UNDERSTANDING 49 CFR 192.195
Utilities unaware of regulations may inadvertently be noncompliant. Keeping up with regulatory revisions can help utilities plan for upcoming changes. Given all the requirements accompanying the recent release of a mega rule, utilities need time to plan for upgrades and retrofits. The rule in 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 192.195 provides the following guidelines:
- If the pipelines connected to a gas source exceed the MAOP, which could result in pressure control failure or some other type of failure, they must have pressure-relieving or pressure-limiting devices that meet the requirements of 192.199 and 192.201.
- Each distribution system supplied from a source of gas that is at a higher pressure than the MAOP for the system must:
- Have pressure regulation devices capable of meeting the pressure, load and other service conditions experienced in normal operation of the system, and which could be activated in the event of failure of some portion of the system.
- Be designed to prevent accidental overpressuring.
Regulating bodies (PHMSA and utility commissions) inspect facilities and check records for pipeline OPP regularly, to see that all the regulatory requirements are met. Any organization found to be out of compliance faces consequences, which could involve fines up to $2 million, legal action or both.
A utility must not rely solely on the upstream supplier providing OPP for maintaining inspection records, whether there are any changes in pressure or not. It should maintain its own records, so they are available whenever required. Also, most transmission companies will not provide these records to their customer. It is typically spelled out in the interconnection agreement that it is the responsibility of the customer to provide its own OPP per CFR 192.195.
As instructed by the U.S. Department of Transportation under pipeline safety regulations, operators are responsible for protecting their pipelines from pressure control failures. They must therefore either maintain their own overpressure protection devices or monitor the supplier’s device and record the type, location and inspection date for each device. These records should be traceable, verifiable, complete and reliable.
But it does beg the question: How could your system overpressurize?