[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 123 (Monday, June 28, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36615-36619]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-15633]



Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 192

[Docket No. PHMSA-RSPA-2004-19854]

Pipeline Safety: Information Collection Gas Distribution Annual 
Report Form

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), 

ACTION: Request for public comments and OMB approval of modifications 
to an existing information collection.


SUMMARY: As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the 
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) 
published a notice in the Federal Register on December 4, 2009, under 
Docket No. PHMSA-2004-19854 of its intent to revise the agency's Gas 
Distribution System Annual Report Form (PHMSA F 7100.1-1). PHMSA F 
7100.1-1 is covered under the PHMSA information collection titled: 
``Incident and Annual Reports for Gas Pipeline Operators,'' with an OMB 
Control Number of 2137-0522. PHMSA is publishing this notice to respond 
to comments and announce that the revised information collection will 
be submitted to OMB for approval. This notice also informs operators of 
gas distribution systems that PHMSA is planning for the revised Annual 
Report Form, once approved, to be used for the 2010 calendar year and 
submitted to PHMSA by March 15, 2011. The portion of the annual report 
relative to mechanical fitting (compression couplings) failures will be 
delayed by one year and will take effect starting with the 2011 
calendar year.

DATES: Submit comments to OMB on or before July 28, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by the docket number 
``PHMSA-2004-19854'' and OMB Control Number ``2137-0522'' by any of the 
following methods:
     Fax: 1-202-395-6566, ATTN: Desk Officer for Department of 
Transportation (DOT)/PHMSA.
     Mail: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), 
OMB, 726 Jackson Place, NW., Washington, DC 20503, ATTN: Desk Officer 
     E-mail: OIRA, Office of Management and Budget, at the 
following address: [email protected] (ATTN: Desk Officer 
    Requests for a copy of the information collection should be 
directed to Cameron Satterthwaite, 202-366-1319 or by e-mail at 
[email protected], or by mail at DOT, PHMSA, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Technical Information: Mike Israni, 202-366-4571 or by e-mail at 
[email protected].
    Information Collection: Cameron Satterthwaite, 202-366-1319 or by 
e-mail at [email protected].

[[Page 36616]]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  Section 1320.8(d), Title 5, Code of Federal 
Regulations requires PHMSA to provide interested members of the public 
and affected agencies an opportunity to comment on information 
collection and recordkeeping requests. This notice identifies a revised 
information collection request that PHMSA will be submitting to OMB for 
approval. This information collection is contained in the pipeline 
safety regulations at 49 CFR parts 190-199. PHMSA has revised burden 
estimates, where appropriate, to reflect the proposed adjustments to 
the Gas Distribution System Annual Report Form (PHMSA F 7100.1-1). The 
following information is provided for the information collection: (1) 
Title of the information collection; (2) OMB control number; (3) type 
of request; (4) abstract of the information collection activity; (5) 
description of affected public; (6) estimate of total annual reporting 
and recordkeeping burden; and (7) frequency of collection. PHMSA will 
request a three-year term of approval for the information collection 
activity. PHMSA is posting the revised Gas Distribution Annual Report 
Form and instructions to Docket No. PHMSA-2004-19854. Once approved, 
the revised Annual Report Form will be used to collect information for 
the 2010 calendar year and submitted to PHMSA by March 15, 2011. The 
portion of the annual report relative to mechanical fitting 
(compression couplings) failures will be delayed by one year and will 
take effect starting with the 2011 calendar year.
    This notice includes the following:

