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Although it has had experienced teams and industry review in the preparation of these documents, ALA welcomes comments and feedback to the below guidelines and reports from a larger set of lifeline interests. Generally, the guidelines will serve as the basis for developing national consensus guidelines within appropriate standards development organizations (SDOs).

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Page Contents:

Guidelines for Utility Performance Assessment:
- Electric Power Systems Guidelines and Commentary
- Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Systems Guidelines and Commentary
- Wastewater Systems Guidelines and Commentary

Flood-Resistant Local Road Systems: A Report Based on Case Studies

Evaluation Guide for the Seismic Operability of Active Mechanical

Report on Extreme Ice Thicknesses from Freezing Rain

Design Guideline for Seismic Resistant Water Pipeline Installations

USGS ShakeMap / ShakeCast Report: Improving Utilization Within the ALA Community

AREMA Handbook for Railway Storm Scour

Seismic Design Standards for Aboveground Steel Storage Tanks

Guideline for the Seismic Design and Retrofit of Piping Systems

Design Guideline for Buried Steel Pipe

Seismic Fragility Formulations for Water Systems


Guidelines for Utility Performance Assessment

The ALA has developed three new guidelines to provide utility system owners and operators with guidance on defining the scope of actions necessary to assess system performance during and after hazard events to support risk management decisions. The three draft guidelines that are posted for review and comments include:

Electric Power Systems
Guideline and Commentary

Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Systems
and Commentary

Wastewater Systems
and Commentary

These technical guidelines are to be used as part of an overall decision-making framework. Their scope includes both natural hazards (e.g., earthquakes, flood, hurricane, tornado, windstorm, icing, and ground displacements caused by landslides, frost heave and settlement) and man-made hazards (biological, chemical, radiological, blast, and cyber incidents). Each guideline consists of a two-volume report with concise guidance provided in one volume and commentary and references provided in a separate volume.

Flood-Resistant Local Road Systems: A Report Based on Case Studies

Link to Case Studies

The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) in conjunction with the American Public Works Association (APWA) developed for the ALA a series of case studies that document decision-making processes pertaining to flood-preparedness, planning, and post-flood repair/upgrade for local road transportation systems. The case studies address the system’s economic, administrative, and legal operating environment; an overview of its decision-making process; site-specific examination of decisions; and local and case study team observations of the process. ASFPM and APWA also have made a series of recommendations about the implications of these experiences for future acceptable-risk assessments and decision-making.

Evaluation Guide for the Seismic Operability of Active Mechanical Equipment - 2004

Many lifeline system mechanical components perform critical functions during and after earthquakes (e.g., a pump that must start to provide fire suppression water or a valve that must close to isolate a toxic or flammable spill). The earthquake performance of these components is assessed by various entities using a combination of analysis, shake-table testing, operational experience, and informed judgment.

To provide a single information source, the ALA developed a guide that encompasses the available performance data for six classes of mechanical components: valves, valve operators, pumps, compressors, fans, and packaged air handling units. For each component class, the guide identifies seismic failure modes and the primary contributors to each failure mode. Checklists are included to facilitate the evaluation of components for new and existing applications in both commercial and industrial facilities.

Report on Extreme Ice Thicknesses from Freezing Rain , 2004
Link to Maps -- Appendix A (English units), Appendix B (Metric units)

In 2003, the ALA contracted with the Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) for the creation of consistent national hazard maps of atmospheric ice thickness and concurrent wind speeds (in both English and metric units) for multiple return periods between 50 and 400 years. The maps for the ice and wind-on-ice conditions for all regions of the contiguous United States and Alaska are available in two formats -- as paper maps and Arc View shape files.

This project is the culmination of a four-year effort to reassess storm data for the United States in a consistent fashion. Earlier work funded by the ALA, Bonneville Power Administration, and a multi-utility sponsored project involved the mapping of the eastern Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, eastern Louisiana, and Florida. It is anticipated that the maps will be used in the next edition of the ASCE national load standard (ASCE 7-05) and the National Electrical Safety Code.


