Randall J. Knapp
Papers # 2014 Chicago
The “Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement and Safety Act of 2006” required the Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish a regulation prescribing standards for integrity management programs for distribution pipeline operators. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published the final rule establishing integrity management requirements for gas distribution pipeline systems on December 4, 2009. On August 2, 2011 Distribution integrity management program (DIMP) was implemented mandating that gas utilities have integrity management plans in place for all gas products to improve pipeline safety. Operators are required to know what’s in their pipeline system.
To support that effort many of the ASTM gas pipe and component standards recently implemented tracking and traceability requirements for gas distribution pipes and components that require encoded (barcode or alphanumeric) information to be printed on the pipe and fittings in a manner that can be used by the utility customers at the time of installation to facilitate their particular tracking and traceability systems.
The implementation of tracking and traceability efforts for plastic gas distribution system components represents a major industry investment in capital and education. The challenges of implementing the product standard marking requirements during the manufacturing practice of plastic gas pipe and components including: printing and labeling technology, marking permanency, and data transfer, have yet to be fully designed and implemented by all manufacturers. The technical difficulties in the manufacturing process coupled with widely varying tracking and traceability system demands from large and small operators has slowed the implementation of an effective tracking and traceability system. It will be necessary to apply new technologies in printing, scanning and data collection to fully implement reliable tracking and traceability systems across the industry.