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Pipeline Safety

Responsibility

The Pipeline Safety department of the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff has pipeline safety oversight responsibility for the operators of natural gas distribution and transmission pipeline systems, liquefied natural gas facilities, certain liquefied propane systems, landfill gas systems, and lateral pipelines from interstate pipeline systems. Other areas of responsibility include field inspections of facilities, accident investigation, and various types of operator training.  

Guidelines

The Pipeline Safety department enforces the federal pipeline safety regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in addition to state rules and regulations governing gas systems. The state of South Carolina has an agreement with The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) wherein all operators in the state must comply with these guidelines. The Pipeline Safety department undergoes annual re-certification by PHMSA.

The Commodity

Natural gas is believed to be the safest, most dependable and economical fuel available today. Overall, natural gas operators have achieved an impressive safety record providing natural gas service to millions of customers safely and efficiently. Aware of the potential hazards associated with their product, the operators are very knowledgeable concerning both safety precautions and operations and maintenance requirements that constantly must be observed. Many organizations, volunteer groups, and associations -- along with state and federal regulators -- contribute to the success of the natural gas industry.

Buried Pipelines

Many gas-related incidents result from damage to buried pipelines during excavation activities. Known as "third party damage", this type of excavation incident is one of the leading causes of pipeline damage industry-wide each year. This is why one-call programs, such as that provided by South Carolina & 811, are so invaluable. Anyone planning to dig, excavate, bore, tunnel, blast, or disturb the earth in any manner in which buried utilities may be damaged must call SC 811 by dialing 811. It is a state law (SC Code Ann. Sections 58-36-10 through 58-36-120).

Note: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has designated 811 as the nationwide number to protect pipelines and utilities from excavation damage. To learn more, click here: http://www.call811.com

Quick Facts about Natural Gas

Did you know ...

  • Natural gas is colorless, non-toxic, and has an odorant added.
  • The flammable range of natural gas in air is from about 4.5% to 14.5%.
  • The natural gas we use contains about 92% methane, which is very similar to gas that is produced from old landfill sites.
  • The ignition point of natural gas is 1100 to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is higher than a lighted cigarette but lower than an arc from static electricity.
  • Natural gas is lighter than air; therefore, it will rise to the uppermost area possible.
  • Natural gas escaping to the atmosphere will dissipate and present no danger if allowed to vent freely.

Useful Links for More Information on natural Gas

Pipeline Safety Information