U.S. DOT Announces Final Rule to Enhance Public Safety by Expanding Natural Gas Transportation in Plastic Pipelines
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 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.
The mission of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 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 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 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.
PLEASE NOTE: Effective January 1, 2019, the Colorado 811 Board of Directors approved the transmission rate of $1.42 per transmission.
After feedback from our membership, we have decided to no longer charge a ticket fee for canceled locate tickets. This change will take place on January 1, 2019. We appreciate you taking the time to give constructive feedback as we utilize this information to enhance and modify our service for all stakeholders.
Please contact Member Services at [email protected]
for any membership questions or concerns.
Due to legislative changes to the Colorado One Call law posting Positive Responses to locate ticket notifications through Colorado 811 will be mandatory starting January 1, 2019. Along with posting Positive Responses a facility owner/operator will be able to provide the excavator with documentation like additional comments, sketches, pictures and/or maps through Colorado 811 beginning in 2019. Positive Responses must be received by Colorado 811 before the legal locate by date on the locate ticket notification. Colorado 811 offers four different methods to post Positive Responses and meet this requirement.
How do I get started with posting positive responses?
There are four methods available to post Positive Response, they include:
- Positive Response Website (username and password are required)
- Colorado 811’s Positive Response 800 number
- Vendor run Ticket Management System (username and password are required)
- WebTMS (provided by Colorado 811)
Please contact Member Services at [email protected] for more information or to get started.
What happens if your company does not post a Positive Response to Colorado 811 by the locate by date?
If Positive Response is not provided to Colorado 811 by the locate by date, Colorado 811 will send an additional Positive Response re-notification to that facility owner/operator. Colorado 811 will continue to send out re-notifications daily until Colorado 811 receives Positive Response from the facility owner/operator. These re-notifications will be charged to the member at the standard ticket transmission fee.
The October 2018 CGA newsletter is now available. Click here to read the latest industry news.
Colorado 811 observes all federal holidays, including Columbus Day. Locate requests processed on October, 4th will be due Tuesday, October 9th at 11:59pm instead of Monday October 8th. For any questions or concerns regarding holiday closures, please contact our front desk at (303) 232-1991.
Reminder to Colorado 811 Members:
- Mark by (Locate By) dates are NOT scheduled on any Federal Holiday
- The phone number for Colorado 811 to call during holiday closures should be the same as your after hours number
- If your organization is a non-participant in after hours notification, you WILL NOT be notified on holidays
The September 2018 CGA newsletter is now available. Click here to read the latest industry news.
Report analyzes when damages to the nation’s infrastructure are most likely to occur
Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the stakeholder-driven organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them and their communities, today announced its findings and analysis of utility damage and near-miss events in the 2017 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report.
The report, which analyzes all 2017 data submitted anonymously and voluntarily by facility operators, utility locating companies, one call centers, contractors, regulators and others, used a refined statistical modeling process to estimate that 439,000 excavation-related damages to underground facilities occurred in 2017, up 5.5 percent from a revised 2016 estimate.
CGA, in collaboration with its statistical analysis consultant, Green Analytics, applied a new approach to estimating total U.S. damages for 2017, as well as the previous two years. It found that while estimated damages increased year-over-year from 2015 to 2016 and again from 2016 to 2017, when excavation activity is considered, damages have effectively plateaued during this three-year span, as measured by ratios of damages to construction spending and damages to utility locate notifications from one call centers to their member facility operators.
The 2017 DIRT Report includes an analysis of when damages occur, by month and day of the week, for the first time, leading to several findings that can help damage prevention stakeholders best target their public awareness messages. Specifically, the report found the following:
- Damages that occurred on a weekend were nearly twice as likely to have involved hand tools (shovels, post-hole diggers, etc.) than those that occurred on a weekday.
- 50 percent of all reported damages occurred between June and September in 2017.
- August was the month with the most total damages in 2017.
Among all damage reports with an identified and known root cause, the majority (52.2 percent) occurred because of insufficient excavation practices, continuing a trend from recent years where this was the top identified root cause in the DIRT Report. Other identified root causes were as follows:
- Notification not made – 23.5 percent
- Locating practices not sufficient – 16.8 percent
- Miscellaneous – 6.5 percent
- Notification practices not sufficient – 1.0 percent
“As the leading source of utility damage data and analysis, CGA is constantly evaluating the statistical models we use to ensure we are producing the best possible report to guide our public awareness, education and training efforts in the damage prevention industry,” said Sarah K. Magruder Lyle, president and CEO of CGA. “The latest DIRT Report shows that our collective challenge to reduce utility damage is increasing as excavation activity increases. CGA stands ready to support all damage prevention stakeholders in addressing this challenge through public awareness campaigns, Best Practices, regional partnerships, promotion of new technologies and offering resources to educate state policymakers on the importance of balanced and effective enforcement laws.”
