In recent years there has been an industry wide initiative to verify operating pressures by reviewing source records and ensuring they are traceable, verifiable, and complete. A methodology was presented in a recent paper (A Practical Approach to Pipeline System Materials Verification by Lutz and Bubenik) to systematically review and organize records into an auditable framework (i.e. a GIS compatible listing or database). Once operators have completed their systematic records review, they are advised to maximize their investment by performing appropriate on-going records maintenance.
An effective records maintenance program will include the following elements to ensure effective management-of-change and continuous quality assurance and quality control. 1. Source documents will be made available to the company engineers and technicians that use the verified information to make everyday integrity and operational decisions (i.e. use a GIS interface to link verified information to the source documents). 2. A controlled process for management-of-change that effectively integrates new construction and replacement records into the existing database. 3. Continuously verify and cross-check pipeline system material properties with… a. …destructive material testing of any pipe that is removed or replaced. b. …in-the-ditch NDE methodologies, such as UT wall-thickness measurements and hardness to yield strength testing. c. …global survey data such as GIS and in-line inspection. 4. A controlled process to resolve records failures that includes the following steps: a. Identify and isolate the data point(s) that are the cause of the records failure. b. Establish a boundary around the potential extents of the records failure. c. Systematically investigate within the established boundary and verify the data discrepancies until the records failure is resolved to a reasonable certainty.
By implementing a records maintenance program with these elements, operators will ensure that their records database will be maintained and that the information being relied upon for daily integrity and operational decisions is reliable. Operators will decrease the likelihood of issues resulting from records failures and will ensure their records organization will with stand the scrutiny of future audits and records investigations.