The Pipeline Safety department represents the public interest with regard to the safety oversight for operators of natural gas distribution and transmission pipeline systems, liquefied natural gas facilities, certain liquefied propane systems, landfill gas systems, and lateral pipelines from interstate pipeline systems in South Carolina. The ORS inspects facilities, performs incident investigations, and conducts various types of operator training.
The Pipeline Safety department enforces the federal pipeline safety regulations set forth by the US Department of Transportation in addition to state rules and regulations governing gas systems. The state of South Carolina has an agreement with The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) wherein all operators in the state must comply with these guidelines. The Pipeline Safety department undergoes annual re-certification by PHMSA.
Natural gas is believed to be the safest, most dependable and economical fuel available today. Overall, natural gas operators have achieved an impressive safety record providing natural gas service to millions of customers safely and efficiently. Aware of the potential hazards associated with their product, the operators are very knowledgeable concerning both safety precautions and operations and maintenance requirements that constantly must be observed. Many organizations, volunteer groups, and associations -- along with state and federal regulators -- contribute to the success of the natural gas industry.
Many gas-related incidents result from damage to buried pipelines during excavation activities. Known as "third party damage," this type of excavation incident is one of the leading causes of pipeline damage industry-wide each year. This is why one-call programs, such as that provided by South Carolina and 811, are so valuable. Anyone planning to dig, excavate, bore, tunnel, blast, or disturb the earth in any manner in which buried utilities may be damaged must call SC 811 by dialing 811. It is a state law (SC Code Ann. Sections 58-36-10 through 58-36-120).
Note: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has designated 811 as the nationwide number to protect pipelines and utilities from excavation damage. Learn more about 811.