, the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials, and giving the agency more authority when enforcing regulations at a particular site. The Act also identifies areas in the energy industry that could benefit from additional documentation, planning, regulations, and research.
What is Section 114 of the PIPES Act?
Section 114 of the PIPES Act is one to particularly pay attention to in the upcoming weeks. It requires gas pipeline facilities to develop inspection and maintenance plans to “address the elimination of hazardous leaks and minimization of releases of natural gas.” Operators need to create or update leak detection and repair programs to improve safety and better protect the environment. This is the case for both new and existing gas pipeline operators.
The section also outlines the need for minimum performance standards, strategies to combat known issues, and plans for existing distribution pipeline organizations and the technology in use at their facilities.
By December 27th of this year, gas pipeline operators will need to develop plans that meet all the requirements put forward by Section 114 of the PIPES Act.
Creating Documentation to Meet the New Standards
Documentation is key to the December 27th deadline. The correct documents, plans, and strategies that meet the current requirements of Section 114 must be submitted to PHMSA. For some, this may mean simply updating existing paperwork. For others, or for new pipeline operators, some or all of the documents may have to be created from the ground up.
Gas pipeline operators need to create and/or update their plans for:
- Integrity management
- Incident response
- Emergency response
- Leak detection
- Repair programs
These plans should detail the type of advanced leak detection technologies being used, continuous monitoring capabilities, plans and practices for safety surveys and leak detection by employees, schedules for repair, operator scenarios in the event of a leak, and similar information. Companies are required to locate, identify, and categorize any leaks that can be hazardous to human safety or the environment.
Pipeline operations need to also clearly define their strategies for “replacement or remediation of pipelines that are known to leak due to their material.” This includes wrought iron, historic plastics with known issues, cast iron, and unprotected steel. If issues have been identified in past operating and maintenance history or the pipeline has a design that is known for leaking, plans also need to be crafted for their eventual repair or replacement.
How Shea Writing and Training Solutions Can Help You Meet the Deadline
Whether you need to craft documentation from a blank page for your new gas pipeline facility or your strategies and plans would benefit from an update, Shea Writing and Training Solutions can help. We specialize in creating documentation that meets federal, state, and local laws, and helps you keep up with changing standards.
Starting with an assessment of your current approach, we assist companies and facilities like yours with document production, documentation management, and consulting. Our team also helps with compliance and capability to ensure you are:
- Managing operational risk
- Increasing safety and safety conformance
- Improving productivity
- Protecting your employees, customers, and the environment
- Meeting the changing standards and regulations put forward by the government
The December 27, 2021 deadline is getting close, so it’s essential that your gas pipeline facility takes steps now to ensure documentation is up to date and meeting the standards, regulations, and requirements put forth by the PIPES Act of 2020. Will you be ready?
If you’re cutting it short and haven’t gotten started, aren’t sure where to start, or want to be sure you’re checking all the boxes for the PIPES Act of 2020, we can help. Start by getting in touch with us to begin the assessment.