Department of Transportation awards pipeline safety grant to Kansas Corporation Commission
Published on October 24, 2017 by Kevin Randolph
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently awarded a grant to the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to support its underground pipeline damage prevention efforts.
The KCC will use the grant to fund one full-time employee dedicated to damage prevention inspections and enforcement for the Wichita metropolitan area as well as to expand enforcement in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
“This grant opportunity has allowed the KCC to have a presence in the field at the site of the damage before repairs are complete,” KCC Chief Engineer Leo Haynos said. “The ability to interview the parties involved, to look at the locate marks, and to understand the type of excavating equipment involved, provides the inspector with the information needed to make a credible determination of the cause.”
In addition to compliance actions for violations, the KCC’s pipeline safety strategy includes a strong educational component that promotes communication among all parties.
Damage to underground pipelines most commonly occurs during excavation activities. Sixty percent of Kansas’ excavation activity takes place in the Wichita and Kansas City metropolitan areas. As a result of excavation activity, 1187 incidents in which gas lines were damaged during the process were reported in the state in 2016. Fifty percent of those events happened in the two metro areas. Damages to underground natural gas pipelines related to excavation activity in the area have now stabilized at two damages per every 1000 excavations.