I. Background
II. Summary of Comments
III. Proposed Information Collection Revisions and Request for 

I. Background

    On December 4, 2009, (74 FR 34906), PHMSA published a final rule 
titled: ``Pipeline Safety: Integrity Management Program for Gas 
Distribution Pipelines.'' The Distribution Integrity Management Program 
(DIMP) rulemaking established the requirements for integrity management 
programs for Gas Distribution systems. In the DIMP notice of proposed 
rulemaking, PHMSA proposed the reporting of all plastic pipe failures. 
In the final rule, PHMSA modified this proposal to limit the reporting 
of plastic pipe failures to those occurring on compression couplings 
but extended the collection to include couplings used in metal pipe. 
PHMSA initially provided an opportunity for comments on this proposal 
for 30 days and subsequently published another Federal Register notice 
(December 31, 2009; 74 FR 69286) to allow for a total comment period of 
60 days. PHMSA is developing a final rule to address the comments 
received on this proposal and revise the pipeline safety regulations to 
clarify the extent of pipe fittings involved in the compression 
coupling (mechanical fitting) failure information collection, revise 
key dates for the collection and submission of mechanical fitting 
failure information, align threat categories in Sec.  192.1007 with the 
``cause of leak'' categories on the Annual Report Form and 
Instructions, and clarify the Excess Flow Valve (EFV) metric to be 
reported by operators of gas systems.
    In addition to the comment period for the proposed regulatory 
requirements, PHMSA used the December 4, 2009, final rule to announce a 
60-day comment period seeking public comments about the proposed 
modification of the information collection: OMB Control Number 2137-
0522, with respect to the corresponding annual report form (Form PHMSA 
F 7100.1-1 Annual Report for Gas Distribution Systems). Section 191.11 
requires each operator of a gas distribution pipeline system, except as 
provided in Sec.  191.11(b), to submit report Form PHMSA F 7100.1-1 
Annual Reports for Gas Distribution System. The proposed revisions to 
PHMSA F 7100.1-1 are needed for operators to submit information 
required by the DIMP final rule regarding compression coupling 
(mechanical fitting) failures, four program performance measures, and 
the number of EFVs in the system at the end of the year on single-
family residential services. The purpose of this notice is to address 
comments received from the 60-day comment period and announce the 
changes to the annual report form that will be submitted to OMB for 

II. Summary of Comments

    PHMSA received twenty-three letters commenting on the proposed 
compression coupling (now referred to as mechanical fittings) reporting 
requirements on the Distribution Annual Report Form. The comments were 
from twelve pipeline operators, two trade associations representing 
pipeline operators, NAPSR representing State pipeline safety 
regulators, one State pipeline regulatory agency, two manufacturers, 
and one industry consultant. Several commenters submitted multiple 
letters. In addition to comments about the specific information to be 
collected, commenters expressed concern that the reporting requirements 
will require operators to perform a ``root cause'' analysis of each 
failure. Based on discussion at the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards 
Committee (TPSSC) meeting and comments submitted to the docket, PHMSA 
has further modified the proposed Distribution Annual Report Form. A 
summary of comments about the proposed changes to the information 
collection, PHMSA's responses, and the date operators are to begin 
using the revised form are provided below.
    The comments were grouped into the following topic summaries:
    Comment Topic 1 PRA procedural requirements in making proposed 
changes to the Gas Distribution System Annual Report form; information 
being collected is not compatible with the purpose of the gas 
distribution system annual report.
    Comment Topic 2 Delete, change and define data fields and align 
terms used in Sec.  192.1009, and proposed Part F of the annual report 
and instructions.
    Comment Topic 3 Proposals for other changes to the Gas Distribution 
System Annual Report Form and instructions.
    A discussion of each comment topic and PHMSA's response to each 
    Comment Topic 1: PRA procedural requirements in making proposed 
changes to the Gas Distribution System Annual Report form; information 
being collected is not compatible with the purpose of the gas 
distribution system annual report.
    Several commenters maintained that PHMSA's proposal to modify the 
Gas Distribution Annual Report information collection did not meet the 
requirements of 44 U.S.C 3501 et seq. of the PRA of 1995. They 
indicated that PHMSA did not provide an adequate description of the 
need, a statement of purpose for the data collection, or an evaluation 
of the cost benefit of collecting this data. They claimed the proposed 
changes to the information collection were burdensome, substantive, and 
without benefit to public safety in near term. Additionally, one 
commenter stated that the intent of the information collection 
presented in the proposed rule differed from how the information 
collection was prescribed in the final rule in Sec.  192.1009.
    Southwest Gas maintained that some of the changes were inconsistent 
with the discussion held with TPSSC on December 12, 2008, and requested 
that the issue be brought back to the TPSSC for its review and 
    Some commenters believed that there should be a separate 
information collection for mechanical fitting failure data. Commenters 
claimed that the mechanical fitting failure data was too detailed for 
reporting via the Annual

