It’s Pipeline Safety Week at the PUCO – we’re dedicated to safe, reliable and environmentally sound natural gas pipeline operation.
Who regulates gas pipelines?
Natural gas pipeline safety rules are developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The state of Ohio has adopted the federal regulations and the PUCO enforces the regulations on the more than 77,000 miles of gas pipeline in Ohio.
How are pipelines inspected?
PUCO field inspectors perform compliance inspections of gas pipeline operators to ensure they are following design, construction, operation and maintenance safety regulations.
The condition of Ohio natural gas pipeline network varies by operator. Pipeline safety regulations do not specify an age limit for pipelines, but instead rely on performance standards to ensure safety. Among other criteria, pipelines must be protected from corrosion, have adequate wall thickness and be free of dents.
The PUCO recently required Ohio’s four major natural gas utilities to gradually update old cast iron and bare steel pipelines with more modern protected steel and plastic lines.
What about pipelines in populated areas?
The pipeline safety regulations require operators to lower the maximum allowable operating pressure of the pipeline, increase the frequency of leak surveys and odorize gas so leaks can be readily detected.
If you ever smell gas in your area, call 911 immediately.