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