DOT Releases New Safety Guidelines for Transmission Pipelines

The guidelines, developed by the Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA), mark the first time a set of recommendations for development near existing transmission pipelines has been issued.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently released new safety guidelines to help local governments, developers, and community planners better protect areas near transmission pipelines. The guidelines, developed by the Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA), mark the first time a set of recommendations for development near existing transmission pipelines has been issued.

“Development of residences, businesses and green space has increased all over the country, and these areas frequently contain transmission pipelines,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Safety for our communities is our number-one priority, and having these new guidelines in place will help communities and pipelines safely coexist.”

The report, Partnering to Further Enhance Pipeline Safety in Communities through Risk-Informed Land Use Planning, offers nearly 50 recommended practices for local communities, developers and pipeline operators to use to help reduce the safety risks that result from growth of communities near pipelines. The recommendations offer options on how land-use planning and development decisions can help protect existing pipeline infrastructure and growing communities. The report also provides recommendations on how communities can gather information about local transmission pipelines and how local planners, developers and pipeline operators should communicate during all phases of new development to understand pipeline risks, and how to minimize pipeline excavation damages during site preparation and construction.

PIPA, a partnership led by USDOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), is a 130-member coalition made up of representatives from the pipeline safety community, local city and county governments, the public, developers, fire marshals, pipeline operators, and state and federal regulators.

“PHMSA continues to look at ways to reduce risks and improve safety near pipelines,“ said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman. “These recommendations describe actions local governments can take to make full use of available resources and how they can communicate effectively with transmission pipeline operators to better understand all factors that can affect risks.”

To read the report: http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/PIPA.htm.

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