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FOSA Commends Senate Commerce Committee’s Passage of PHMSA Legislation Mandating Pipeline Safety Test Facility

July 31, 2019

Fiber Optic Sensing Association
Contact: Mark Uncapher

Fiber Optic Sensing Association Commends Senate Commerce Committee’s Passage of PHMSA Legislation Mandating Pipeline Safety Test Facility Study   

WASHINGTON DC, July 31, 2019 - The Fiber Optic Sensing Association (FOSA), the nation’s premier trade association dedicated to fiber optic sensing, today commended the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation for its passage of S. 2299, Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2019, introduced by Senators Deb Fischer (R- NE) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). Section 106 of the bi-partisan bill directs the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to conduct a feasibility study for “an independent pipeline safety testing facility under the Department of Transportation.”

“The Senate Commerce Committee’s inclusion of the test facility concept is a giant step towards the realization of such a capability, which we believe will dramatically improve pipeline safety in the United States,” said FOSA Chairman John Williams.

Last year, following discussions with numerous pipeline operators, FOSA called for the federal government and the pipeline industry to work together to establish a pipeline safety test facility. Based on operator input, FOSA issued a concept paper suggesting a buried “flow-loop” pipeline with controllable orifices to emulate leaking pipes under real-world environmental conditions. FOSA’s paper also envisaged use of the facility to test “smart pigs” and other internal pipeline devices, as well as techniques for safely retrofitting new technologies on existing pipelines. In September 2018, PHMSA recognized a “knowledge gap” regarding the validation of remote sensing and leak detection technologies under realistic conditions.   

“The Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and others have facilities for validation of new technologies and techniques, but no such facility exists for pipelines. We believe a comprehensive pipeline test facility operating under real-world conditions would benefit both the public and the pipeline industry” said FOSA Executive Director Mark Uncapher.  

Pipeline facility schematic

FOSA also endorsed the Bill's inclusion of a PHMSA proposal to allow procedures by operators to advance new pipeline safety technologies and approaches. 


ABOUT THE FIBER OPTIC SENSING ASSOCIATION FOSA is a non-profit organization created in Washington DC in 2017 with the mission of educating industry, government and the public on the benefits of fiber optic sensing. Through webinars, videos, white papers, public presentations and public policy advocacy, the organization provides information on the use of fiber optic sensing to secure critical facilities, enhance public safety and protect the environment.

FOSA Members include AP Sensing, Aselsan, Asymmetric Technologies, Corning, Ditch Witch, Dura-Line, FiOPS, Fotech Solutions, Frauscher Sensor Technology USA, Hifi Engineering, Network Integrity Systems, NEC, NKT Photonics, OFS, Omnisens, OptaSense, OZ Optics, Prysmian Group, Schlumberger, Skyview Construction and Smartpipe Technologies. For further information, please visit the FOSA website.


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