Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
3/4/2024

Chapter 360. Licensed Professional Engineer to Exercise Responsible Charge over Certain Natural Gas Engineering Projects

20VAC5-360-10. Purpose and scope.

This chapter delineates standards used by the commission to enforce the provisions of § 56-257.2:1 of the Code of Virginia. This chapter further details certain standards and requirements for professional engineering oversight of projects that (i) involve gas pipeline facilities, as defined in the federal regulations promulgated under 49 USC § 60101 et seq., as amended and adopted by the commission pursuant to § 56-257.2 of the Code of Virginia, and the federal pipeline safety laws and (ii) may present a material risk to public safety.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-257.2:1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 24, eff. January 1, 2022.

20VAC5-360-20. Definitions.

Terms used in this chapter shall have the same meaning and effect as in the federal pipeline safety laws under 49 USC § 60101 et seq. and 49 CFR Parts 191, 192, 193, 195, and 199. In addition, the following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Act" means Chapter 822 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly.

"Bypass" means a pipeline connection or control mechanism installed in order to allow construction, maintenance, or repair work, thus altering the flow of gas or hazardous liquid to different facilities other than those transporting the gas prior to installation of the pipeline connection or control mechanism.

"Commission" means the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

"Commission's pipeline safety standards" means standards for gas and hazardous liquid pipeline facilities adopted, prescribed, or enforced by the commission pursuant to §§ 56-257.2 and 56-555 of the Code of Virginia; 49 USC § 60101 et seq.; and 20VAC5-300-70, 20VAC5-307-10, and 20VAC5-308-10.

"Compressor stations" means pipeline facilities that compress natural gas, increasing the pressure and providing the energy needed to move the gas through the pipeline.

"District regulator stations" means a pressure regulating station that controls pressure to a high-pressure or low-pressure distribution main.

"Emergency work" means nonroutine maintenance or repair work, such as repairs to hazardous leaks, that should be performed immediately. Examples include third party damages, repairs, work to maintain priority service, reduce customer outages as a matter of safety, and compromises to system integrity as a cause of overpressurization.

"Engineered structures" means distribution mains vertically attached to buildings, overpasses, or water crossings.

"Gate station" means pressure regulating stations where custody of natural gas or hazardous liquid is transferred from an interstate supplier to a Virginia public service company.

"Maintenance" means any repair or rehabilitation activity performed on a pipeline facility or prescribed by 49 CFR 192, Subpart M.

"MAOP" means maximum allowable operating pressure.

"O&M Procedures" means any operations or maintenance procedures or processes prepared by the operator for conducting operations and maintenance activities or emergency response, as prescribed by 49 CFR 192, Subpart L.

"Peak shaving facilities" means pipeline storage facilities designed to house natural gas or propane gas for reintroduction into an operator's system at times of peak demand. These facilities may store liquefied natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas.

"P.E. stamp" means a professional seal as prescribed by 18VAC10-20-760, pertaining to use of seal.

"Public right-of-way" means any portion of a designated interstate or limited access expressway or freeway as defined in the Federal Highway Administration's Highway Functional Classification Concepts, Criteria and Procedures. Section 3.1 (see: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/processes/statewide/related/highway_functional_classifications/fcauab.pdf).

"Professional engineer" or "P.E." means a person who is qualified to practice engineering by reason of special knowledge and use of mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences and the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design acquired by engineering education and experience, and whose competence has been attested by the Board for Architects. Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects through licensure as a professional engineer.

"PSIG" means pounds per square inch, gauge.

"Repair" means any activity on a distribution main or transmission line that calls for removing the leak by cutting out and replacing a cylindrical piece of pipe, installing a pressure-carrying full encirclement welded split sleeve of appropriate design, or any other permanent repair that is consistent with 49 CFR § 192.717.

"Tie-in" means any process of connecting a newly installed pipeline to either an existing pipeline or another newly installed pipeline by means of joining.

"Uprating" means the act of increasing maximum allowable operating pressures for pipelines.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-257.2:1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 24, eff. January 1, 2022; Errata, 38:2 VA.R. 317 September 13, 2021.

20VAC5-360-30. Use of professional engineers.

A. Any gas pipeline engineering plans or specifications for engineering work or services that (i) involve gas pipeline facilities, as defined in the federal regulations promulgated under 49 USC § 60101 et seq., as amended and adopted by the commission in the commission's pipeline safety standards pursuant to § 56-257.2 of the Code of Virginia, and the federal pipeline safety laws and (ii) may present a material risk to public safety must be produced by or under the direct charge and supervision of a professional engineer with sufficient knowledge of a gas company's natural gas distribution system, and such plans or specifications must bear the professional engineer's stamp, in accordance with § 54.1-406 of the Code of Virginia.

B. A professional engineer must ensure that the plan or specification conforms to the applicable pipeline safety laws, regulations, and standards, and the review and use of a professional engineer's stamp must comply with the professional and ethical obligations set forth in Virginia.

C. Engineering services involving gas pipeline facilities and that present a material risk to public safety shall include:

1. New installation of district pressure regulator stations, compressor stations, or gate stations.

2. Reconfiguration or physical facility changes, other than routine operating adjustments and like-kind replacements, performed at district pressure regulator stations, compressor stations, or gate stations that alter or modify the configuration or overpressure protection of equipment.

3. Installation, uprating, repair, or abandonment of intrastate transmission pipelines.

4. Any distribution main piping modifications or replacement work falling within established district regulator awareness zones as established by each operator.

5. Construction or maintenance work on distribution mains, other than routine maintenance, inspections, and minor adjustments, that changes the system operating pressure and requires a bypass or a change in the system operating pressure that involves more than two tie-ins.

6. Installation of distribution mains where such mains attach to bridges or other engineered structures.

7. Installation of distribution mains, including replacements and extension projects, that are within or cross any public right-of-way.

8. Installation or abandonment of service lines connecting to transmission lines or installation or abandonment of service lines connecting to high-pressure distribution mains with a MAOP that exceeds 100 psig.

9. Installation of peak shaving facilities, to include any modifications or reconfigurations that would alter such a facility's pressure delivery characteristics.

10. Any other project in the judgment of the operator that poses a material risk to public safety.

D. A professional engineer's stamp is not required for emergency work, but a professional engineer's stamp is required after the emergency has been resolved if the remaining work or services are on a project that presents a material risk to public safety.

E. Incorporation of Guidelines into Operations and Maintenance Procedures: Each public service company shall incorporate the provisions of this chapter into its written procedures as required under 49 CFR Part 192 and the commission's pipeline safety standards.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-257.2:1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 24, eff. January 1, 2022.

20VAC5-360-40. Documentation.

Each public service company subject to this chapter shall maintain the plans and specifications that must bear a professional engineer's stamp pursuant to this chapter at its office. These plans and specifications shall be readily accessible upon request of the commission, and they shall be maintained in accordance with the document retention timelines set forth in 49 CFR Part 192 and the commission's pipeline safety standards.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-257.2:1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 24, eff. January 1, 2022.

20VAC5-360-50. Commission authority.

A request for a waiver of any of the provisions in this chapter shall be considered by the State Corporation Commission on a case-by-case basis and may be granted upon such terms and conditions as the State Corporation Commission may impose.

Statutory Authority

§§ 12.1-13 and 56-257.2:1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 24, eff. January 1, 2022.

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