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Gas Pipeline Grid MItigation and Response Planning

Posted on Thu, Feb 11, 2016

Gas pipeline grid safety regulations cover design, construction, testing, operations and maintenance. These regulations include EHS-focused requirements for damage prevention, public awareness, integrity management, training programs, as well as many others. While ensuring the specific requirements of the law, effective emergency management provisions should also include identification, evaluation, prevention, and control for any situation that can adversely affect employees, the community, the environment, or operational sustainability. This is especially true for gas pipeline operations that often span large geographic areas, cross waterways, and come in close proximity to environmentally sensitive areas, schools, hospitals, residential areas, and other critical socio-economic foundations.

Types of gas facilities may include:

Gathering pipelines transport gas and crude oil away from the points of production (i.e., wellheads) to facilities for processing or refinement or to transmission pipelines.
Transmission pipelines move gas and hazardous liquids long distances across the country, often at high pressures.
Distribution pipelines are generally smaller lines that take natural gas from transmission pipelines and deliver it to individual homes and businesses. Distribution pipeline systems operate at much lower pressures than transmission pipelines.

Gas operations infrastructures are a combination of transmission pipelines, compressor stations, underground natural gas storage sites, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. .According to 2007-2008 data from the US Energy Information Association, the natural gas pipeline grid is comprised of:

  • More than 210 natural gas pipeline systems.
  • 305,000 miles of interstate and intrastate transmission pipelines
  • More than 1,400 compressor stations that maintain pressure on the natural gas pipeline network and assure continuous forward movement of supplies
  • More than 11,000 delivery points, 5,000 receipt points, and 1,400 interconnection points that provide for the transfer of natural gas throughout the United States.
  • 24 hubs or market centers that provide additional interconnections
  • 400 underground natural gas storage facilities
  • 49 locations where natural gas can be imported/exported via pipelines
  • 8 LNG import facilities and 100 LNG peaking facilities

gas_pipeline_network.jpgSource: Department of Transporatation

While all pipeline risks cannot be averted, incidents can be minimized if mitigation and response planning measures are implemented and prioritized. Aging infrastructure, adverse conditions, unsafe activities, or ineffective responses pose risks to occupants, facilities, the environment, and/or communities. Gas facilities and traversing pipelines may require varied preparedness and response planning strategies in the event of a release in a sensitive or populated area.

PHMSA suggests the following mitigation measures should be in place:

  • Ensure Integrity management (IM) oversight
  • Evaluate valve inspections programs and documentation efforts
  • Verify operational leak detection systems
  • Collaborate with Public Association for Public Awareness programs including the Pipelines and
  • Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA)
  • Promote “Damage Prevention Programs” in local communities, such as 811
  • Participate in Community Assistance and Technical Support (CATS)

Response plans for gas facilities should define, plan for, document, and provide guidance to those responding to a variety of identified risks and potential emergencies. All information, including emergency contacts, should be regularly updated for accuracy. Response procedures for each likely scenario should:

  • Be rigorous enough, yet standardized, to minimize subjectivity or interpretation, and preclude oversights in order to accomplish the assigned mission and critical tasks.
  • Include estimated response times, required capabilities, needs of the population, and identified success criteria.
  • Comply with all regulations and internal guidelines. Failure to comply with regulations can result in fines, negative public perception, and possibly government-mandated shutdown of operations.

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Pipeline

The Necessary Details for Pipeline Tactical Response Planning

Posted on Thu, Sep 03, 2015

Pipelines play a key role in the sustainability of our economy. Pipelines deliver millions of gallons of crude oil and petroleum products across every state so that communities can commute and travel, maintain homes and businesses, utilize modern communications systems, and manufacture thousands of products that are used in daily life.

In 2013, 192,396 miles of pipelines transported nearly 15 billion barrels of crude oil and petroleum products. Controversies develop because these vast pipelines often share common acreage with waterways, residential neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and municipalities. Despite strict regulations, pipeline incidents do occur. Because these common geographic boundaries exist, it is imperative that tactical spill response plans contain site specific details that are unique to the location and landscape.

Pipelines present a distinct risk since it is not practical for them to utilize secondary containment. When a spill occurs, impacts can be costly to the environment, surrounding communities, and the pipeline company. If a worst-case discharge were to occur, the impacts can be devastating on multiple fronts. However, the faster the spill can be contained, the less impacts it creates.

