[Skip to Content]
DOT Logo
U.S. Department
of Transportation

Pipeline Safety Stakeholder Communications

Pipeline Safety Connects Us All

PIPA Recommended Practice ND22

ND22 "Reduce Transmission Pipeline Risk through Design and Location of New Places of Mass Public Assembly (Future Identified Sites)"

Practice Statement New development of places of potential mass public assembly within a transmission pipeline planning area (see PIPA Recommended Practice BL06) should be designed and the facilities located and constructed to reduce the consequences of a potential transmission pipeline incident, the risk of excavation damage to the pipeline, and the potential of interference with transmission pipeline operations and maintenance. Planning for these facilities should include emergency plans that consider the effects of a potential pipeline incident.

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

Practice Description

Places of potential mass public assembly (e.g., amusement parks, stadiums, amphitheaters, highway rest stops, churches, and other large public assemblies), should be constructed or located to mitigate the impact of a potential transmission pipeline incident and provide emergency plans for potential pipeline incidents.

Large public assembly areas and facilities may not lend themselves to a timely evacuation. Specific emergency plans addressing transmission pipeline incidents should be developed and/or integrated with existing overall emergency and/or relocation plans for these sites. The emergency plans should include coordination with the transmission pipeline operator, as necessary.

In the event of a transmission pipeline incident, evacuation or shelter-in-place may be warranted. 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.

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

Enhanced fire protection of buildings (i.e. automatic sprinklers, water screens, exposure protection, air handling/ventilation systems, 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 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 of various buildings.

Areas covered under this recommended practice should include "identified sites" per the gas transmission pipeline integrity management regulations (49 CFR 192.903), such as an outside area or open structure that is occupied by twenty (20) or more persons on a regular basis (50 days or more in any 12-month period). Such identified sites may include, but are not limited to, beaches, playgrounds, recreational facilities, camping grounds, outdoor theaters, stadiums, recreational areas, parks, areas outside a rural building such as a religious facility, amusement parks, stadiums, amphitheaters, agricultural gathering areas, and other large public assemblies.

Local government agencies or developers may consider modeling of fire, explosion, or toxic release impacts that could occur during an incident for the specific land use under consideration. Egress models may also be considered. If appropriate, facility designs 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 has formed partnerships, funded research and programs, and has published supplementary documents to assist transmission pipeline operators, emergency response personnel, and others in developing an emergency response plan.

Owners and operators of areas covered under this practice, whether public or private, should inform area users of the transmission line operator's public awareness message as well as any specific site emergency plan required by local public authorities for the area.