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March/April 2010
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Gas Distribution

A proposed new ASTM International standard will allow gas utility companies to better identify underground assets such as different types of pipe, fittings and components. From an operations perspective, effective identification is a critical component, ranging from asset management to risk management and mitigation, to help facilitate compliance with the recent Distribution Integrity Management rules issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The proposed new standard, WK23107, Specification for Tracking and Traceability Requirements for Gas Distribution Systems, is being developed by Subcommittee F17.60 on Gas, part of ASTM International Committee F17 on Plastic Piping Systems.

According to Hitesh Patadia, general manager, TEJ Group Inc., and an F17 member, WK23107 will provide a standardized algorithm to establish unique identifiers that can more accurately characterize the various components used for gas distribution applications.

“These algorithms can then be used to effectively track and trace the various components throughout the supply chain from the point of manufacture to the point of installation,” says Patadia. “In doing so, an effective means to identify the location of the respective assets and knowledge of their pedigree can be known.”

The algorithm used in the proposed standard is a 14-digit identifier that can be placed on the product in a variety of forms, including simple printing, bar coding formats or more advanced techniques such as radio frequency identification. This information can then be captured by gas companies and placed in database systems to facilitate effective tracking of where parts are installed.

Patadia notes that, once the proposed standard has been approved, it is intended to be referenced in product specifications to ensure compliance.

“This project has been guided by a joint industry steering committee consisting of members from each of the key stakeholder groups, including gas companies, regulatory staff and product manufacturers,” says Patadia. “Efforts are currently under way to develop a Web-based application to provide an easy-to-use platform for developing the unique identifiers for a particular product.”

CONTACT

Technical Information: Hitesh Patadia, TEJ Group Inc., Crystal Lake, Ill.

Phone: 847-873-3139

ASTM Staff: Robert Morgan

Phone: 610-832-9732