PHMSA has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), proposing various changes to the natural gas pipeline safety regulations (49 C.F.R. Part 192) to address regulatory requirements involving plastic piping systems used in gas services.  Comments on the proposal are due July 31, 2015.

The NPRM is a response to several rulemaking petitions involving plastic pipe.  In the Notice, PHMSA acknowledges that pipeline safety regulations have not kept up with advances in the design and manufacture of plastic pipe and components, nor with technological innovations and best practices that have increased the use and availability of plastic pipe.  The purpose of the NPRM is to update Part 192 regulations to reflect these advances.  In addition to amending its existing regulation of plastic pipe and components, PHMSA proposes to incorporate numerous industry standards by reference into the regulations, in keeping with the various changes proposed in the NPRM.

Topics covered by the amendments include: tracking and traceability of plastic pipe and components; the design factor for polyethylene (PE) pipe; expanded use of Polyamide-11 (PA-11) pipe and incorporation of newer Polyamide-12 (PA-12) pipe; new and updated standards for risers and fittings in plastic pipe systems; plastic pipe installation and repairs; and various other general provisions relevant to the use of plastic pipe.

Instructions for submitting comments are included in the NPRM.  Access to the standards proposed to be incorporated by reference will be granted until the end of the comment period on the PHMSA website at under “Standards Incorporated by Reference.”