The following definitions are applicable to this section only:
- Abandonment: Permanently removed from service, disconnected from main line at the ends of the abandonment and per the City of LA Pipeline Abandonment Requirements
- City or Board: Department of Public Works, City of Los Angeles
- Company or Pipeline Company: owner of the pipeline
- Encroachment: an intrusion of a privately owned facility, either above or below surface, of publicly controlled property or rights-of-way
- Grantee: oil pipeline company, industry or owner
- Grantor: City
- Idle: disconnected but still connected and could be put back in service
- PHMSA: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
Background and Considerations
A general BOE process has been established for utility pipeline abandonment or removals and a more specific process has been developed for petroleum product pipelines. All steel and iron pipelines over 12 inches in diameter shall be removed if the pipeline is 2 feet or less below the proposed or existing finish surface elevation. No abandonment shall be granted. When service is discontinued in a steel or iron pipe over 12 inches in diameter and greater than 2 feet below the proposed or existing finish surface elevation the pipe shall be removed or it shall be abandoned in place by either of the following methods:
- By draining the pipe and plugging at approved intervals
- By draining the pipe and filling with sand or rotary mud or combination of, or alternate for, such materials.
- Decision as to whether the pipe shall be removed or the method under which the pipe shall be abandoned in place will be made by the District/Division Engineer in each case, taking into account the size, depth, location thickness, etc.
- Abandoned pipelines should be removed when the pipeline is within the limits of a trench for another pipeline, or, whenever (within the limits of a street improvement) the abandoned line is less than two feet below the proposed finished grade, or otherwise interferes with the improvement.
C 342.7 ABANDONMENT AND REMOVAL CONSIDERATIONS
C 342.71 PIPELINE ABANDONMENT AND REMOVAL - (GENERAL)
Per the Bureau of Engineering Operations and Control Manual C 342.7 PIPELINE ABANDONMENT AND REMOVAL CONSIDERATIONS and C 342.71 PIPELINE ABANDONMENT AND REMOVAL (GENERAL), a general departmental policy has been established for utility pipeline abandonment or removals. A specific policy has been developed for petroleum product pipelines. When service is discontinued in a steel or iron pipe over 12 inches in diameter, the pipe shall be removed, or it shall be abandoned in place by either of the following methods:
- By draining the pipe and plugging at approved intervals; Bureau of Engineering Operations and Control Manual, Part C 3-84 C 342.72 b. C.
- By draining the pipe and filling with sand or rotary mud or combination of, or alternate for, such materials. Decision as to whether the pipe shall be removed or the method under which the pipe shall be abandoned in place will be made by the District/Division Engineer in each case, taking into account the size, depth, location, thickness, etc. Abandoned pipelines should be removed when the pipeline is within the limits of a trench for another pipeline, or whenever (within the limits of a street improvement) the abandoned line is less than two feet below the proposed finished grade, or otherwise interferes with the improvement.
Pipeline Abandonment and Removal (Franchise Provisions)
Per the Bureau of Engineering Operations and Control Manual, C 342.72 PIPELINE ABANDONMENT AND REMOVAL (FRANCHISE PROVISIONS), companies having franchises which provide for abandoned pipes to be removed must obtain permission of the Board of Public Works if they wish to abandon them in place. It is preferable to remove unused petroleum product pipelines because of the potential hazard from explosive vapors. However, if permitted to be abandoned in place, the pipe must be filled with an inert material acceptable to the Bureau of Engineering such as a thixotropic clay with an additive to prevent shrinkage. A utility line which is permitted to be abandoned in place by the Board will become property of the City. Whenever the ownership of the former franchise utility line has been transferred to the City, the City is responsible for removal of the pipeline on future City improvement projects. Should the City sell the abandoned line, the new buyer will be responsible for future removal of the line.
Pipeline Abandonment and Removal by Proprietary City Departments Under the City Charter
Per the Bureau of Engineering Operations and Control Manual, “ C 342.73 PIPELINE ABANDONMENT AND REMOVAL BY PROPRIETARY CITY DEPARTMENTS UNDER THE CITY CHARTER, pipelines and accessory structures belonging to a proprietary department (i.e., Water and Power, etc.) which are abandoned remain their property. The facilities may be ordered removed at any time by the Board.
Pipeline Abandonment and Removal for Council Controlled Departments
Per the Bureau of Engineering Operations and Control Manual, C 342.74 C 342.74 PIPELINE ABANDONMENT AND REMOVAL FOR COUNCIL CONTROLLED DEPARTMENTS, abandonment of pipelines or accessory structures owned or operated by a City Department operating as a governmental agency, (i.e., - providing a public service on a non-revenue producing basis), such as the Department of Public Utilities, Department of Public Works, of Department of Traffic shall be in accordance with the policy detailed in Subsection C 342.71.
