The United States (U.S.) Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is exploring methods for increasing usage and improving leak detection systems in both hazardous liquid and natural gas pipelines. This is a critical focus for PHMSA in the wake of several recent pipeline incidents where more effective and redundant leak detection systems may have lessened the experienced consequences. The U.S. Congress and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have recommended deploying more leak detection systems into the U.S. pipeline infrastructure to address increasing public safety and environment impact concerns. PHMSA has taken a number of actions to work toward this goal including increased operator guidance, fostering technology research, information gathering, and reports on state of the art technologies. This paper discusses PHMSA’s actions regarding leak detection systems and the progress in advancing the dialogue amongst hazardous liquids and natural gas pipeline operators, other regulators, and the public, so that considerations in deploying systems on vintage and new construction pipelines can be identified.

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