Once again, CGA has made an interactive DIRT Dashboard accessible to the public through its website, allowing users to view and query the data through the lens of a specific element, e.g., damages by state, root cause analysis, etc. This dashboard features a series of visualizations that allow users to sort information through additional filters, giving damage prevention stakeholders a powerful tool for identifying areas where they can have the biggest positive impact.
“CGA’s Data Reporting and Evaluation Committee took on a significant challenge during the past year as we re-evaluated the way we analyze and report on submitted data,” said Bruce Campbell, Data Committee co-chair from MISS DIG 811, the one call center for Michigan. “DIRT data is one of the best tools available for any damage prevention stakeholder who seeks a better understanding of why damages occur.”
The complete DIRT Annual Report for 2017 is available for download at www.commongroundalliance.com, and stakeholders interested in submitting data to the 2018 report or establishing a Virtual Private Dirt account should visit the DIRT site at www.cga-dirt.com.
Click here to download the full 2018 Membership Survey results. Learn more about Colorado 811 Membership here. For any questions relating to membership please email the Member Services Department at [email protected].
Click here to download the full 2018 Excavator Survey results.
Colorado 811 Network Outage Update – September 6 and 7, 2018
- On September 6, 2018 at approximately 10:35 am Colorado 811 experienced a network outage due to a failure of a T3/DS3 network circuit at one of CO811’s network provider’s operation centers.
- The network outage resulted in the temporary loss of all inbound and outbound telecommunications and internet access for all onsite employees. Colorado 811 Teleworkers lost phone communications and access to internal Colorado 811 software applications. Our Members and the public temporally lost the ability to call the contact center at Colorado 811 via phone for twenty-five minutes.
- The specific cause of the failure is unknown at this time; however, we continue to push for a detailed incident report from our network provider.
- At 10:45 am Colorado 811 engaged the Network Operations Center’s management Team and escalated the support ticket to its highest level. After some conversation with network engineers and their managers it was determined that the problem was downstream at another location with the Local Exchange Provider (LEC). An additional ticket was opened with the LEC to further troubleshoot the issue impacting Colorado 811.
- At 11:00 am Colorado 811 successfully routed all 811-phone traffic to an alternate phone server located offsite. This resulted in the ability for 5-6 teleworkers to process tickets and receive 811 phone calls from their homes. The first phone call was received and processed at 11:03 am. All Colorado 811 services were available at this point. Hold times may have increased due to the limited number of agents that were available.
- Between 12:00 pm and 12:45 pm Colorado 811 successfully configured the contact center agent workstations and phones to route traffic over an alternate managed internet circuit. The result was the restoration of phone and internet service to the contact center agents. By 12:45pm every agent had been configured to run on the alternate network circuit and the contact center was fully operational.
- At 12:47 pm Colorado 811’s Network provider indicated that the circuit should now be restored. The circuit was tested by IT, who concluded that the circuit was not yet fully capable of carrying the load of phone calls and network traffic required to operate. IT could still see network package loss and bandwidth issues on the circuit. IT escalated the support ticket again and Colorado 811 asked the provider to continue with their troubleshooting process. Our contact center remained on the alternate circuit for the remainder of the day.
- From 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm Colorado 811 and the network provider performed troubleshooting throughout the evening. It was decided to leave the contact center on the alternate circuit until the restored circuit proved that it was ready for production.
- On September 7, 2018, the restored MPLS circuit passed all checks for packet loss, latency and bandwidth. At 9:00 am Colorado 811 IT began the process of switching the contact center agents back to their original configuration. All Colorado 811 services are available.
CURRENT STATUS: We are seeing some slowness on the circuit creep back up. We have moved about 10 agents back, but we’ll pause for now. We just spoke to CenturyLink to escalate with a manager. We were told that a tech would be reassigned to the ticket again and that we may need to take the circuit down for testing. They will let us know first before they do that. We explained our business (public safety organization), our problem and our frustration.
Click here to download the official Network Outage Update PDF