[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 28 (Thursday, February 11, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Page 7412]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-02704]



[[Page 7412]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA-2016-0013]


Pipeline Safety: Dangers of Abnormal Snow and Ice Build-Up on Gas 
Distribution Systems

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); 
DOT.

ACTION: Notice; Issuance of advisory bulletin.

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SUMMARY: This advisory bulletin advises owners and operators of 
petroleum gas and natural gas facilities of the need to take the 
appropriate steps to prevent damage to pipeline facilities from 
accumulated snow or ice. Past events on natural gas distribution system 
facilities appear to have been related to either the stress of snow and 
ice or the malfunction of pressure control equipment due to ice 
blockage of pressure control equipment vents. This advisory reminds 
owners and operators of the need to take precautionary actions to 
prevent adverse events.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kenneth Lee, Director, Engineering and 
Research, at 202-366-2694 or by email at Kenneth.lee@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    The accumulation of snow and ice increases the potential for damage 
to meters and regulators and other aboveground pipeline facilities and 
components. Incidents have occurred in past winters on natural gas 
distribution system facilities that appear to have been related to 
either the stress of snow and ice or malfunction of pressure control 
equipment due to ice blockage of pressure control equipment vents. 
Exposed piping at metering and pressure regulating stations, at service 
regulators, and at propane tanks, are at greatest risk. Damage may 
result from the stresses imposed by the additional loading of the snow 
or ice. Damage to facilities may also result from the impact of snow or 
ice falling from roofs, ice forming in or on regulators preventing 
their proper operation, or shoveling snow from roofs to protect 
dwellings from abnormal snow accumulation.

II. Advisory Bulletin (ADB-2016-03)

    To: Owners and Operators of Petroleum Gas and Natural Gas 
Facilities in Areas Subject to Heavy Snowfall or Abnormally Icy 
Weather.
    Subject: Dangers of Abnormal Snow and Ice Build-up on Gas 
Distribution Systems.
    Purpose: To remind owners and operators of the need to (1) monitor 
the potential impact of excessive snow and ice on these facilities; and 
(2) inform the public about possible hazards from snow and ice 
accumulation on regulators and other pipeline facilities.
    Advisory: PHMSA is advising operators of petroleum gas and natural 
gas pipeline facilities, regardless of whether those facilities are 
regulated by PHMSA or state agencies, to consider the following steps 
to address the safety risks from accumulated snow and ice on pipeline 
facilities:
    1. Notify customers and other entities of the need for caution 
associated with excessive accumulation and removal of snow and ice. 
Notice should include the need to clear snow and ice from exhaust and 
combustion air vents for gas appliances to:
    (a) Prevent accumulation of carbon monoxide in buildings; or
    (b) Prevent operational problems for the combustion equipment.
    2. Pay attention to snow and ice related situations that may cause 
operational problems for pressure control and other equipment.
    3. Monitor the accumulation of moisture in equipment and snow or 
ice blocking regulator or relief valve vents which could prevent 
regulators and relief valves from functioning properly.
    4. The piping on service regulator sets is susceptible to damage 
that could result in failure if caution is not exercised in cleaning 
snow from around the equipment. Where possible, use a broom instead of 
a shovel to clear snow off regulators, meters, associated piping, 
propane tanks, tubing, gauges or other propane system appurtenances.
    5. Remind the public to contact the gas company or designated 
emergency response officials if there is an odor of gas present or if 
gas appliances are not functioning properly. Also, remind the public 
that they should leave their residences immediately if they detect a 
gas or propane odor and report the odor to their gas company, propane 
operator or designated emergency response officials.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 4, 2016, under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.97.
Alan K. Mayberry,
Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy and Programs.
[FR Doc. 2016-02704 Filed 2-10-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-60-P