Gas Pipeline Safety: Stakeholders’ and Officials’ Views on Federal Odorizing Requirements

The United States' gas pipeline network moves about 74 billion cubic feet of combustible gas to homes and businesses daily. To alert the public of a gas leak before an explosion occurs, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has different requirements for odorizing gas. All gas transported by distribution pipelines throughout communities must be odorized. Gas transported across many miles by transmission pipelines is required to be odorized only in certain populated areas. There are no requirements to odorize gas in gathering pipelines. Congress included a provision in statute for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review odor requirements for all pipelines. This report presents the views of federal and state pipeline safety officials and industry and safety stakeholders on: (1) the advantages and disadvantages of odorizing combustible gases in pipelines; and (2) whether and how federal requirements for odorizing pipelines should be modified. GAO reviewed relevant regulations and reports; surveyed officials in 48 states and the District of Columbia; and interviewed PHMSA and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials. GAO also interviewed 34 stakeholders, including 14 experts identified by the National Academies, and 20 other industry and safety stakeholders.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 27p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01669347
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-18-409
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 18 2018 3:04PM