PHMSA's 135 federal inspectors and our 375 state partners are responsible for regulating over 3,100 operators who operate 2.6 million miles of pipelines, 129 liquefied natural gas facilities, and 6,448 hazardous liquid breakout tanks. Through PHMSA oversight programs, significant pipeline incidents have decreased by 12.5% since 2008.
Pipeline safety personnel spend 80 percent of their time conducting safety-related activities, including inspections and incident investigations on the ground, in the lab, and at the office, as well as enforcement and public outreach. In 2012, PHMSA pipeline safety personnel conducted 1,163 inspections. Pipeline safety personnel in the regional offices worked a total of 16,043 days: 8,515 days in the office and 7,528 days out of the office. These figures do not include time spent by state inspection personnel who are funded largely by PHMSA. The allocation of their time follows:
• 38% unit level inspections;
• 20% operator level inspections (larger, often system-wide inspections);
• 17% stakeholder outreach (damage prevention, land planning, etc.);
• 10% teamwork (continuous verification of inspection methodologies);
• 10% training;
• 5% compliance verification (includes special, non-routine evaluations).
While PHMSA serves as the federal pipeline safety regulator, pipeline operators must know, understand, and manage the risks associated with their own pipeline facilities. In addition to PHMSA inspections, operators frequently conduct internal reviews of their procedures, facilities, staff and emergency procedures.
More information about state and federal pipeline inspections: http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/Inspection.htm