Regulatory Requirements Associated with Pipelines

Pipelines on non-federal lands are primarily regulated by the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission; pipeline construction on federal lands must follow the relevant requirements from the Bureau of Land Management.

State Requirements

Pipelines on non-federal lands are primarily regulated by the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission (AOGC) Rules through AOGC Rule D-11 Pipeline Maps and Rule D-17 General Rule for the Regulation of Natural Gas Gathering Lines.

In the case of any incidents involving releases of natural gas, operators must file Form 28 Notification of Natural Gas Pipeline Incident Report.

In addition to the AOGC requirements, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has prepared a general NPDES permit ARG6700000 Pipeline Hydrostatic Testing Discharge. In order to be covered under the general permit, companies would need to file a Notice of Intent form.

Federal Requirements

When pipeline construction occurs on federal lands, companies must follow the relevant requirements from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Gold Book.

Steep hillsides and water courses should be avoided in the location of pipelines and flowlines. Flowline routes should take advantage of road corridors wherever possible to minimize surface disturbance and provide better leak detection and access for installation and repair operations.

Consider maintenance needs and safety when burying power and pipelines in or immediately adjacent to the road. When clearing is necessary, the width disturbed should be kept to a minimum. Topsoil material must be stockpiled to the side of the routes where cuts and fills or other surface disturbances occur during pipeline construction. Topsoil material must be segregated and not be mixed or covered with subsurface material. Materials must be placed back into the cleared route upon completion of construction and returned back to the original contour before reapplying topsoil.

Pipelines and flowlines should be tested for leaks before backfilling trenches. Pipeline trenches should be compacted during backfilling. Pipeline rights-of-way must be maintained in order to correct backfill settling and prevent erosion. Pipeline construction should not block, dam, or change the natural course of any drainage. Suspended pipelines should provide adequate clearance for high-flow events, floating debris, wildlife, or livestock. Pipelines buried across stream crossings should be buried below the scouring depth.

As part of its Surface Use Plan of Operations, the operator must prepare a reclamation plan. Part of the plan will deal with reclamation of pipeline corridors. Pipeline reclamation involves placing fill in the trench, compacting the fill, regrading cut-and-fill slopes to restore the original contour, replacing topsoil, installing temporary erosion control devices, and revegetating. Erosion control devices must be maintained and repaired as necessary. If berms of topsoil were originally placed over the trench to accommodate settling, the surviving berms should also be flattened to blend with the surrounding landform and revegetated.

Final abandonment of pipelines and flowlines will involve flushing and properly disposing of any fluids in the lines. All surface lines and any lines that are buried close to the surface that may become exposed due to water or wind erosion, soil movement, or anticipated subsequent use, must be removed. Deeply buried lines may remain in place unless otherwise directed by the authorized officer.

BLM also requires operators to submit an Application for Transportation and Utility Systems and Facilities on Federal Lands (Standard Form 299) when constructing pipelines.

See also Endangered Species Act (ESA) Provisions

This regulatory information is provided as guidance to viewers. It should not be used as the sole source of information concerning the relevant and applicable regulatory requirements. Agency organization, laws and regulations, and Web linkages are subject to change. Therefore viewers are encouraged to check with the appropriate regulatory agencies for authorized up-to-date information.
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