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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Pipeline Incident Flagged Files

PHMSA regulations require incident and accident reports for five different pipeline system types. PHMSA incident reporting criteria have changed substantially over the years - see History of PHMSA Incident Reporting Criteria.

Accidents reported on hazardous liquid gravity lines (§195.13) and reporting-regulated-only hazardous liquid gathering lines (§195.15) and incidents reported on Type R gas gathering (§192.8(c)) are not included in the Flagged Files. Operators of these pipeline systems are required to comply with certain reporting regulations, but do not need to comply with any other portions of 195/192.

In the flagged files, we add data PHMSA routinely uses during data analysis and when presenting 20 year trends. These additional data elements include:

Cause and subCause

Many incident data sets are combined to present the PHMSA 20 year trends. The cause and subcause data from each incident report is placed into a set of causes and subcauses common to the entire 20 year period. The flagged files include both the original data and the cause and subcause values used in the 20 year trends.

Fire First

Gas distribution incidents caused by a nearby fire or explosion impacting the pipeline system. From March 2004 to the present, PHMSA excludes these incidents from the serious and significant incident data sets.


Significant Incidents are those including any of the following conditions, but Fire First incidents are excluded:

  1. Fatality or injury requiring in-patient hospitalization
  2. $50,000 or more in total costs, measured in 1984 dollars
  3. Highly volatile liquid releases of 5 barrels or more or other liquid releases of 50 barrels or more
  4. Liquid releases resulting in an unintentional fire or explosion

Property Damage in Current Year Dollars

When we display Significant Incidents, all costs are in "current year" dollars. The flagged files include two fields for each category of property damage – as reported at the time of the incident and converted to "current year" dollars. "Current year" is the most recently completed calendar year. For example, in August 2014, the property damage values are shown in 2013 dollars. Value of gas lost is adjusted to current year dollars using the Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas City Gate Prices. All other values are adjusted using the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Government Printing Office (Chained) Price Index from FY 2020, Table 10.1.

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Last updated: Friday, April 28, 2023