Temporary Repairs on Pipeline Systems

During a recent discussion, it was suggested to me that some organizations may not be following the current Z662 requirements, (CSA Z662–15, clause 10.12) established for making temporary repairs. They suggested they didn’t really need to follow the rules because “Nobody Else” was following the rules. Apparently, there are still some people in the field who believed that bubble-gum and duct tape constitute a reasonable temporary repair under pipeline regulations, although I wasn’t able to gain any actual examples or names. I remembered my mother asking “If everyone was jumping off the bridge would you follow?”, so I don’t usually give much credence to what “everybody else” is doing as a rationalization for intentional non-compliance. I have usually found the reason people aren’t following requirements is that they are not really aware of them or their implications.

In the past many temporary repairs were conducted using the “seems like a good idea” or “should be good enough” approaches. They were often with little documentation or planning. The rationalization was it was just temporary. The problem that surfaced was that some of those temporary repairs enjoyed some very long lifespans.

“In 2007, the Z662 clarified the expectation for temporary repairs with an update and expansion of the clause. The clarification mandated engineering assessment and involvement for ALL temporary repairs (even if pipeline welding is not involved) and for a mandatory engineering assessment review if a temporary repair remained in place longer than one year.”

Under the CSA Z662 a permanent repair is always required. When a permanent repair cannot be immediately implemented, clause 10.12 provides the permission and requirements for using a temporary repair… temporarily!

Some Quick points for consideration:

  • The administration of a temporary repair should be in accordance with your company Safety and Loss Management System.
  • Monitoring and records of temporary repairs should also be linked to your Integrity management program during the life of the temporary repair.
  • All temporary repairs must comply with the pipeline regulations of the appropriate AHJ. Remember, AHJ’s can often have additional criteria going beyond minimum requirements contained in Z662 clauses.

Because of some upcoming issues (meaning the potential for increased external oversight), now might be a good time to conduct an internal audit or procedural review, to ensure that your organization has the proper temporary repair procedures in place. Proper procedures would include documentation of policy and process as well as clear record keeping expectations.