Spill prevention should be the primary objective. However, by creating location-specific tactical response plans, pipeline companies and operators can identify and compensate for key geographical challenges that may delay responding to and managing a pipeline emergency. The planning process should involve a detailed site examination and anticipated response analysis, as well as an understanding of the characteristics of the pipeline contents.

The primary objectives of tactical response plans are to:

  • Allow response personnel to prepare for and safely respond to spills
  • Ensure an effective and efficient response despite geographical challenges
  • Identify potential equipment, manpower, and other resources necessary to implement a spill response
  • Outline response procedures and techniques for combating the spill at a specific location
  • Improve regulatory compliance efforts
  • Minimize impact zones

Tactical spill plans should include location-specific details that include, but are not limited to:

  1. Photographs of response locations
  2. Maps
  3. Latitude and Longitude
  4. Property owner information
  5. Driving directions to the site from main roads
  6. Description of potential staging area(s)
  7. Specific response tactics for the site location
  8. Description of site and applicable waterways
  9. Site access specifications
  10. Security requirements
  11. Waterway flow rates
  12. Any critical response information that may be informative to responders
  13. Recommended equipment and personnel to implement response strategy
  14. Sensitive environments

Pipeline spills within waterways increase the complexity of a response. They require a higher level of coordination and communication in effort to minimize impending impacts. As a result, companies must maintain optimal pipeline spill response standards to address challenges. Those challenges include, but are not limited to:

  • Response time must be minimal due to spill flow rate and travel distances
  • Potential substantial equipment deployment
  • Waterway access points
  • Coordination and cooperation efforts with private landowners
  • May require extensive geographic surveys
  • Associated increased costs of deployment
  • Consequential costs associated with long-term cleanup activities 
  • Extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats, fishing, and/or tourism industries
  • Potential lawsuits

Analyzing possible spill trajectories through topographical features, wind speeds, and water flow rates allows planners to identify which areas are most likely to be impacted by a spill. Once these resources have been identified, proper response techniques and procedures specific to the sensitive areas must be incorporated into the response plan. Types of sensitive areas to evaluate during the planning phase include, but are not limited to:

Ecological: Examples of sensitive species include shore birds and other water fowl, marine life, commercially important wildlife, and species with limited distribution or populations. Sensitive habitats range from protected bays with marshes and tidal flats to open coast areas used as marine mammal or bird breeding sites.

Cultural: Areas of direct importance to humans including, but not limited to native lands, historical landmarks, waterfront parks, and recreational areas.

Economical: Populated areas that are highly valued because of their ability to generate income. Areas include tourist sites, real estate developments, urban developments, marinas, parks, and other locations.

Specific sensitive resources: Specific resources that are only available at that particular location, such as specialized suppliers, water sources, transportation systems, food sources.

  

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: Tactical Response Planning, Pipeline, Oil Spill

Enterprise-Wide Contingency Planning & Regulatory Compliance

Posted on Thu, May 07, 2015

Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs), or Emergency Response Plans, are often the centerpiece of a comprehensive emergency management program. EOPs should be flexible enough to be effective in a variety of emergency scenarios. However, many company emergency management programs, as well as specialized industrial facilities utilize an integrated contingency plan (ICP) to consolidate a variety of required site and response information.

An ICP is a comprehensive plan that documents necessary response actions, identifies the resources required to effectively manage potential hazards, and can fulfill compliance mandates for a variety of regulatory agencies.  ICPs enable facilities to comply with multiple federal planning requirements by consolidating them into one functional response plan.  Elements of an ICP will reflect the complexity of operations, response components, and required documentation. Depending upon the EOP’s structure and required content, hazard-specific information may be either included within an ICP or created as a separate stand-alone plan that can be distributed exclusively.

However, enterprise response planning with a variety of information into an ICP often becomes challenging when:

  • A company has multiple facilities utilizing multiple formats
  • The comprehensive plan format does not allow for the facility-specific information required for regulatory compliance
  • Plan updates result in “version confusion” or lack of data consistency
  • Known quantities of hazardous materials vary depending on operational status

An enterprise-wide template should serve as an outline for compliance required information, but should be populated with site-specific details. Utilizing a customizable, secure, web-based template with a database of common company planning information allows each site to provide facility-specific compliance data, as well as the precise information required to assist responders in determining the best response for the specific scenario.