[[Page 36617]]

Report Form. A commenter stated that the purpose of the Annual Report 
Form is to summarize data about an operator's system for the prior 
year. One commenter suggested the information be collected using the 
Incident Report form. Another commenter suggested that information 
could be collected in a manner consistent with the Plastic Pipe Data 
    PHMSA Response: PHMSA is taking the necessary measures to comply 
with the PRA procedural requirements in amending PHMSA F 7100.1-1. The 
60-day notice published in the December 4, 2009, DIMP final rule and 
this 30-day notice are part of those steps to comply with the PRA 
requirements. PHMSA will not implement the amendments to PHMSA F 
7100.1-1 until PHMSA has received approval from OMB.
    Mechanical fitting failure has been the cause of a number of 
incidents on distribution pipelines in recent years and the subject of 
two PHMSA advisories. PHMSA needs additional information concerning 
mechanical fitting failures to determine if there are any trends or 
concerns regarding mechanical fitting failures in the industry. To 
identify trends, there needs to be sufficient data to characterize the 
type of fittings which are more susceptible to failure. If too little 
information is collected about the attributes of the fitting, only 
broad generalizations could be developed. PHMSA seeks to identify the 
smallest subset of mechanical fittings which pose the highest risk. The 
information collection will assist PHMSA in identifying problems where 
additional targeted requirements may be needed to protect public safety 
and help prevent future incidents. While the majority of mechanical 
fittings currently being installed are plastic, problems have been 
identified with existing steel mechanical fittings. The quality of 
original pipeline installation, quality of the original material, 
changes in the environment, and the appropriateness of the original 
design application can manifest itself in problems over time. For this 
reason, in the DIMP final rule, PHMSA invited public comment on the 
extension of this requirement to include reporting of mechanical 
fittings failures on metal pipe. This information collection may assist 
operators in identifying specific mechanical fittings, including 
installation or design practices, which pose the greatest threat to the 
integrity of their pipeline system.
    PHMSA provided the requirements for reporting the information 
collected in Parts D, E, and F on the Annual Report Form in the DIMP 
proposed rule and final rule. Additionally, PHMSA discussed the 
proposed changes with the TPSSC as detailed in the transcript to the 
meeting which may be reviewed in under Docket Number PHMSA-2009-0203 at 
www.Regulations.gov. In discussing the revised form with TPSSC, PHMSA 
conveyed that the purpose of the information to be collected is to 
determine the root cause of the fitting failures. PHMSA mentioned that 
even if the plastic pipe failures were removed from reporting, 
compression coupling (mechanical fitting) failure reporting would still 
be retained. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had 
informed PHMSA that a safety recommendation pertaining to the data 
collection of mechanical fitting failure information was imminent and 
recommended that PHMSA revise the DIMP final rule to address more 
explicitly the risks from compression coupling failures. Based on the 
discussion at the TPSSC meeting, PHMSA decided to reduce the frequency 
of the reporting from within 90 days of failure to annually.
    Operators conveyed that they need six to twelve months to modify 
their Information Technology systems, internally generated forms, and 
data collection procedures to accommodate DIMP-related information 
