On March 23, 2012 PHMSA published an advisory bulletin in the Federal Register to reiterate the cast iron recommendations included in two 1991 and 1992 Alert Notices and address cast iron pipeline requirements specified in the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011.
On October 11, 1991 an Alert Notice was issued to alert operators of the NTSB recommendation P–91–12. This recommendation advised operators with cast iron pipe to take into account a series of factors and implement a cast iron pipe replacement program when safety concerns are identified. The 1991 Alert Notice informed operators that GPTC guidance was available, that computer programs can be applied to aid in this effort and that safety regulations specify when replacement is required and how other threats to cast iron pipe should be mitigated. On June 26, 1992 an Alert Notice was issued to remind operators that the surveillance, assessment and risk mitigation requirements specified in 49 CFR 192.613 apply to cast iron pipe as well. The advisory bulletin issued on March 23, 2012 reminds operators that the information in both of these Alert Notices remains relevant and operators of cast iron pipelines should complete a comprehensive review of their replacement programs to accelerate the replacement of high-risk pipe.
PHMSA reminds operators that they must apply the incident and failure analysis requirements in 49 CFR 192.617, review records and validate operational pressures to address pipeline safety. PHMSA additionally requested that operators and state pipeline safety representatives consider the following: (1) review the plans in place and consider mandating cast iron replacement programs; (2) establish accelerated leakage survey frequencies; (3) use rate adjustments to incentivize replacement programs; (4) strengthen pipeline safety enforcement; and (5) install home methane gas alarms.
In accordance with the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, DOT will measure the progress of operators' cast iron replacement programs and identify the total miles of cast iron gas pipelines in the US.