Sec. 150-4-9 - Rules and Regulations Governing Gas Pipeline Safety

ยง 150-4-9. Rules and Regulations Governing Gas Pipeline Safety

9.1. Intentions.

9.1.1 Pursuant to the powers vested and the authority given under Chapter 24B, Code of West Virginia, the Public Service Commission of West Virginia prescribes, adopts and issues the following rules and regulations governing the transportation of natural and other gas by pipeline. These rules are intended to ensure uniformity and are designed to decrease accidents, save human lives, reduce property loss, and otherwise benefit the pipeline companies and the public.

9.1.2. The adoption of these rules and regulations shall in no way preclude the Public Service Commission from altering them or amending them in whole or part, and from requiring any additional information either upon complaint, its own motion, or upon application of any pipeline company. These rules and regulations are intended to supplement the statute and shall not relieve in any way a pipeline company of its duties under the laws of this State.

9.2. Application of rules.

9.2.1. These rules shall apply to (i) all pipeline companies, and (ii) interstate transmission facilities, as hereinafter defined.

9.3. Adoption of federal regulations.

9.3.1. The regulations promulgated by the Office of Pipeline Safety of the United States Department of Transportation, published in Title 49 CFR Parts 191, 192, 195 and 199, shall apply to all pipeline companies and interstate transmission facilities.

9.4. Rules of practice and procedure.

9.4.1. The Rules of Practice and Procedure adopted by the Commission where appropriate and applicable shall apply to all pipeline companies.

9.5. Definitions.

9.5.1. When used in relation to gas pipeline safety in these rules:

9.5.1.a. "Act of 1968" means the act of Congress known as the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968;

9.5.1.b. "Commission" means the Public Service Commission of West Virginia;

9.5.1.c. "Director" means the director of the Gas Pipeline Safety Section of the Commission;

9.5.1.d. "Gas" means natural gas, flammable gas, or gas which is toxic or corrosive;

9.5.1.e. "Interstate transmission facilities" means facilities used in the transportation of gas which are subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the act of Congress known as the Natural Gas Act;

9.5.1.f. "Operator" means a person who engages in the transportation of gas or hazardous liquids by pipeline;

9.5.1.g. "Person" means any individual, firm, joint venture, partnership, corporation, association, state, municipality, cooperative association, or joint-stock association, and includes any trustee, receiver, assignee, or personal representative thereof;

9.5.1.h. "Pipeline company" means a person engaged in the operation of pipeline facilities or the transportation of gas subject to the provisions of Chapter 24B of the West Virginia Code;

9.5.1.i. "Pipeline facilities" means, without limitation, new and existing pipe, pipe right-of-way and any equipment, facility, or building used in the transportation of gas or the treatment of gas during the course of transportation; or used in the transportation of hazardous liquid or the treatment of hazardous liquid during the course of transportation; but "right-of-way" used in Chapter 24B of the West Virginia Code, as amended, does not authorize the Commission to prescribe the location of routing of any pipeline facility.

9.5.1.j. "Rural" means those locations which lie outside the limits of any incorporated or unincorporated city, town, village, or any other designated residential or commercial area such as a subdivision, a business or shopping center, a community development, or any similar populated area which the Director may define as a nonrural area;

9.5.1.k. "System" means all pipeline facilities used by a particular operator in the transportation of gas, including but not limited to, line pipe, valves and other appurtenances connected to line pipe, compressor units, fabricated assemblies associated with compressor units, metering (including customers' meters) and delivery stations, and fabricated assemblies in metering and delivery stations;

9.5.1.l. "Transportation of gas" means the gathering, transmission or distribution of gas by pipeline or its storage.

9.6. Accidents or incidents.

9.6.1. Every operator shall report to the Commission all accidents or incidents involving its pipeline facilities operated within the State of West Virginia that cause personal injuries requiring hospitalization, fatality, or estimated damage to the property of the operator, or others, or both, totaling fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more.