With effective web-based formats and comprehensive, yet site-specific capability, emergency managers can;

  • Reduce the need for multiple plans
  • Minimize administrative costs
  • Simplify plan reviews
  • Minimize discrepancies across various plans
  • Streamline response effort directives from one source
  • Simplify required distribution in a secured manner

ICPs do not exempt facilities from applicable regulatory planning requirements pertinent to releases of hazardous and non-hazardous substances. Companies must evaluate each site for applicable regulatory requirements. . Fortunately, multiple federal agencies endorse the use of an ICP as a means to incorporate response planning regulations, and simplify the complex planning process. An ICP may be used to incorporate one or more of the following applicable federal regulations:

EPA
  • Oil Pollution Prevention Regulation (SPCC and Facility Response Plan Requirements), 40 CFR part 112.7(d) and 112.20-.21
  •  RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) Contingency Planning Requirements, 40 CFR part 264, Subpart D, 40 CFR part 265, Subpart D, and 40 CFR 279.52.
  • RMP (Risk Management Programs), 40 CFR part 68
Department of Transportation/Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
  • RSPA Pipeline Response Plan Regulation, 49 CFR part 194
  • US Coast Guard, Facility Response Plan Regulation, 33 CFR part 154, Subpart F
Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Emergency Action Plan Regulation, 29 CFR 1910.38(a)
  • OSHA's Process Safety Standard, 29 CFR 1910.119
  • OSHA's HAZWOPER Regulation, 29 CFR 1910.120

While ICPs may simplify the planning process, many companies still choose to maintain separate plans. Stand-alone plans typically contain site-specific, unique response details that apply to a single hazard, such as pandemic, hurricane, fire, or hazardous spill. Procedural, tactical, and/or incident-specific action plans tend to be location-based and often highlight operational hazards, inherent threats, or response needs. These stand-alone plans are often shared with specialized local responders and/or regulatory agencies to address specific regulatory requirements, such as the EPA’s SPCC plans (spill prevention, control, and countermeasure). Other stand-alone plans may be developed for crisis management situations, security-related incidents, and/or business continuity scenarios.

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: Pipeline, Facility Response Plan, Response Plans, Regulatory Compliance, Emergency Response Planning

PHMSA Initiates Pipeline Incident Notification Time Limit Advisory

Posted on Thu, Feb 14, 2013

On January 3, 2012, the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (Pub. L. 112-90) was signed into law. Section 9 of the Act obligates the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Administration (PHMSA) to implement time limit requirements for telephonic or electronic reporting of pipeline accidents and incidents to the Secretary and the National Response Center (NRC). Currently, PHMSA requires pipeline owners and operators to notify the NRC by telephone or electronically at the earliest practicable moment following discovery (§§ 191.5 and 195.52).

On January 30, 2013, an advisory bulletin was published by the Department of Transportation to advise owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquids pipeline systems and LNG facilities that the NRC should be notified within one hour of discovery of a pipeline incident. Owners, operators, or facilities are now also required to file additional telephonic reports if there are significant changes in the number of fatalities or injuries, product release estimates or the extent of damages.

The advisory reads as follows:

Owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines and LNG facilities are reminded that the pipeline safety regulations already require operators to make a telephonic report of an incident to the NRC in Washington, DC at the earliest practicable opportunity (usually one-to-two hours after discovering the incident). However, under Section 9(b)(1) of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, PHMSA is required to issue regulations requiring owners and operators to notify the NRC within one hour of discovery of a pipeline accident or incident. The 2011 Act requires PHMSA to establish a time limit for telephonic or electronic notification of an accident or incident to require such notification at the earliest practicable moment following confirmed discovery of an accident or incident that is not later than one hour following the time of such confirmed discovery. PHMSA will issue a proposed rule at a later date, but encourages owners and operators of the gas and hazardous liquids pipeline systems and LNG facilities, as a practice, to report such accidents and incidents within one hour of confirmed discovery.

According to the advisory, the following information is required during NRC notification:

  • Name of the operator
  • Name and telephone number of the person making the report
  • Location of the incident
  • Number of fatalities and injuries
  • All other significant facts relevant to the cause of the incident or extent of the damages.

