EVA Construction Rules In Effect; More Sewer/Water Stimulus Funds Coming?

EPA Continues Aggressive Measures: OSHA Could Reassert Its Influence
By Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor | February 2010 Vol. 65 No. 2

The key mandate in the final rule published by the PHMSA is that distribution companies install excess flow valves (EFVs) on new and replaced residential service lines, subject to feasibility criteria outlined in the rule. The DIMP covers nearly 10,000 natural gas operators (about 200 of them the predominant local companies) with a combined total of 1,138,000 miles of mains. EFVs will not have to be installed on branch service lines. Up until now local gas utilities simply had to notify customers that an EFV was available when repair work was done on their home gas line. If the customer wanted the EFV, he or she paid for it.

That now changes. The company must install EFVs when putting in a new line or repairing an old one and the company must foot the construction bill, too. This final DIMP rule provides important details on EFV installation which will dictate the extent of construction. Citing the expense of excavation work, PHMSA clarified that it expects companies to install EFVs only when repair work is done near the main. But it made clear that it also expects EFVs to go in if repair work is only around the main; in other words the entire line does not have to be repaired for an EFV to be installed.

The EFV requirement goes into effect on Feb. 10, 2010. The exceptions to the EFV installation mandate are: 1) where an operator has prior experience with contaminants in the gas stream which could pose problems for the EFV operation, 2) the service line does not operate at a pressure of 10 psig or greater throughout the year, 3) the EFV could interfere with the necessary operation or maintenance activities, such a blowing liquids from the system, or 4) if an EFV is not commercially available.