9.6.2. The Commission shall be notified of all such accidents or incidents as soon as possible, consistent with public welfare and safety. In those instances where a telephonic report to the Department of Transportation is required, a similar report of the accident or incident shall be made by telephone or telegraph to:

Public Service Commission

Gas Pipeline Safety Division

P. O. Box 812

Charleston, West Virginia 25323

Telephone: Area Code (304) 340-0473

9.6.3. Every operator shall furnish to the Commission, within thirty (30) days after the occurrence of a reportable accident or incident, a written report of such accident or incident, together with a summary of the operator's investigation as to the cause and circumstances surrounding the accident or incident. The report shall be made on the Commission form designated Accident or Incident Report, or on a form acceptable to the Commission showing the same information. Such report shall also contain the precautions taken, or to be taken, to prevent similar accidents or incidents in the future.

9.6.3.a. If certain information is not available, the incomplete report should be submitted indicating this unavailability. When the information becomes available, a supplemental report will be submitted.

9.6.4. Operators that submit reports of accidents or incidents to federal agencies are permitted to file copies of such reports with this Commission in lieu of the report required by Rule 9.6.3.

9.7. Inspection and maintenance plans.

9.7.1. Every operator shall file with the Commission a plan for the inspection and maintenance of pipeline facilities owned or operated by it, and shall subsequently file any changes in such plan. The plan shall cover gas transmission facilities, distribution facilities, and those gathering or production facilities located in nonrural areas. The essential requirements stated in title 49 CFR Part 192.605, shall be covered by the plan. If at any time the Director finds that such plan is inadequate to achieve safe operation, the Director shall, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, require such plan to be revised. (NOTE: It is not the intent to require the operators that have complied with the provisions of this rule to refile upon the effective date of these rules and regulations).

9.7.2. Any change in the inspection and maintenance plan required by Rule 9.7.1. must be filed with the Commission within ten (10) days of the effective date of said change.

9.8. Major construction.

9.8.1. Every operator shall notify the Commission of all important additions to its system at least thirty (30) days prior to the commencement of any construction.

9.8.1.a. The requirements of Rule 9.8.1. shall not apply to gathering pipelines in rural areas.

9.8.1.b. An important addition is a single project, other than well drilling, involving an estimated expenditure of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or more for transmission pipeline construction, fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or more, for distribution pipeline construction or an amount equivalent to ten percent (10%) or more of the total value of the system in service, whichever is less.

9.8.2. The report shall include the following:

9.8.2.a. Description and location of project and expected starting and completion dates, along with the name, address and telephone number of the person to be contacted regarding the project.

9.8.2.b. Maximum allowable operating pressure.

9.8.2.c. Location class.

9.8.2.d. Material specifications in sufficient detail to permit appraisal of the safety aspects of the facility.

9.8.2.e. Pressure testing procedures to be used.

9.8.3. Every operator shall place on file with the Commission information concerning the welding and inspection procedures to be followed during the construction of new facilities.

9.9. Completion report.

9.9.1. Within sixty (60) days after the completion of an addition, a report shall be filed with the Commission which certifies that the facilities were constructed according to the previously submitted major construction report required by Rule 9.8. The completion report shall also include the pressure test data for the project.

9.10. Maximum Penalties.

9.10.1. Any person who violates any provision of these rules and regulations or orders issued thereunder, shall be subject to the criminal and civil penalties ascribed and imposed by Chapter 24, Article 4, Sections 1 through 5, inclusive, and Chapter 24B, Article 4, Section 6, all of the Code of West Virginia. Such sanctions and penalties include, but are not limited to, a civil penalty to be imposed by the Commission of not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each violation for each day that the violation persists: Provided, that the maximum civil penalty shall not exceed two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for any related series of violations, with the right of appeal in all cases to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

9.11. Availability of information.

9.11.1. Information concerning the implementation of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act may be obtained from the Office of Pipeline Safety, Department of Transportation, 400 7th St., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590, or the Gas Pipeline Safety Division, Public Service Commission of West Virginia, 201 Brooks Street, P. O. Box 812, Charleston, West Virginia 25323.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.