“PHMSA will issue a proposed rule at a later date, but encourages owners and operators of the gas and hazardous liquids pipeline systems and LNG facilities, as a practice, to report such accidents and incidents within one hour of confirmed discovery.” The final ruling will require the following minimum requirements:

  1. Establish time limits for telephonic or electronic notification of an accident or incident to require such notification at the earliest practicable moment following confirmed discovery of an accident or incident and not later than 1 hour following the time of such confirmed discovery.
  2. Review procedures for owners and operators of pipeline facilities and the National Response Center to provide thorough and coordinated notification to all relevant State and local emergency response officials, including 911 emergency call centers, for the jurisdictions in which those pipeline facilities are located in the event of an accident or incident, and revise such procedures as appropriate.
  3. Require such owners and operators to revise their initial telephonic or electronic notice to the Secretary and the National Response Center with an estimate of the amount of the product released, an estimate of the number of fatalities and injuries, if any, and any other information determined appropriate by the Secretary within 48 hours of the accident or incident, to the extent practicable.

Download this free 9-Step sample Emergency Response Procedures Flow Chart.

TRP Corp -Response Procedure flowchart

Tags: PHMSA, Pipeline, Regulatory Compliance

NTSB Advocates Pipeline Safety

Posted on Mon, Jan 14, 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is pushing pipeline safety to the forefront its advocacy priorities for 2013.  Although transporting petroleum products through pipelines is safer than trucking, proactive corporate safety, emergency planning, and maintenance programs are required to continually improve pipeline infrastructures, identify potential threats, and improve the overall state of the current U.S. pipeline system.

Pipeline safety should continue to improve as increased funding for advanced inspection protocols, vulnerability insights, operators’ efforts, and advanced technologies are embraced. Over the past few years, a series of pipeline incidents has made national headlines and garnered the attention of policy-makers. However, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) statistics show that the average number of serious incidents has declined since 1992.

Infrastructure-critical petroleum products continue to flow  through existing pipelines, while the construction of new pipelines increases steadily. In 2013, policy makers may make decisive actions on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline extension, which would transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline critics draw attention to the number pipeline accidents that occur every year and highlight recent pipeline accidents, blaming aging pipeline infrastructure and minimal external oversight. However, the age of a pipeline is not a true indicator of material integrity or impending failure. Pipeline failure is ultimately related to how the pipeline is/was constructed, maintained, and operated.

According to PHMSA:

  • 175,000 miles (12%) of onshore and offshore pipelines carry hazardous liquids
  • 321,000 miles of gas transmission and gathering pipelines (38%), both onshore and offshore
  • 2,035,253 miles of pipelines are dedicated to gas distribution mains and services
  • 24% of total energy consumption in the U.S. is distributed by natural gas pipelines
  • Petroleum pipelines distribute 39% of total energy consumption in the U.S.

By implementing and prioritizing mitigation and preparedness (the first two phases of emergency management), industry-wide pipeline incidents, despite age, can be minimized. Below are some of the PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety supported mitigation and preparedness initiatives:

Mitigation

  • Expanding Integrity Management (IM) Protection reform
  • Valve Spacing & Remotely Operated/Automatically Operated Valves
  • Leak Detection Systems
  • Damage Prevention Programs, such as 811
  • Public Awareness pipeline safety messaging
  • Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA): aims to improve pipeline safety through implementation of recommended practices for risk informed land use and development planning.
  • Community Assistance and Technical Support (CATS): provides outreach to all pipeline safety stakeholders.
  • Stakeholder Communication Web Site

Preparedness

  • Pipeline Emergencies Training Program
  • National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS): consists of geospatial data, attribute data, public contact information, and metadata pertaining to the interstate and intrastate hazardous liquid trunk lines and hazardous liquid low-stress lines, gas transmission pipelines, liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, and hazardous liquid breakout tanks jurisdictional to PHMSA.
  • Transportation Research Board (TRB) Project - A Guide for Communicating Emergency Response Information for Natural Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines.
  • Advisory notices as necessary to inform affected pipeline operators and Federal and state pipeline safety personnel of matters that have the potential of becoming safety or environmental risks.

For information about SPCC Plans, download TRP Corp's free SPCC and FRP Inspections guide.