collection requirements. In direct response to that concern, PHMSA has 
revised the Annual Report form and instructions to specify the delayed 
collection of mechanical fitting failure information in Part F. PHMSA 
is planning for operators to begin the collection of mechanical fitting 
failure information on January 1, 2011, for the 2011 Calendar Year with 
final submission by March 15, 2012. PHMSA supports the involvement of 
all stakeholders during the review process for future amendments to the 
Annual Report form based on the data collected. PHMSA is revising the 
level of effort to complete this information collection as detailed in 
section III: Proposed Information Collection Revisions and Request for 
    PHMSA uses the information operators report on the Annual Report as 
one method to evaluate operator performance and identify national 
trends. PHMSA strives to enhance safety in a risk-based, systematic 
approach to developing and refining pipeline safety programs. The 
collection of mechanical fitting failure information supports these 
objectives. While the information could be collected through a separate 
information collection, the Annual Report Form is an established 
channel and not incongruous with its purpose. Information operators 
submit about their transmission integrity management programs was 
recently integrated into the Transmission Annual Report Form. It was 
logical to have distribution integrity management information be 
reported on the Distribution Annual Report Form. PHMSA is pursuing 
electronic reporting for the Annual Report Form which will reduce the 
reporting burden on operators. The electronic submission of data will 
increase the accuracy and quality of data collected which, in turn, 
will improve PHMSA's data integration efforts. Information about 
electronic filing can be found in the Updates to Pipeline and Liquefied 
Natural Gas Reporting Requirements notice of proposed rulemaking 
published on July 2, 2009 (74 FR 31675).
    Comment Topic 2: Delete, change and define data fields. Align terms 
used in Sec.  192.1009, the Annual Report Form and Instructions, and 
the Incident Report Form and Instructions
    Commenters noted that some of the information requested in the form 
regarding mechanical fitting failures may not be available and if it is 
available, would require a significant effort to locate. The 
information cited on the proposed form included ``lot number'', 
``coupling manufacturer'', and ``decade of manufacture''. Commenters 
claimed that external coatings may obscure the manufacturer's markings. 
Operators were concerned about potential consequences of leaving fields 
empty on the Annual Report if they could not locate the information. 
They requested that these fields be deleted and if they were not 
deleted, that PHMSA provide operators relief when the information is 
not readily available or apparent.
    Comments were submitted regarding each mechanical fitting failure 
data field on the proposed Annual Report form. These comments are 
summarized in the table below.
    PHMSA Response: Locating data requires a reasonable effort on the 
part of operators. Nonetheless, PHMSA recognizes that operators may not 
be able to locate some of the data requested. While operators may not 
always be able to identify some of the data, the data they can identify 
will assist in determining the extent of a mechanical fitting failure 
issue. More granular data such as ``lot number'' and ``manufacturer'' 
may assist in narrowing an issue to a smaller group of fittings. The 
Annual Report form and instructions provide for the operator to record 
``UNAVAILABLE'' if the operator cannot locate the ``lot number'', 
``manufacturer'', or the ``part or model Number'' data. Accordingly, 
PHMSA retains the reporting requirements

