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PIPA Recommended Practice ND20

ND20 "Reduce Transmission Pipeline Risk through Location, Design, and Construction of New Institutional Land Use Developments"

Practice Statement New development of institutional facilities that may be difficult to evacuate within a transmission pipeline planning area (see PIPA Recommended Practice BL06) should be designed and the facilities located and constructed to reduce the consequences that could result from a transmission pipeline incident. Such facilities should also be located to reduce the potential of interference with transmission pipeline operations and maintenance activities. Emergency plans for these facilities should consider potential transmission pipeline incidents.

Audience(s): Local Government, Property Developer and Owner

Practice Description

Property development that includes institutional facilities should place these facilities in locations on the property to reduce the consequences that could result from a transmission pipeline incident. This includes facilities such as schools, daycare facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, jails and prisons, and other potentially difficult to evacuate facilities. The location of these facilities should also be designed to reduce the potential of interference with transmission pipeline operations and maintenance.

In the event of a transmission pipeline incident, evacuation of a building or shelter-in-place may be necessary. Evacuation routes should be considered during the design of the development to ensure that the potential impacts of a transmission pipeline incident will not compromise a necessary evacuation. For example, buildings should have a safe means of egress with exits located where they would not be made inaccessible by the impacts of a pipeline incident. Similarly, cul-de-sac streets should not be designed crossing a transmission pipeline as the only route of ingress or egress could be blocked during a pipeline incident.

Institutional facilities may be difficult to evacuate facilities may not lend themselves to timely evacuation. Specific emergency plans addressing transmission pipeline incidents should be developed for these buildings and integrated with overall emergency plans for the site. Site emergency plans should be developed in coordination with the transmission pipeline operator (see PIPA Recommended Practice ND23). Several codes have been issued to address these concerns, including:

  • NFPA 1 - National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): Fire Code
  • NFPA 101 - NFPA: Life Safety Code
  • NFPA 5000 - NFPA: Building and Construction Safety Code
  • IBC - International Code Council (ICC): International Building Code
  • IRC - ICC: International Residential Code
  • IFC - ICC: International Fire Code

These codes provide minimum standards for means of building egress, including capacity, quantity, arrangement, location, protection, and marking of means of egress. Minimum standards for emergency plans are also provided, where applicable.

Enhanced fire protection of buildings (i.e. automatic sprinklers, water screens, exposure protection, etc.) and/or enhanced fire endurance (non-combustible construction, window limitation, etc.) may also be implemented to further mitigate the impact of a potential transmission pipeline incident. NFPA 1, Fire Code, provides minimum standards for separation distances for various occupancies based on fire endurance (in hours) and incorporates many other NFPA codes and standards (by reference) for fire protection. NFPA 5000 and IBC provide minimum standards for fire endurance for various buildings. Also, consider standards for outside air intake sources for buildings near transmission pipelines.

Local government agencies or property developers should consider modeling of fire, explosion, or toxic release impacts that could occur during a transmission pipeline incident for the specific land use under consideration. Egress models should also be considered. If appropriate, facility design should take this modeling into account to minimize potential impacts. The model should be fit-for-purpose and the model user should have appropriate expertise.

It should be noted that transmission pipeline operators are required to provide emergency liaison and consultations by existing pipeline safety regulations. Gas and liquid transmission pipeline operators must maintain, modify as appropriate, and follow the plans, procedures and programs they are required to establish under Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 192 and 195, respectively.

In addition, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has formed partnerships, funded research and training programs, and has published supplementary documents to assist transmission pipeline operators, emergency response personnel, and others in developing emergency response plans. For more information, local governments and property developers/owners can contact the PHMSA Community Assistance and Technical Services representatives. Information will also be available as part of ongoing public awareness efforts by transmission pipeline operators.