PHMSA creates criteria for state excavation damage prevention programs

Anthony Foxx

Anthony Foxx

Washington – The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has established new review criteria for state excavation damage prevention programs, under a final rule published in the July 23 Federal Register.

Federal standards also will apply in states whose programs are deemed inadequate to prevent pipeline damage during excavations. The final rule is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

PHMSA Interim Executive Director Stacy Cummings said in a press release that the final rule is “a critical achievement” for the agency. Cummings said 1,815 pipeline incidents between 1998 and 2014 caused 193 deaths, 757 injuries and almost $545 million in damages to property.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx also praised the final rule.

“Excavation damage is a leading cause of serious pipeline incidents that cause death, injuries and property damage,” Foxx said in the release. “The rule strengthens our ability to take enforcement action against those who violate pipeline damage prevention requirements, and to address one of the greatest threats to pipeline safety.”