[[Page 36618]]

included in the DIMP final rule for each mechanical fitting failure 
data field.
    We have changed the title for Part F on the Annual Report Form from 
``compression coupling'' to ``mechanical fitting''.
    The comments and related PHMSA response pertaining to the data 
fields are summarized in the following table:

        Annual report                       Public comments
Coupling Manufacturer........   The Incident Report form
                                cautions that the industry jargon
                                concerning compression fittings can be
                                misleading. Manufacturers have utilized
                                each other's components and sell
                                ``private labeled'' fittings under their
                                own name. Manufacturer's names change.
PHMSA Response...............  The instructions from the Incident Report
                                Form are repeated in the Annual Report
                                Form instructions for this field. The
                                instructions address the commenters'
                                concerns about identifying the
                                manufacturer who produced the fitting.
Model No.....................   The model number is usually not
                                available. Consider deleting the field.
PHMSA Response...............  Field retained. Operators are to record
                                ``UNAVAILABLE'' when they cannot locate
                                the information with reasonable effort.
Lot Number...................   The lot number is usually not
                                available. Consider deleting the field.
PHMSA Response...............  Field retained. Operators are to record
                                ``UNAVAILABLE'' when they cannot locate
                                the information with reasonable effort.
Decade of Manufacture........   Operators generally know when a
                                fitting was installed but not
                                necessarily when the fitting was
                                manufactured. The fitting may have been
                                in stock for years prior to
                                installation. The information is not
                                readily available.
                                Change to ``Decade of
                                The decade a fitting is
                                manufactured may not be accurate because
                                the information would have to be
                                inferred from pipe installation records
PHMSA Response...............  The field ``Decade of Manufacture'' was
                                split into two fields for the operator
                                to provide the best information the
                                operator has available; ``Year
                                Installed'' and ``Year Manufactured''.
                                The year of installation is generally
                                shown on the as-built drawing and/or on
                                a map. If neither the year installed nor
                                the year manufactured is known but the
                                decade manufactured is known, the field
                                ``Decade Manufactured'' is to be used.
Location in System...........   Use radio buttons similar to
                                those in the Incident Report.
                                ``Meter set'' and ``Riser
                                joint'' are confusing. A failure on a
                                flexible field assembled riser could be
                                reported as located either at the meter
                                set or in a riser joint.
PHMSA Response...............  The field ``Location in the System'' was
                                split into two fields, ``Location of
                                System'' and ``Type of Mechanical
                                Fitting'', to better identify and reduce
                                confusion as to where the failed fitting
                                was located. The ``Location in the
                                System'' will identify if the fitting is
                                above or below ground, inside or
                                outside, and if it connects a main-to-
                                main, a main-to-service, or a service-to-
                                main. The type of mechanical fittings
                                include: service/main tee, tapping tee,
                                transition fitting, coupling, riser,
                                adapter, valve, sleeve, or other
                                fitting. Radio buttons are provided.
Nominal Pipe Size............   Change the instructions for
                                ``Nominal pipe size'' and ``Material
                                Type'' to ``Enter the piping material to
                                which the leaking/pulled-out compression
                                fitting was connected.'' and ``Enter the
                                nominal piping size''.
PHMSA Response...............  Radio buttons for most common nominal
                                pipe sizes were added to the form along
                                with a selection of the dimension type
                                of IPS, CTS, or NPS.
Material Type (Body).........   Segregate the data sets for
                                plastic fittings from metal fittings to
                                avoid confusion in the data.
                                Add type of materials being
                                joined by the compression couplings.
PHMSA Response...............  The ``Material Type (Body)'' field was
                                split into three fields to identify the
                                fitting material and the material of the
                                two pipes connected to the fitting.
Nature of Failure............   Consider deleting the field.
                                Change to ``Cause of Release''
                                or ``Cause of Leak''.
                                Change to ``Apparent Root
                                Determining the ``nature of
                                failure'' goes beyond reporting to
                                performing a ``root cause'' analysis.
                                Operators would need to develop new
                                practices and procedures to determine
                                root cause.
                                PHMSA should develop procedures
                                for how to perform a root cause
                                Select the ``nature of failure''
                                from the following choices: ``leak
                                through seal'', ``leak through body'' or
                                Select the ``nature of failure''
                                from the existing eight causes from Part
                                C of the Annual Report Form.
                                Compressive forces during
                                installation may be fixed by design or
                                they may be influenced by human factors.
                                External forces or environmental changes
                                may also affect them.
                                Performance of compression
                                couplings are dependent upon design,
                                fabrication, installation, application,
                                and external factors.
                                Need to further delineate
                                between types of couplings. Request
                                industry stakeholder group create
                                standard for performing a root cause
                                analysis and for reporting of data.
                                Gather factual data regarding
                                the largest problems: installation and
                                application practices. Operators should
                                report data, not the failure cause.
                                Reporting of cause requires expert
                                forensic analysis. Remove
                                ``manufacturing defect'' as operators
                                cannot determine.
                                Analysis is best performed at
                                the operator level.
PHMSA Response...............  Field retained. Operators are to record
                                ``UNAVAILABLE'' when they cannot locate
                                the information with reasonable effort.
                                Operators are required to investigate
                                failures per section 192.617. The
                                investigation of a hazardous leak on a
                                mechanical fitting would follow the
                                operator's established procedure for
                                determining the cause of the failure.
                                The field ``Nature of Failure'' was
                                changed to ``Apparent cause of leak''
                                and provided the same choices as on the
                                Annual Report Form in Part C- Total
                                Leaks and Hazardous leaks eliminated/
                                repaired During Year. Additionally, the
                                field was split into two additional
                                fields for operators to select the type
                                of defect (construction, material,
                                design, previous damage, thermal
                                expansion/contraction) and the location
                                of the leak (leak through seal, leak
                                through body, pull-out).
Number of Similar Failures...   Term ``Number of Similar
                                Failures'' was not mentioned in
                                Determining the number of
                                similar failures requires judgment.
                                Consider deleting the field.
                                Nature of the information requested,
                                such as lot number/part number makes it
                                impractical to have similar failures.
                                Confusing and inappropriate--
                                Consider deleting the field.