TRP - SPCC

Tags: PHMSA, Pipeline, Redundant Systems, Oil Spill, Safety

Inner-City Emergency Response Planning

Posted on Thu, Jan 10, 2013

Guest Blog contributed by Terry Strahan

There has been a number of emergency response situations located within major metropolitan areas in the past couple of years.  These urban events pose unique issues that are not common within typical emergency response scenarios. Traffic, storm sewers, complex drainage systems, unexpected release points, and the general public create additional obstacles for responders to navigate. There has been an outcry from local officials and the public for pipeline operators to be more aggressive in their approach to planning and responding to these types of inner-city scenarios. There have also been requests for pipeline operators to be more transparent in their response strategies. How pipeline operators are addressing these issues is a topic for discussion within many cities of all sizes in the United States.

Pipeline Operators go to great lengths in the emergency-planning phase to determine potential spill paths and impacts zones. But when it comes to inner-city responses, vital information that could have a major influence on how the emergency response is handled is not always shared. Storm sewers and drainage systems are typically complex networks of piping that lay beneath every city in America. Once a release of liquids or gas enters one of these systems, responders have no way of tracking its progress or determining an effective strategy for blocking the movement or distribution throughout the  system. As seen in the Salt Lake City incident in 2010, spilled product found its way into a city park in the middle of downtown. While spill modeling identified flow paths into Salt Lake City, not having maps of the underground storm sewer system prevented responders from having an effective spill response strategy. Operators and local officials need to work together with a common goal of determining how best to address this complex web of issues.

  • Operators should reach out to city and county officials to provide access to storm sewers and drainage system, for use in developing spill response plans
  • First Responders should team up with pipeline operators to participate in desktop scenarios and simulated spill response exercises in order to coordinate response efforts
  • Resource Pre-Planning should identify locations to best stage equipment for a more effective response
  • Identify Oil Spill Response Organizations (OSROs) ahead of time to prepare specialized resources and communicate Tactical Plan Overviews needed for proper deployment of these resources.

These are just a few of the action items that could impact the effectiveness of an Inner-City Spill Response. Site-specific considerations should be taken into account.

Federal, State, County and Local governments are weighting in on this topic with varying degrees of interest. While the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) is the driving force behind how federal laws are being enforced, actions by state and local officials could have a far more reaching effect on how to solve this issue.

Terry Strahan is the GIS Manager – Houston Operations at Morris P. Hebert, Inc. Terry has 20 years’ experience applying GIS technology to solving real-world problems in various fields, including Pipeline GIS Management and Environmental and Emergency Response and Gas, Electric and Landbase Data Management. He can be reach at 713-219-1470 ext. 4419.

For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.

TRP Fire Pre Plan Image

Tags: Pipeline, Crisis Mapping, Crisis Management, Event Preparedness, Disaster Response

Pipeline Companies and the Need for Tactical Response Plans

Posted on Thu, Dec 13, 2012

According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) 2009 Annual Report, the United States had approximately 2.5 million miles of pipelines transporting oil, natural gas, and hazardous liquids. However, pipelines continue to be constructed across the U.S. in efforts to secure higher capacities of oil and gas for a growing number of consumers.

In Nov. 2012, Bluestone Gas Corporation of New York Inc., a subsidiary of DTE Energy, began construction of a 44 mile, 20-inch diameter pipeline. Upon completion, the new segment will connect with current lines to carry natural gas from northern Pennsylvania to East Coast markets. The pipeline will have a capacity of 275 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, roughly enough to provide heat to 3,800 homes for a year.

Pipeline segments, whether new or existing, share common acreage with waterways, residential neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and municipalities. Pipelines are a distinct type of risk, since they typically do not utilize secondary containment. If a spill were to occur, the impact could be devastating on multiple fronts. By creating tactical response plans, pipeline companies can identify and plan for key geographical challenges that may delay responding to and managing a pipeline emergency.

The primary objectives of tactical response plans are to:

  • Allow response personnel to prepare for and safely respond to pipeline spill incidents
  • Pre-identify effective response locations downstream of potential spill sources.
  • Identify potential equipment, manpower, and other resources necessary to implement a spill response
  • Outline response procedures and techniques for specific locations
  • Improve regulatory compliance efforts
  • Minimize impact

If a pipeline release could impact waterways, pre planning by developing tactical response plans can lessen spill implications. Determining probable spill flow direction and flow rates from accurate topographical data can serve as a basis for planning. Tactical planning provides site-specific focus to emergency response plans, and applies a response perspective with specific, short-term actions, and provides details that allow responders to best access, assess, and quickly respond to pipeline spills. The identification of critical downstream response locations, necessary equipment suited for the site geography, and other site-specific details can significantly reduce response time with a rapid execution of appropriate response measures.

