Arizona Corporation Commission
Pipeline Safety Section
2200 N. Central Ave.,
Suite #300, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 262-5601
April is Pipeline Safety Awareness Month
To enforce the Arizona Underground Facilities Law, and to provide information to excavators and utility owners in an attempt to eliminate damage to underground facilities, and to prevent personal injuries and deaths associated with underground facilities.
What government agencies are responsible for regulating gas and hazardous liquid pipelines in Arizona to ensure public safety and system reliability?
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has authority under state law to oversee the construction, operation and maintenance of intrastate pipelines – basically those pipelines that begin and end within Arizona’s borders, such as those operated by Southwest Gas, UniSource Natural Gas, and various municipal systems. The ACC exercises its authority over these and other intrastate pipeline operators by administering and enforcing Arizona’s Pipeline Safety Rules (http://www.azsos.gov/public_services/Title_14/14-05.htm). This is the primary function of ACC’s Pipeline Safety Section, which in accordance with the rules, conducts regular inspections of intrastate systems and also performs specialized and construction inspections. If Pipeline Safety Section inspectors discover a safety violation, the staff can take the necessary steps to see that the violation is corrected – up to and including recommending fines against the operator.
Under federal pipeline safety laws, the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT), Office of Pipeline Safety, has exclusive regulatory authority over pipelines that are defined as interstate pipelines – those pipelines used to transport gas and hazardous liquids across state lines throughout the nation. In Arizona, interstate pipelines include natural gas facilities operated by El Paso Natural Gas, Questar and Transwestern, and liquid fuel lines operated by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. Federal pipeline safety laws preempt any state from regulating interstate pipeline safety. Accordingly, only the USDOT may impose sanctions against interstate operators for violating federal pipeline safety regulations.
If the US DOT’s Office of Pipeline Safety has exclusive jurisdiction over interstate pipeline safety, why does the ACC’s Pipeline Safety Section inspect interstate pipelines?
The US DOT Office of Pipeline Safety has authorized the ACC’s Pipeline Safety Section to perform the required federal inspections and audits of interstate operators with facilities in Arizona. This delegated authority and our ability to perform these inspections for the federal office requires that we adhere to specific conditions and terms contained in an agreement (Interstate Agent Agreement), which may be renewed annually. When we find a potential or probable violation of federal pipeline safety standards, we submit a report with recommendations to the US DOT regarding enforcement action. It is then up to the federal office to enforce the federal laws governing pipeline safety.
The ACC’s pipeline safety program continues to be one of the most highly-regarded state pipeline safety offices in the country, receiving a maximum score of “100” on the majority of its annual certifications from the US DOT office since 1995. In addition, ACC’s Pipeline Safety Section staff are often called upon to assist with federal and state operator training programs.
The federal Office of Pipeline Safety maintains a very helpful website with links to pertinent regulations and detailed information about the office and its responsibilities. View the website at phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline.
As a joint government-industry effort between the US DOT’s Office of Pipeline Safety, other federal and state agencies, and the pipeline industry, the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) is a database that contains the locations and selected attributes of natural gas transmission lines, hazardous liquid lines and other related facilities. You can go online to http://www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/ and click on “Find Out Who’s Operating Pipelines in Your Area” to input your county or zip code. The database will provide you with contact information so you can learn more from the pipeline operator.
The NPMS is created from mandatory submissions of pipeline and LNG facility data by pipeline operators. The NPMS National Repository is responsible for collecting, processing, and building a national seamless pipeline database from the submitted data.
This website serves to provide up-to-date NPMS information to federal and state governments, the pipeline industry and to the public. By filling out an application on this same website, state and local governments and emergency response personnel can apply for password-protected access to more detailed information through the NPMS system.
Inspection reports for intrastate operators are state records and can be requested from the ACC. These reports become final once the report is submitted to the pipeline operator. Simply make your request in writing under the Arizona Public Records Act, referencing ARS Sections 39-121 et seq. To help us respond effectively to your request, please provide as much information as possible specifying the type of information you are requesting and the time period you wish to be covered. Please provide a phone number and contact person in case we have questions as we begin fulfilling your request. Although it is not required, stating the reason for your request would be helpful as we may know of additional information that could be valuable to you. Intrastate public records requests should be sent to:
All records relating to inspections or investigations of interstate natural gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facilities are the property of the United States and are subject to federal law. The ACC’s Interstate Agent Agreement requires that requests for federal pipeline safety records must be deferred to the US DOT Office of Pipeline Safety. In making such requests, we recommended that you specify that the request is being made according to the federal Freedom of Information Act (5 USC 522), and that you address the request to:
As of April 27, 2001 all operators of gas distribution systems including master meter operators must have a written operator qualification plan (OQPLAN) for individuals performing covered tasks on a pipeline facility. An operator of a master meter system is that person who purchases metered gas from a public service corporation to provide gas service to two (2) or more buildings other than at a single-family residence.
The master meter operator may develop their own written OQPLAN or purchase one from an outside source. For interested master meter operators, a written OQPLAN is available at no charge from the Arizona Corporation Commission, Pipeline Safety Section, 2200 North Central Ave., Suite #300, Phoenix, Arizona 85004. For master meter operators that use the Pipeline Safety written OQPLAN, there is a requirement to attend a Pipeline Safety master meter training seminar. Anyone who has attended a Pipeline Safety master meter training seminar after January 1, 2000 meets the attendance requirement of the Pipeline Safety written OQPLAN. These seminars are presented at no cost to the operator (click below for schedule and registration).
Following attendance of a Pipeline Safety master meter seminar, the operator will be allowed to participate in the Pipeline Safety master meter equipment loan-out program. The following equipment is loaned out free of charge to the master meter operator to assist the operator in monitoring and maintaining their gas distribution system:
Equipment is available to loan out at the following office locations:
2200 N. Central Avenue, Stuite 300, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Between the hours of 7:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday (excluding state holidays)
Tucson Office: ** Please call (520) 628-6570, by appointment only **
400 W. Congress, Stuite 218, Tucson, AZ 85701
Prescott Office: ** Please call (928) 778-7683, by appointment only **
122 N. Cortez Street, Suite 320, Prescott, AZ 86301
Distribution Integrity Management Plan ("DIMP"):
DIMP is a newly enacted regulation by the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”). The purpose of this new regulation effective January 1, 2012 is to assure that operators of gas distribution systems (including MM operators and small LPG operators) have the necessary knowledge of their system and its operation to assure that all necessary actions are being taken to mitigate as many of the associated risks to the public as possible. Click below links for additional information:
Master Meter Training Seminars
Two-day seminars addressing the responsibilities of master meter operators providing assistance in complying with the standards, regulations and reports for the State of Arizona. These seminars are presented free of charge to master meter operators.
The Arizona 811 Promise
ACC – Pipeline Safety Division is asking everyone in the state of Arizona to participate in a quick and easy safety initiative known as The 811 Promise. Please click "Take the Promise" link below:
Laws and Rules
Arizona Underground Facility Law
see Article 6.3
Underground Facility Utility Filing Form
Arizona Revised Statute, Title 40, Chapter 2, Section 40-360.22 B, requires every public utility, municipal corporation or other person having the right to bury underground facilities in a public street, alley, right-of-way dedicated to the public use, or on any expressed or implied private property utility easement, to file the information requested on the above form.
For Current Safety Rules click link below.
Effective December 16, 2013
U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)PHMSA Pipeline Safety of Training and Qualifications (T&Q)