[[Page 36619]]

PHMSA Response...............  This field was intended to reduce the
                                number of failures an operator would
                                report if they were similar in nature.
                                Due to the confusion, PHMSA eliminates
                                this field.

    Comment Topic 3 Proposals for Other Changes to the Gas Distribution 
System Annual Report Form and Instructions.
    Some of the other comments proposed changes to other parts of the 
Annual Report Form. A commenter requested that one of the columns 
titled: ``Other'' in Part B.1 be amended to ``Other Plastic'' to be 
consistent with Part B.2 and B.3. Another commenter maintained that 
based on The Integrity Management for Gas Distribution Report of Phase 
1 Investigations (December 2005), the ``PERCENT OF UNACCOUNTED FOR 
GAS'' in Part H is not a valid national level performance measure and 
should be removed from the Annual Report Form.
    NAPSR suggested that PHMSA modify the form instructions to align 
with the changes recently made to the incident report form and 
instructions. NAPSR also proposed a revision of the definition of 
``excavation damage'' to include ``damaged tracer wire'' and the use of 
the term ``enclosure'' as opposed to the ``housing'' for the line 
    Commenters also requested a ``save'' feature for electronic 
reporting so that the report can be printed out and circulated for 
review prior to electronic submittal. Additionally, they noted the 
importance of the use of pick lists when possible instead of free form 
data collection.
    PHMSA Response: PHMSA appreciates the input commenters provided to 
improve the Annual Report Form. PHMSA made an editorial correction to 
the column titles for ``Other'' in Part B.1 and B.2 on the proposed 
Annual Report form. A ``save'' feature will be available for electronic 
data submission for the revised annual report. The paper submission 
includes pick lists as will future electronic submission. Under this 
information collection notice, PHMSA limits changes to and addresses 
comments about the Annual Report form and instructions to those 
proposed in the DIMP final rule.

III. Proposed Information Collection Revisions and Request for Comments

    The revised burden hours associated with this information 
collection is:
    Title of Information Collection: Incident and Annual Reports for 
Gas Pipeline Operators.
    OMB Control Number: 2137-0522.
    Type of Request: Revision of currently approved information 
collection to one form within the information collection, PHMSA F 
7100.1-1 Annual Reports for Gas Distribution System.
    Abstract: Currently Information Collection 2137-0522 titled: 
``Incident and Annual Reports for Gas Pipeline Operators'' has an 
approved burden hour estimate of 37,845 hours. This information 
collection consists of incident and annual reporting for gas pipeline 
operators. Based on review of proposed changes to the Gas Distribution 
Annual Report form data, PHMSA estimates the respondent community of 
1,262 Distribution Operators to report a total of 18,000 mechanical 
fitting failures. PHMSA estimates that the form changes relative to 
this notice will result in one hour increase per mechanical fitting 
failure. These actions would result in an increase from 37,845 hours to 
an estimated 55,845 hours (37,845 hours + 18,000 hours).
    The result of this revision is specified in the following:
    Affected Public: Gas Pipeline Operators.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 2,212.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 55,845 hours (18,000 hour 
    Frequency of collection: Annually with the option for the operator 
to submit mechanical fitting failure information electronically at 
greater frequency if the operator chooses.

    Issued in Washington, DC on June 18, 2010.
Jeffrey D. Wiese,
Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety.
[FR Doc. 2010-15633 Filed 6-25-10; 8:45 am]