New Final Rule for Excess Flow Valves!

Final Rule Expands Requirement for Excess Flow Valves on New and Replaced Gas Distribution Pipelines

 

On October 7, 2016 PHMSA announced a Final Rule that expands the safety requirements for Excess Flow Valves (EFVs) to multi-residential and commercial applications.

EFVs are safety devices which are installed on natural gas distribution pipelines to reduce the risk of accidents. They can reduce the risk of explosions in natural gas distribution pipelines by shutting off unplanned, excessive gas flows. These events are primarily the result of excavation damage to service lines that occurs between the gas main and the customer’s building.

The final rule requires that EFV’s be installed in new or replaced services lines for multi-family residences. These include apartment buildings, multi-residential dwellings, and small commercial buildings. Excess flow valves are already required in new and replaced service lines that supply gas to single-family residences.

PHMSA estimates a total of 4,448 operators for this rule (3,119 master meter/small LPG operators who will need to comply with notification requirements and 1,329 natural gas distribution operators who will need to install valves and comply with notification requirements) and 222,114 service lines per year on average.

The overall benefits over a 50-year period were estimated at the annual equivalent of $5.5 million per year versus $10.6 million in compliance costs when calculated using a 7 percent discount rate.

Operators will be required to give all customers notice of the option to request an EFV installation.Operators will be required to give all customers notice of the option to request an EFV installation, except where such installation is not required under § 192.383(c) (i.e., where the service line does not operate at a pressure of 10 psig or greater through the year, the operator has experienced contaminants in the gas stream that could interfere with EFV operation, an EFV could interfere with operation and maintenance activities, or an EFV meeting performance standards in § 192.381 is not available.

This final rule also amends the Federal pipeline safety regulations by requiring curb valves, or EFVs, if appropriate, for applications operating above 1,000 SCFH.

DATES: This final rule will be effective next year in April 2017

 

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Are International Standards coming to the U.S.?

PHMSA Proposes to Harmonize U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations to International Standards

The proposed rule from PHMSA is based on recent revisions to the United Nations Model Regulations, International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air.

The changes would include revisions to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations, and vessel stowage requirements (facilitate the safe transport of hazardous materials in international commerce).

PHMSA proposes to incorporate the newest versions and certain parts of various international hazardous materials standards. These would including the following: International Civil Aviation Organization Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air; the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code; the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods; the United Nations Manual of Tests and Criteria; and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. Additionally, they propose to update their incorporation by reference of the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.  PHMSA also proposes to adopt the updated International Organization for Standardization.

Even though this proposal signals an immense amount of change, work, and time; the benefits of the U.S. hazardous materials regulations harmonizing with international standards include several factors. Minimal burdens on the regulated community, enhanced transportation safety resulting from the consistency of domestic and international hazard communication, communication, continued access to foreign markets by U.S. manufacturers of hazardous materials, cost savings, and it would ease the regulatory compliance burden for shippers engaged in domestic and international commerce, including trans-border shipments with North America.

 

View the complete NPRM here

The changes to the international standards will take effect on January 1, 2017

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