NTSB Issues Response to PHMSA’s Valve and Rupture Detection Rule


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​​WASHINGTON (April 1, 2022) —The National Transportation Safety Board Friday has reviewed PHMSA’s new rule for automatic shutoff valve installation and minimum rupture detection standards for newly constructed and entirely replaced onshore gas transmission.

This new rule improves pipeline safety and includes requirements for automatic shutoff valves for gas gathering, and hazardous liquid pipelines, a safety improvement beyond our original recommendations. However, it does not fully address previously issued safety recommendations. 

PHMSA’s rule excludes existing pipelines and therefore would not have helped mitigate the natural gas explosion that occurred in San Bruno, California, in 2010. It also falls short in addressing safety issues related to valve spacing and leak detection. 

“PHMSA’s final rule does not meet the criteria specified in NTSB safety recommendations regarding valve and rupture detection completely,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy​. “I encourage PHMSA to continue their efforts to address the identified issues from our investigation of the San Bruno, California natural gas explosion and satisfy the NTSB safety recommendations.” 

In a letter sent to the Department of Transportation on May 25, 2020, the NTSB cited several areas where the Notice of Proposed Rule Making that was the basis for the new final rule did not adequately address the relevant NTSB recommendations. The recommendations stem from the September 9, 2010, rupture of a Pacific Gas and Electric Company natural gas pipeline and resulting fire in San Bruno, California and are associated with the current NTSB Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.

The NTSB’s MWL identifies the top safety improvements that should be made across all transportation modes to prevent accidents, minimize injuries, and save lives in the future.  ​​

To report an incident/accident or if you are a public safety agency, please call 1-844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290 to speak to a Watch Officer at the NTSB Response Operations Center (ROC) in Washington, DC (24/7).