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 Regulations and Rulings

Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety - 1st to Specifically Rule on Cross Bore Elimination Methods

May 10, 2010 Ruling

Alert Notice to Underground Gas Pipeline Operators
Preventing Sewer Service Lateral Cross Bores:
Acceptable Practices and Documentation Requirements


 

 General Regulations Regarding Marking and Pipeline Installation Requirements:

State regulations for locating underground utilities have been developed in the majority of states. There is continuing progress defining and improving standardization of regulations.  

"One Call" type of solutions are prevalent. Improvements to the one call method has ongoing industry support.

Some states regulations have essentially limited the requirement for sewer utilities to locate their underground assets.

Additionally, industry forums have provided opportunities for discussion of the practicability of private sewer owners, include home owners, of being responsible for locating and marking private sewer laterals.

Some major metropolitan owners of sewers have resisted Image of KY State PSC Ruling 1999taking the responsibility upon themselves voluntarily to locate. Mainline sewers, especially sanitary sewers, are usually the lowest in elevation and the first utilities installed in a developed area. Lateral connections are typically gravity sewers and as such are required to be place at elevations above the mainline sewer. The Kentucky Public Service Commission ruling of 1999 illustrates the differing perspectives of a gas distribution utility and a sewer utility.

NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board, as a result of explosion, 2 deaths and 4 injuries, recommended as early as 1976 that:NTSB 1976 Cross Bore Recommendation
    ▫  "inspection.... where gas mains and sewer laterals may be in proximity..."
    ▫  "...determine other locations where gas lines were installed near existing sewer facilities.....then inspect these locations and take corrective action where necessary."

Damage to municipal sewers, not risk of injury or death, has led some communities to pass local ordinances that affect the installation industry. The use of trenchless technologies does not need to continued to be linked to damage to sewers. It is important that all installers of all types of utilities meet adequate best practices to prevent cross bores.

New tools and techniques are available. Management decisions by both the utility owners and their contractors to use "best practices" will result in low risk installations without damage to existing utilities and encourage the continued acceptance of trenchless methods by the general public.

Image One Call LegislationA Comprehensive Guide to One Call Legislation (MSWord 4 mB) has been provided by Louis Panzer,  Irth Solutions, in association with Common Ground Alliance.

Minnesota Supreme Court 20056 Ruling of Gas Line in Sewer Cross BoreCross bore explosion ruling, Minnesota Supreme Court decision of liability aspects of a gas line cross bore into a sewer. Published 2005, PDF format.

In Summary

State regulations and "One Call" type of services alone have not eliminated the problems of damage to underground utilities nor the risk of injury. It is an important step. CBSA believes that additional efforts are needed than are currently the standard of practice.