Over the past 20 years, excavation damage has caused approximately one-third of energy pipeline incidents resulting in fatalities or in-patient hospitalizations in the U.S. While excavation damage to pipeline facilities has declined in recent years, reducing excavation damage to energy pipelines remains a top priority for the United States. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation is undertaking several initiatives to reduce excavation damage to energy pipelines. This paper summarizes several of these initiatives, including: PHMSA’s strong support of the 1999 Common Ground Study, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), and the continued development of damage prevention best practices for all damage prevention stakeholders; the documentation of State damage prevention programs to understand where programs can be strengthened; support of State damage prevention programs in the form of funding and other assistance to states for implementation of the “nine elements” of effective damage prevention programs; a focused damage prevention research and development program; the coordination of the Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA), which is an effort to develop and foster the use of recommended practices for local land use in the vicinity of transmission pipelines; and the development of a rule for federal enforcement of damage prevention laws when appropriate. PHMSA believes comprehensive damage prevention programs are essential to energy pipeline safety and must have the right balance of incentive and enforcement for preventing damage to pipelines.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.