In April of 2022, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation, announced a new rule to help improve pipeline safety, reduce super-polluting methane emissions, and protect the public by requiring the installation of remotely controlled or automatic shut-off valves on new and replaced onshore natural gas, carbon dioxide and other hazardous liquid pipelines. The new requirements will assist in preventing severe human and environmental consequences following pipeline failures. See the rule here.
In 2010, a pipeline in Marshall, Michigan leaked 843,444 gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River for 17 hours before the operator shut off the pipeline. That same year it took more than 90 minutes to stop the flow of product in a natural gas pipeline in San Bruno, California. The California incident resulted in an explosion which killed eight people, injured 51 others, destroyed 38 homes and damaged and additional 70 homes.
The new requirements will apply to all new and replaced onshore pipelines six inches in diameter or greater. Pipeline operators installing these valves will also be required to comply with new performance standards for the operation of those valves requiring their closure to isolate a ruptured pipeline segment as soon as practicable after rupture identification, but no more than 30 minutes. In the operation of natural gas pipeline valves, defects such as pitting corrosion, surface damage and overall fracture may occur, which may result in internal leakage. If the internal leakage in a valve cannot be detected in time, it may cause the combustible gas to be pumped into the low-pressure manifold from the high-pressure pipe. This will bring serious safety hazards to the normal operation of the long-distance gas pipelines. The timely and effective detection of the internal leakage in a valve is of great significance to ensure the safe operation of the pipelines.
JM Test’s Valve Leak Rate Test Stand is designed to check the leak rate of a valve quickly and accurately before putting it in service. This test stand will test ½ -12 inch valves (larger valves possible upon review) using a gasket clamping system which requires no bolting. The ability for a company to test these valves inhouse and more often is becoming crucial with the increasing safety regulations. The Valve Leak Rate Test Stand practically pays for itself if it is able to prevent just one incident.