PHMSA finalizes excess flow valve rule for gas distribution pipelines

The US Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a final rule on Oct. 7 for excess flow valves on new and replaced distribution pipelines. The final rule requires installation of EFVs in new or replaced service lines for multifamily residences—including apartment buildings and other multiresidential dwellings—and small commercial buildings.

The regulation, which becomes effective 6 months after its publication in the Federal Register, also requires gas distribution companies to install curb valves—manually operated shutoff valves located near the service main—or EFVs for all new or replaced service lines with meter capacities exceeding 1,000 scf/hr to protect against uncontrolled gas releases from larger commercial and industrial users, the US Department of Transportation agency said.

The American Gas Association welcomed the final excess flow valve rule. “AGA has been supportive and committed to the expanded use of EFVs, as seen in AGA’s Commitment to Enhancing Safety,” it said on Oct. 11. “The final rule now codifies these voluntary actions and also incorporates ancillary requirements that, while beneficial, may require additional guidance from PHMSA before operators are able to fully comply.”

The gas utility trade association hopes PHMSA’s announcement of this final rule indicates progress on several remaining rulemakings that are being developed that are intended to enhance pipeline safety, its statement said. “AGA believes that reasonable rulemakings will allow the industry to move forward, in responding to Congressional directives contained in pipeline safety legislation,” it said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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