Pipeline Abandonment and Removal for Other Governmental Agencies
Per C 342.75 PIPELINE ABANDONMENT AND REMOVAL FOR OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES, pipeline abandonment and removal policy for governmental agencies such as the Federal, State, to occupy the street (see or County which have the authority subsection C 342.441) without a franchise, is Departments. identical with the policy for proprietary City Outside Cities must have a franchise to occupy the street and the removal or abandonment of the pipeline is the same as with other franchises.
Other Applicable Regulations
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) does not have approved guidelines for abandoning oil pipeline and does not continue oversight after the pipeline has been abandoned and abandonment criteria have been met. The FERC recommended that the California Energy Commission and the PHMSA are the entities that might regulate the abandoning of pipelines. PHMSA 195.402-c-10, Procedural Manual for Operations, Maintenance and Emergencies, states that: Abandoning pipeline facilities, including safe disconnection from an operating pipeline system, purging of combustibles, and sealing abandoned facilities left in place to minimize safety and environmental hazards. For each abandoned offshore pipeline facility or each abandoned onshore pipeline facility that crosses over, under or through commercially navigable waterways the last operator of that facility must file a report upon abandonment of that facility in accordance with §195.59. The pipeline will be purge, seal and clean and fill with Nitrogen gas.
The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering a bill bill (H.R.4687 - SMART Infrastructure Act), which would amend the federal Pipeline Safety Act to require inspections of pipelines to confirm their status each time they are listed as abandoned or transferred as part of a sale.
PHMSA regulations concern the safety of abandoned pipelines, which the Agency defines as lines that are “permanently removed from service.” 49 C.F.R. Part 192.3; 49 C.F.R Part 195.2. PHMSA regulations prescribe certain steps for formal abandonment of both oil and gas pipelines, including the disconnection, purging, and sealing of abandoned pipelines left in place. Despite the fact that PHMSA regulations concern only two types of pipelines—those that are either active or abandoned—the pipeline industry has long used various terms (‘temporarily idled,’ ‘out of service,’ ‘retired,’ etc.) to refer to a third category of pipelines, those that are not currently in use but have not been abandoned in accordance with the regulations. Significantly, this category of pipe, precisely because it has not yet been formally abandoned, is subject to pipeline safety regulations at 49 C.F.R. Part 192.3 and 49 C.F.R Part 195. PHMSA Interpretation for Equistar Chemicals (April 6, 2009) (“Ceasing normal operation of a pipeline does not remove the pipeline from PHMSA’s jurisdiction.”). What that means in practice is that a line taken out of service but not formally abandoned must continue to comply with Operations and Maintenance manual and O&M and Integrity Management Plan (IMP) and inspection and maintenance obligations.
PHMSA has acknowledged, however, that pipelines in this category pose varying levels of risk to public safety and has said in guidance that while “out-of-service” pipe purged of gas or hazardous liquid is still technically subject to Parts 192 and 195 (including requirements pertaining to inspection, maintenance, cathodic protection, and integrity management), it may be eligible for deferral of certain requirements, such as integrity management activities. PHMSA Gas Transmission Integrity Management May 2014 FAQs, FAQ-7; PHMSA Hazardous Liquid Integrity Management FAQs, FAQ-2.3.
- "FAQ-7. Do the requirements of the rule apply to "idle" pipe? [02/20/2004]
The regulations do not define "idle" pipe. Pipe is considered either active or abandoned. OPS understands "idle" pipe, as used in the context of this question, as pipe not currently being used to move gas but that could be put back in service at a future date. All pipe is subject to the requirements of the integrity management rule. However, idle pipe presents different risks and different treatment is appropriate.
In-service pipe (i.e., that contains gas, but is not presently being used to transport gas) represents a potential hazard to public health and the environment, even though idle. If such pipe leaks or ruptures, an explosion could result. Leaks may go undetected for some time, since idle pipe may not be covered by operator's SCADA systems. For these reasons, operators must meet all requirements and deadlines for pipe that contains gas. Such pipe must be included when determining if the requirement to assess 50% of covered pipeline mileage by December 17, 2007, has been met.
Out-of-service pipe (i.e., pipe laid up with nitrogen) represents much less hazard. Degradation of such pipe can occur, but is not likely to result in safety impacts. OPS will accept deferral of activities required by the rule for out-of-service pipe. All deferred activities must be completed as part of any later return of that line to service. A baseline assessment need not be run immediately if the deadline for completing baseline assessments (i.e., December 17, 2012) has not yet expired, unless the risk posed by the line would require an earlier assessment. The baseline assessment plan should be modified to assure that a baseline assessment is completed by the appropriate deadline. If the deadline has expired, then a baseline assessment must be completed as part of returning the line to service.
