Louisiana Pipeline Program Receives Perfect Evaluations
U.S. Department of Transportation recognizes ongoing Office of Conservation efforts in pipeline safety
For Immediate Release
Contact: Patrick Courreges, 225-342-0510
BATON ROUGE, La. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has recently completed evaluations of the Louisiana Office of Conservation’s (OOC) pipeline safety and underground natural gas storage programs, giving both perfect scores for the preceding calendar year 2022.
The OOC Pipeline Division’s pipeline safety program, under the oversight of PHMSA, is responsible for regulating over 400 different intrastate pipeline operators to ensure safety and compliance with the regulations are achieved, through duties consisting of pipeline operator inspections, compliance and enforcement, safety programs, accident investigations, and record maintenance and reporting. The duties are similar for state operators of formation natural gas storage facilities.
Over the course of the last few months, PHMSA officials have conducted Progress Report reviews on OOC Pipeline office operations such as audits, documentation and maintenance of program procedures and records, as well as Program Evaluation observations of on-site inspections of operators by OOC field agents.
Louisiana’s level of compliance with the PHMSA regulations and guidelines plays a critical role in determining the state’s share of pipeline and natural gas storage safety grants for the coming year, said Commissioner of Conservation Monique M. Edwards.
“I am very proud of the work the men and women of our Pipeline Division do every day in the efforts to ensure the people and environment of our state are protected to the greatest degree possible,” Commissioner of Conservation Monique M. Edwards said.
OOC’s Pipeline Division scored 50 out of 50 on the Progress Report review for both the Gas and Hazardous Liquid Safety Programs, as well as the Underground Natural Gas Program. In the Program Evaluation Reviews, OOC’s Gas Pipeline program scored 100 out of 100, Hazardous Liquid Pipeline scored 96 out of 96, and the Underground Natural Gas Program scored 94 out of 94.
The metrics used by PHMSA include the state's leak management, incident investigations, and damage prevention program, as well as its inspector qualification, inspection, and enforcement activities.
The PHMSA review also noted that progress made by the program in encouraging operators to move away from cast-iron piping for natural gas, noting that only 79 total miles of cast-iron main line and 390 cast-iron services remain – out of more than 28,000 miles of total lines and more than 1.1 million services. 10 years ago, those number were nearly 500 miles of cast-iron mains and nearly 900 services.
Removing cast-iron gas pipelines is a priority because it is considered higher-risk than more modern steel and plastic lines. The areas where the old cast iron pipes remain tend to be rural utilities where funding replacement is difficult or areas with specific permitting concerns for disturbing roads and buildings.
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