[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 248 (Tuesday, December 27, 2011)]
[Pages 81015-81016]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-33165]



Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket ID PHMSA-RSPA-2004-19854]

Notice of Public Webinar on Implementation of Distribution 
Integrity Management Programs

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

ACTION: Notice of Public Webinar.


SUMMARY: Distribution pipeline operators were required to have prepared 
and implemented distribution integrity management plans (DIMP) by 
August 2, 2011. Federal and state regulators have begun inspecting 
those plans and their implementation. This webinar will be the first 
opportunity for the regulators to share their findings broadly with the 
regulated community. The webinar will also include discussion of 
analyses of the initial submissions of data concerning mechanical 
fitting failures in distribution pipelines.

DATES: The webinar will be held on January 25, 2012, from 11 a.m. to 
12:30 p.m. EST. Refer to the DIMP Web site for additional information: 

ADDRESSES: Comments: Members of the public may also submit written 
comments, either before, during, or after the webinar. Comments should 
reference Docket ID PHMSA-RSPA-2004-19854. Comments and questions can 
be submitted during the webinar through LiveMeeting. Instructions 
describing how to submit questions will be given at the beginning of 
the webinar. Comments may be submitted before or after the webinar in 
the following ways:
     DIMP Web site: http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/dimp/comment.htm. This site allows the public to enter questions and 
comments about DIMP before or after the webinar. Instructions for 
submitting comments are provided on that Web site.
     E-Gov Web Site: http://www.regulations.gov. This site 
allows the public to enter comments on any Federal Register notice 
issued by any agency. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1-(202) 493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management System, U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, 
Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: DOT, Docket Management System, Room W12-
140, on the ground floor of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., Washington, DC between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: Identify the Docket ID at the beginning of your 
comments. If you submit your comments by mail, submit two copies. If 
you wish to receive confirmation that PHMSA has received your comments, 
include a self-addressed stamped postcard. Internet users may submit 
comments at http://www.regulations.gov. Note: Comments will be posted 
without changes or edits to http://www.regulations.gov including any 
personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act statement 
immediately following for additional information.
    Privacy Act Statement: Anyone may search the electronic form of all 
comments received for any of our dockets. You may review DOT's complete 
Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published April 11, 2000 
(65 FR 19477).
    Information on Services for Individuals with Disabilities: For 
information on facilities or services for individuals with 
disabilities, or to request special assistance during the webinar, 
please contact Chris McLaren at (281) 216-4455 by January 6, 2012.
    Copies of the presentations will be available on the DIMP Web site 
and in the docket PHMSA-2004-19854 at http://www.regulations.gov, 
within 30 days following the webinar.

[email protected] or by phone at (281) 216-4455.

    Purpose: The DIMP regulation was published December 4, 2009, (74 FR 
63906) and became effective on August 2, 2011. This regulation 
represents a new approach to assuring the safety and integrity of 
distribution pipelines. Previously, regulations presented highly-
prescriptive requirements for which it was relatively easy to 
understand what needed to be done to comply. DIMP is much less 
prescriptive. It requires pipeline operators to analyze their pipeline 
systems, identify threats and risks that may be unique to their 
systems, and take appropriate actions to address those threats and 
risks. Distribution pipeline operators previously have not been 
required to comply with such a performance-based rule.
    A DIMP Implementation Team (Team) was created as a collaboration of 
state and Federal regulators to support improvements in the integrity 
of the Nation's gas distribution pipeline systems through development 
of inspection methods and guidance for the evaluation of an Operator's 
DIMP. The Team recognized the challenges posed by the individual 
characteristics of each state's oversight program and operating 
conditions as well as the evolutionary process that distribution system 
operators would go through in building an integrity management culture 
from a prescriptive, compliance based culture. Due to the high-level, 
risk-based, performance-oriented nature of the regulations contained in 
49 CFR 192.1001-192.1015, the Team recognized that operators could 
benefit from guidance in implementing their programs. The team 
sponsored two webinars to provide operators with information and to 
direct operators to resource material. These webinars were conducted on 
May 10 and June 8, 2011. This was prior to the August 2, 2011, 
effective date of the rule by which time operators were required to 
have developed and implemented their DIMP plans.
    The August 2, 2011, deadline has now passed. Distribution pipeline 
operators must have implemented their DIMP plans. Initial inspections 
of these plans have begun. The material presented at this webinar will 
summarize this inspection experience, including the types of concerns 
that have been identified and where the initial

[[Page 81016]]

inspection experience indicates that operators should devote additional 
attention to assure compliance.
    States are implementing the DIMP rule under their individual state 
statutory authority in accordance with the applicable certification 
under 49 U.S.C. 60105 or agreement under section 60106. State 
inspectors will participate in this webinar, but not all states will be 
represented. Since regulatory structures differ among states, operators 
should contact the state authority regulating their distribution 
pipeline system for more information.
    The DIMP rule also required distribution pipeline operators to 
report failures of mechanical fittings that result in hazardous leaks. 
Such failures have been the cause of a number of serious accidents on 
distribution pipelines. Collection of this data is intended to 
facilitate better understanding of the causes of fitting failures and 
actions that can/should be taken to prevent future failures. Operators 
have the option of submitting reports as failures occur or of 
submitting all reports for a calendar year by March 15 of the following 
year. The new reporting requirement became effective on April 4, 2011. 
Operators have submitted many reports to PHMSA. These reports will be 
analyzed before the webinar and PHMSA will discuss the results of these 
analyses. Operators should note that lessons from mechanical fitting 
failure reporting will be preliminary at this time. They will be based 
on a limited set of data. The data set is likely to increase 
significantly as additional reports are received on or before March 15, 
2012. Even then, though, only one year of data will be available, which 
may not be sufficient to identify trends. Nevertheless, the initial 
analyses will provide some information that will be shared with 
stakeholders, and operators will be given a chance to comment on the 
mechanical fitting failure reporting process.

Preliminary Webinar Agenda

January 25, 2012, DIMP Implementation Webinar Agenda

 Welcome, Introductions, and Overview.
 Initial DIMP Inspection Findings.
 Results of Initial Analyses of Mechanical Fitting Failure 
 Question & Answer Session.
 Session Concludes.

    Registration: Members of the public may attend this free webinar. 
To help ensure that adequate space is provided, all attendees are 
required to register for the webinar at http://opsweb.phmsa.dot.gov/webinars. Upon registration, LiveMeeting information will be 
distributed. Due to the limited capacity, we encourage and request that 
parties at the same location share a LiveMeeting link. The Webinars 
will use the audio feature of LiveMeeting and not a standard phone line 
for the voice portion of the Webinars.

    Issued in Washington, DC on December 20, 2011.
Jeffrey D. Wiese,
Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety.
[FR Doc. 2011-33165 Filed 12-23-11; 8:45 am]