Tactical spill plans should include, but are not limited to:

  • Various photographs of each segment (including ground and aerial views, if possible)
  • Maps
  • Latitude and Longitude
  • Land/property owner information
  • Driving directions to the site from main roads
  • Description of potential staging area(s)
  • Specific response tactics for the site location
  • Description of site and applicable waterways
  • Site access specifications
  • Necessary security requirements
  • Waterway flow rates and composition
  • Any critical response information that may be informative to responders
  • Recommended equipment and personnel to implement response strategy
  • Other site specific pertinent issues that may hinder a response

Tactical plans are an effective collaborative response tool for companies to share with contracted response groups and local authorities. The planning process should involve detailed site examination and an understanding of the characteristics of the pipeline contents.  When tactical plans are coupled with Geographic Information System (GIS) data, response teams have an invaluable tool for an effective spill response. However, as with all response plans, tactical plans should be periodically reviewed for accuracy, and selectively exercised to test effectiveness.

For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.

TRP Fire Pre Plan Image

Tags: Pipeline, Crisis Mapping, Business Risk, Oil Spill, Disaster Response

Preparing for Spill Response

Posted on Mon, Jul 09, 2012

The initial stage of spill response planning should include an analysis of appropriate site specific response procedures and potential effects that a spill would have on nearby social, natural, and economic resources. Stakeholders and applicable levels of government and industry should be consulted and incorporated in spill response planning. Without the full participation of personnel, responders, contractors, and government entities, a plan may lack validity and credibility.

Personnel safety is the first priority in any spill response plan. Individuals who respond to hazardous material emergencies are required by OSHA to have -Online Training training.  HAZWOPER, short for the OSHA initiated Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard, communicates the required training associated with operations and potential spills or releases. Setting spill response priorities depends on a variety of site-specific details including, but not limited to:

  • location of spill at the facility
  • trajectory modeling
  • first and secondary containment
  • resource mapping of sensitive areas
  • physical limitation of response efforts

The goal of a spill response is to minimize the effects of the hazardous material on personnel, the environment, and property. Every spill response plan should include potential containment strategies.  Site-specific strategies may include one or more of the following:

  • boom deployment
  • diking
  • trenching and/or diversion
  • the use of sorbent material

Specific response actions will vary depending on the situation and company guidelines; however the following spill response actions, at a minimum, should be incorporated in a spill response plan;

1. Activate alarms

2. Call 911

3. Shut down source of spill and isolate product movement operations

4. Close all incoming and outgoing valves

5. Shut down potential ignition sources

6. Notify supervisor and communicate details including;

  • Location of spill
  • Size of spill
  • Product type
  • Present situation
  • Assistance/equipment requirements for response and/or cleanup

7. Limit spill from extending beyond immediate area

8. Isolate area and eliminate traffic in hazardous area

9. Block all potential drainage areas to prevent spilled material from traveling off-site, if safe       to do so.

10. Perform air monitoring to ensure safety

11. Initiate spill tracking and mitigate as necessary

12. Remove product from containment

13. If necessary, call an approved waste removal company

14. Complete follow-up and documentation

For a free guide that details the world of HAZWOPER training, download A Guide to HAZWOPER Training.

HAZWOPER training guide

Tags: Pipeline, Emergency Preparedness, Oil Spill, Training and Exercises, Chemical Industry

Pipeline Safety and the Aging Workforce

Posted on Thu, Apr 26, 2012

Contributed by Terry Strahan; GIS Manager, Houston Operations at Morris P. Hebert, Inc.

For years, pipeline operators have relied on a fixed, stable workforce as one of the key components of pipeline safety and emergency response. Career longevity allowed for field personnel to gain a detailed understanding of the system(s) they were required to maintain. This knowledge consisted of a wide array of documents, maps, and notes gained through years of site-specific experience in the field.

