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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 4, 2019 11:05 AM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Real Time Pipeline Monitoring and Alert Systems

I will soon introduce legislation to require the use of fiber optic technology to monitor risks to public safety and alert appropriate state and local agencies in the event of a potential pipeline emergency. Fiber-optic strands can detect pressure changes or vibrations that could indicate a leak or an impact to a pipeline and, within seconds, transmit that threat to a remote monitoring station and trained pipeline operations team. While some pipeline operators currently use Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems to enhance safety and efficiency by monitoring and transmitting this critical information, operators are currently not required to immediately notify PUC or emergency management in the county/ies where the threat was recorded. This legislation would increase transparency related to reporting criteria and greatly improve public safety protocol in the event of an potential pipeline failure.

Seconds matter in a pipeline emergency and we must assure that pipeline companies operating in our Commonwealth not only make use of the latest technology to monitor system safety but also provide “real-time” alerts to state agencies and local residents. Similar regulatory requirements have been required by agencies in states in the aftermath of catastrophic pipeline events that have resulted in substantial property damage, significant injury, or death. It is my strong belief that we need not wait until it is too late to implement a real-time alert system that increases transparency and improves public safety.

Introduced as SB584