Adding an idle line into the IM program would be considered a substantive program change and would require notification under 192.909(b)."
The City and owner of an oil pipeline shall review potential liabilities in the course of making abandonment decisions. In addition to regulatory obligations, the owner of an abandoned pipeline shall continue to have potential liability under common law for any nuisance of hazard that may be created by leaving pipe in the ground especially when crossing water crossings, underground aquifers or local water supply. Furthermore, the abandonment process shall protect the citizens’ health and safety, and the financial integrity and financial liability of the City of Los Angeles. The following items are also requirements:
- A company, having a franchise agreement with the City of Los Angeles, is required to remove the pipeline; with the exception that the company must obtain permission from the Board of Public Works to abandon it in place.
- The company shall start the abandonment or removal process with the Petroleum Administrator from the Board of Public Works. After the initial review process by the Petroleum Administrator, the Petroleum Administrator will direct the company to seek a U or E permit approval from the Bureau of Engineering.
- All steel and iron pipelines over 12 inches in diameter shall be removed if the pipeline is 2 feet or less below the proposed or existing finish surface elevation. No abandonment shall be granted.
- Once the pipeline company has obtained approval from the Board to abandon their pipeline in the public right of way; the company shall comply the abandonment process with continuous inspection and submit the following for approval:
- Submit drawings showing the pipeline location from the street center line, the length of the abandonment, size and depth of the pipeline, number of excavations in the City right of way, etc.
- The oil pipeline company or its representative shall comply with the latest City regulations, specifications, policies, standards, special notices and procedures for the excavation, removal, soil contamination removal and backfill. Included but not limited notification to Digalert prior to any excavation in public right-of-way (PROW)
- Obtain traffic control approval from LADOT where excavation occurs.
- Submit draining method of the pipeline. All contaminants shall be removed and disposed of by the company or its contractor representative complying with all Federal, State and City regulations.
- Purge line of any unused petroleum product pipeline because of the potential hazard from explosives vapors. The pipeline company shall follow the guidelines of the PHMAS. Submit method for purging the pipeline. Certification of the purge line shall be submitted at the end of the work. Certify that the pipeline is in optimum condition to accept the fill material. The applicant shall send a notification of the abandonment to PHMSA. The applicant should send a notification to the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS).
- Submit method (either gravity or pressure pump) and the material to fill the pipeline. The pipeline shall be filled with an inert, non-explosive and flowable material such as thixotropic clay with an additive to prevent shrinkage, cellular grout, or cementitious slurry (cellular non-shrink grout or approved equal) with a minimum strength of 300 PSI. After curing the material must be solid. Submit the safety data sheet as part of the submittal package. Include pressures and rating volume. The pipeline company shall proceed with caution that fill material could leak into the surrounding soil, sewer house connection, utility or utility structure, underground aquifer, or water supply; therefore, it’s the pipeline company's financial responsibility to remediate the problem. Submit expected volume of material to be used for the specific abandoned pipe intervals and the total volume of material for the entire abandonment.
- Submit and provide seal and cap or plug type at both ends of the pipeline abandonment.
- The segment of the abandonment will be a consideration of the company to avoid bursting the pipe during the complete fill-in of the pipeline, cut and plugged from the main line. Special considerations shall be submitted for approval when the oil pipeline crosses water crossings, underground aquifers, or local water supply.
- The utility abandoned in place will not become property of the City; however, the City will request to the oil company if segment(s) of the abandoned pipeline can be removed on future City Capital Improvement projects. If a property owner or developer requests to remove the line for their own improvements or development; the owner of the pipeline shall grant permission to the developer or property owner, who must provide documentation to the District Engineer. The cost associated with the removal and haul away shall be borne by the property owner or developer.
- The City will not take responsibility for soil contamination due to oil seepage of the pipeline in the surrounding soil and groundwater where applicable.
- The abandonment requirements shall apply to Governmental Agencies, such Navy fuel lines, and they shall follow the premises with franchise agreement.
- The pipeline company shall certify the abandonment at the end of work, stating that the pipeline company has complied with all the Federal, State and City regulations for oil pipeline abandonment.
- The U or E permit excavation permit is subjected to Street Damaged Restoration Fee (SDRF.)
- After the work is complete, the company shall provide proof to the Petroleum Administrator of the U or E permit final inspection.