Field personnel have typically maintained the keys to a vast pool of local knowledge. Examples of the key information gained through experience include, but are not limited to:

  • Comprehensive understanding of relationships with individual landowners
  • Days and times of ideal access to a particular location..
  • Quick access to the Right-of Way through local knowledge of topography
  • Maps showing minor repairs, undisclosed valve locations, and known hot spots in a system that are not depicted on a company alignment sheet.

In the past, it was not uncommon for company personnel to have 20-30 years of experience in the pipeline system they supported. As these key first and second-generation pipeline resources retire, a large knowledge gap is developing from an inadequate “lessons learned” transfer process to incoming personnel. Important system and geographic details have been omitted from these transitions, potentially compromising pipeline safety and emergency response.

Companies are beginning to make a concerted effort to pass down detailed knowledge to new employees. As part of a company’s asset management program, engaging experienced field personnel in data review and validation can highlight areas where the local knowledge is imperative. In many instances, companies are hiring retirees as consultants in order to ensure the information is passed on to the next generation before it is lost forever.

The ebb and flow of company personnel affects every phase of pipeline operations, including emergency response. The need for a concise, effective, and well-developed emergency response plan is punctuated by the increase in trained, yet inexperienced, field responders. Fortunately, specialized technology has been able to fill certain knowledge gaps left by retiring field personnel. New responders are able to acquire local topography and associated information through the use of satellite imagery and digital elevation models (DEMs).  However, despite advances in technology, it is difficult to replace first-hand industry knowledge. Companies need to take the necessary steps to ensure crucial information is captured; the smallest of details could make a difference.

Terry Strahan has 20 years’ experience applying GIS technology to solve real-world problems in various fields, including Pipeline GIS Management, Environmental and Emergency Response, and Gas, Electric and Landbase Data Management. He can be reach at 713-219-1470 ext. 4419.

TRP Training

Tags: Pipeline, Business Continuity, Emergency Management, Resiliency

New 2012 Emergency Preparedness Codes and Standards

Posted on Mon, Feb 06, 2012

Below are a few of the new recent changes that have been implemented in 2012 regarding emergency response and emergency planning.

ISO 22320:2011, Societal security – Emergency management – Requirements for Incident Response “outlines global best practice for establishing command and control organizational structures and procedures, decision support, traceability and information management. Interoperability amongst involved organizations is essential for successful incident response. The standard also helps ensure timely, relevant and accurate operational information by specifying processes, systems of work, data capture and management. It also establishes a foundation for coordination and cooperation, ensuring that all relevant parties are on the same page during a disaster, minimizing the risk of misunderstandings and ensuring a more effective use of the combined resources.”

ISO 19011:2011, Guidelines for auditing management systems, has expanded on the ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment) standards to reflect the complexities of auditing multiple management system standards (MSS). The standard is meant to “assist organizations by optimizing and facilitating the integration of management systems through a single audit of its systems. This should streamline the audit processes, reduce duplication of effort, and decrease disruption of work units being audited.”

Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011: The new law doubles the maximum fines that pipeline operators face for safety violations, and requires PHMSA to issue new pipeline safety standards that require operators to install automatic or remote-controlled shut-off valves and excess flow valves in new or replaced transmission pipelines.

International Code Council 2012: Changes are a result of the 9/11 International Code Council Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism-Resistant Buildings investigations. Some of the changes in building construction that will aid in a more effective emergency response include:

  • Required elevators in high-rise buildings more than 120 feet tall. This improves firefighters’ access to higher floors, especially with heavy equipment.
  • An additional stairway for high-rises that are more than 420 feet tall.
  • In lieu of the additional stairway, an option to provide enhanced elevators that can be used by the building occupants for emergency evacuation, without waiting for assistance from emergency personnel.
  • A higher standard for fire resistance in high-rise buildings more than 420 feet tall
  • More robust fire proofing for buildings more than 75 feet tall, that will be less likely to be dislodged by impacts or explosions.
  • Shafts enclosing elevators and exit stairways which have impact resistant walls
  • Self-luminous exit pathway markings in all exit stairways that provide a lighted pathway when both the primary and secondary lighting fails.
  • Radio systems within the building to allow emergency personnel to better communicate with involved parties.

For a free guide that details the world of HAZWOPER training, download A Guide to HAZWOPER Training.

HAZWOPER training guide

Tags: PHMSA, Pipeline, Emergency Management, Crisis Management, Incident Management, Facility Management, National Preparedness