Pipeline Safety

Pipeline safety laws fall under federal authority in Title 49, United States Code, chapter 601, Safety. Title 49 establishes the framework for promoting pipeline safety with federal authority for regulation of interstate pipeline facilities. Federal authority delegates to states all or part of the responsibility for intrastate pipeline facilities via an annual certification or agreement. This law empowers the Iowa Utilities Board to obtain a certification from the federal government to regulate gas pipeline safety for intrastate natural gas operators. The Board's Safety and Engineering Section enforces pipeline safety rules contained in the federal regulations at 49 CFR parts 191, 192, 193, and 199, as well as state regulations at 199 Iowa Administrative Code chapter 10, Intrastate Gas and Underground Gas Storage and chapter 19, Service Supplied by Gas Utilities.

The Safety and Engineering Section inspects 57 natural gas distribution system operators, 3 LPG distribution system operators, and 41 intrastate and 5 interstate natural gas transmission pipeline operators for compliance with pipeline safety standards. The inspections ensure that gas operators are in compliance with the federal and state pipeline safety standards.  The Board's Safety and Engineering Section works closely with the federal U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's State Programs (PHMSA), to insure pipelines are safely operated and maintained.

One Call Underground Locate Service, Damage Prevention, One Call Complaints and Violation Enforcement by the Attorney General

To avoid a potential pipeline accident caused by excavation, have the location of all utility lines marked before excavating by hand or with equipment. In fact, to comply with Iowa law, in accordance with Iowa Code chapter 480, Underground Facilities Information, a person must contact Iowa One Call at 811 or 800.292.8989 a minimum of two days (excluding Saturday, Sunday and state holidays) before excavation commences. After Iowa One Call is contacted, the following will happen:

  • Operators with underground facilities in the area where the excavation is planned are notified. This includes natural gas and power utilities, communications companies, and cities and towns.
  • Within 48 hours after being contacted, utilities either mark their underground facilities with color-coded paint marks or flags, or tell the excavator they have no lines in the area.

If a contractor is performing the excavation work, a person should make sure that the contractor calls Iowa One Call two days prior to the commencement of excavating.

Visit this webpage for more information about damage prevention and Iowa One Call.

The Office of the Attorney General enforces the One Call Law. See more information about One Call Complaints and enforcement through the Attorney General's Office.

VIDEO: View the Iowa One Call Damage Prevention video by the Iowa Utilities Board and Iowa Attorney General's Office.

Searching for Inspection Reports

Inspection reports and utility responses are on file in the Board's electronic filing system (EFS). Inspection reports and responses are filed in each company's natural gas reports (RG) docket. To search for these documents, click the EFS link, select Search from the top navigation menu and scroll down to Docket Search. This will open a docket search screen. Select RG - Reports, Natural Gas from the Docket Type drop down box and then select the company name from the Participants drop down box. Be sure to click the Add button to add the company to the search parameters. After entering the search terms, click the Search button. This will display the company's RG-Docket Summary Page. Finally, click on the Documents in EFS link to display the list of documents on file for that company.

Transportation of Natural Gas

Statistics indicate that transporting natural gas through pipelines is the safest mode of transportation. As long as natural gas flows through a closed controlled system, it remains a safe product. Only when gas unexpectedly escapes from a pipeline does it have the potential to be a hazard to life, property, and the environment. There are many causes and contributors to pipeline failures. The federal Office of Pipeline Safety compiles data on pipeline accidents and their causes. This data generally indicates that "outside force" damage is the largest single specified cause of all pipeline accidents. Outside force damage generally occurs when someone is digging or excavating near the pipeline. Other causes of pipeline accidents and incidents are categorized and include:

  • Construction errors
  • Material defects
  • Pipeline corrosion, both internal and external
  • Operator error (incorrect operation by operator personnel)
  • Malfunction of control systems or relief equipment

Searching for Incident Reports

Incident (or accident) reports are on file in the electronic filing system (EFS). Incident reports are filed in each company's accidents and outages (H) docket. To search for an incident report, click the EFS link, select Search from the top navigation menu and scroll down to Docket Search. This will open a docket search screen. Select H - Accident -- Outages from the Docket Type drop down box and then select the company name from the Participants drop down box. Be sure to click the Add button to add the company to the search parameters. To narrow the search to natural gas service incidents only, click Gas in the Industry Type box. After entering the search terms, click the Search button. This will display the company's H-Docket Summary Page. Finally, click on the Documents in EFS link to display the list of documents on file in that company's H-Docket.

2019 IUB-PHMSA TQ Pipeline Safety Conference

The Iowa Utilities Board hosted the 2019 TQ Pipeline Safety Conference in February 2019. Click on the links below to review conference materials and download presentations. 

IUB - Iowa Update Presentation 

IUB - Top Ten Probable Violations

Iowa One Call - Call or Be Called

Iowa Pipeline Emergency Response Initiative (PERI)  

Cross Bore Safety Association - High Confidence Cross Bore Inspection Programs and Utility Data Integration

PHMSA - 2019 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Update 

PHMSA - Gas Pressure Regulation and Overpressure Protection

PHMSA - Part 191 and Other Reporting Requirements for Natural Gas Pipelines

PHMSA - Operator Qualification Issues

PHMSA - Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) 

PHMSA - Plastic Pipe Final Rule Update - February 2019

PHMSA - Preserving Evidence (and related documents)

     PHMSA Form 11 - Pipeline Failure

     Metallurgical Laboratory Failure Examination Protocol

Alliant Energy - Marshalltown's F3 Tornado

Alliant Energy - Pipeline Corrosion Control Issues and Technology

American Gas Association - 2019 Pipeline Safety Advocacy Efforts

Black Hills Energy - Preparing and Learning from Natural Disasters

MidAmerican Energy - Tornadoes and Floods, Lessons Learned 

National Utility Contractors Association of Iowa - Excavator's Perspective/Construction and Safety
 

Pipeline Safety Program Contact Information:

Magid Yousif
Manager, Safety and Engineering Section 
Iowa Utilities Board
515.725.7315
 

Media Inquiries Contact Information:

Don Tormey
Communications Director
Iowa Utilities Board
515.725.7347
don.tormey@iub.iowa.gov

Off-site Links
PHMSA Safety Performance Listings by State

Iowa One Call logoIowa One Call
 

CGI (Common Ground Iowa)Common Ground Iowa
 

Call 811 logoCall 811 (National)
 

Pipeline and informed Planned Alliance (PIPA)
 

National Pipeline Mapping System

Other Links

Natural Gas Operators Map (PDF)

Pipeline Map - Iowa (PDF)

Railroad & Utility Emergency Contact Information

Safety Tips

Printed from the website on September 22, 2020 at 9:45am.