Pipeline Integrity

Pipeline safety regulations include requirements for operators of hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines to develop and implement comprehensive Integrity Management Programs (IMP).
These rules are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 49 - Part 195.452 and 192, Subpart O) and have four basic objectives:
  • Perform integrity assessments of pipeline where a pipeline failure could have significant consequences
  • To improve operator management, analytical, and operational processes to manage pipeline integrity.
  • To increase government's role in the oversight of operator integrity management programs and activities.
  • To improve public confidence in pipeline safety.
An integrity management program is a set of safety management, analytical, operations, and maintenance processes that are implemented in an integrated and rigorous manner to assure operators provide protection for High Consequence Areas (HCAs). While the rules provide some flexibility for an operator to develop a program best suited for its pipeline system(s) and operations, there are certain required features – called “program elements” – which each integrity management program must have.
An inline inspection tool, sometimes knows as a “smart pig” is often times used as part of a pipeline operators Integrity Management Program.


Maintaining Safety

Pipeline operators invest significant time and capital maintaining the quality and integrity of their pipeline systems. Most active pipelines are monitored 24-hours a day via manned control centers. Pipeline companies also utilize aerial surveillance and/ or on-ground observers to identify potential dangers. Control center personnel continually monitor the pipeline system and assess changes in pressure and flow. They notify field personnel if there is a possibility of a leak. Automatic shut-off valves are sometimes utilized to isolate a leak.

Pipeline operators also work to provide the general public with pipeline information. In addition, operators work closely with first responders, public officials and contractors / excavators to discuss pipelines and what to do in the unlikely event of a release.

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