Incorporating a Distribution Integrity Management Program for Pipeline Safety
Since 2010, federal regulations (49 CFR 192 Subpart P) have required distribution pipeline system operators to have a Distribution Integrity Management Program (DIMP) and associated written integrity management plan. These regulations prescribe the elements of a DIMP and require pipeline operators to evaluate their DIMP every 5 years, at a minimum. State and municipal regulators can also mandate additional regulations and requirements for the gas distribution sector at their discretion.
The challenge for operators is having in-house expertise and knowledge of the requirements in developing and actively managing an effective DIMP and to remain compliant with the regulations. Since a DIMP is mandatory, operators must develop, manage, and periodically evaluate an integrity management program internally, or source and obtain external support.
Whether an operator is large or small, each benefit from developing a robust integrity management program to regularly review risk assessments, remain regulatory compliant, mitigate impacts to the environment and ensure public safety and the company’s reputation.
Due to the nature of distribution mains, service lines, and facilities being in higher population density areas, and sometimes within urban dwellings, an incident can have a significant impact on public safety. There also can be a significant financial cost from any incident. Various threats for the cause of an incident include ground movement, corrosion, joint and fitting degradation, or 3rd party damage.
While ensuring public safety, distribution companies must also use limited resources to efficiently manage costs to monitor and repair aging pipeline infrastructure, such as cast-iron pipe. The objective is to implement a cost-effective, risk optimized mitigation strategy.
An effective Distribution Risk Program includes a forward looking, predictive approach and related mitigation strategies to increase system safety and reliability.
Key Elements for an Effective Distribution Risk Program