Design Guideline for Seismic Resistant Water Pipeline Installations


Part 1 -- Chapters 1 - 4
Part 2 -- Chapters 5 - 7
Part 3 -- Chapters 8 - 10
Part 4 -- Chapters 11 - 13

The ALA initiated development of this guideline to provide water utilities with clear and practical guidance for designing water pipelines with improved resistance to damage from earthquakes. In 2003, the ALA found that water utilities in the United States, including those in regions of high seismic risk, install the vast majority of their pipelines with little if any consideration of seismic resistance. A key reason for this deficiency in practice was determined to be the absence of adequate seismic design requirements in existing standards for the design and installation of water pipelines. The guideline is intended to provide water utility personnel, pipe designers, and manufacturers with cost-effective approaches to seismic design of water pipelines. Since it represents the current best practice, the guideline identifies procedural gaps and informational needs in the hope that the engineering and manufacturing communities concerned will address these gaps and refine the guidelines before adoption as or reference in national standards and guidelines occurs.

USGS ShakeMap / ShakeCast Report: Improving Utilization Within the ALA Community, 2004

ShakeMap is a tool used to portray the extent of potentially damaging shaking following an earthquake and data are automatically generated for both small and large earthquakes. ShakeCast, short for ShakeMap Broadcast, is a fully automated system for delivering specific ShakeMap products to critical users and triggering established post-earthquake response protocols for emergency response, loss estimation, and public information. ShakeCast allows utilities, transportation agencies, and other large organizations to automatically determine the shaking value at their facilities, set thresholds for notification of damage states (typically green, yellow, red) for each facility, and then automatically notify (pager, cell phone, email) specified operators, inspectors, etc., within their organizations responsible for those particular facilities. In 2004, ALA partnered with USGS to improve utilization within the utility and transportation communities of ShakeMap/ShakeCast through accelerating ShakeCast development, developing standards and guidelines for fragility input to ShakeMap, and integrating ShakeCast into lifeline users’ response systems. The USGS documents their work in this report. For the latest information about these programs, please refer directly to the ShakeMap and ShakeCast websites.

AREMA Handbook for Railway Storm Scour, 2004

In 2003, the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA), with the assistance of an ALA grant, updated its Handbook for Streambed Erosion Hazard Recognition and Countermeasures for Railroad Embankments and Bridges, a document sold worldwide as a reference for the railway engineering profession. The update improves the ability of America's railroads to withstand storm-related scour and erosion at railroad embankments and bridges. A draft of the updated AREMA publication was refined using input from a series of two-day seminars held around the nation to present case studies of past bridge failures due to storm scour, stream stability concepts and analysis, bridge scour concepts and analysis, countermeasure design, and inspection procedures. For further details and handbook availability, contact AREMA at 301-459-3200 or

Seismic Design Standards for Aboveground Steel Storage Tanks, 2004

The ALA with the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) have completed their work with Tank Industry Consultants of Indianapolis Indiana to provide change proposals to revise aboveground steel storage tank seismic design requirements contained in API and AWWA standards. The primary objective of the project was to facilitate revisions to existing API and AWWA tank standards and provide the basis for continual updating of seismic design requirements for aboveground steel storage tanks directly by API and AWWA in lieu of having the requirements presented in the NEHRP Recommended Provisions or IBC 2000, which are primarily oriented toward building design. These changes have a significant impact on present tank design and the revised standards will influence all new tanks and many existing tanks during retrofit or modifications. Revisions to the seismic design requirements for API and AWWA aboveground steel storage tanks are expected to be incorporated into the current standard revision cycle.

Guideline for the Seismic Design and Retrofit of Piping Systems, 2002

This guideline addresses new and existing aboveground piping systems that comply with the non-seismic provisions of the ASME B31 pressure piping codes for materials, design, fabrication, examination, and testing. It provides comprehensive but easy to follow guidance for the seismic design of piping systems in essential facilities such as power plants, chemical process facilities, oil and gas pipelines and terminals, and post-earthquake critical institutions such as hospitals. The guideline also presents a compilation of the steps and techniques necessary for the seismic qualification of new or existing above ground piping systems based on current analytical and dynamic testing technology as well as experience from the behavior of piping systems in actual earthquakes. The ALA project scope included development of a seismic qualification standard, to be submitted to the ASME for consideration as the basis for a B31 standard.

Design Guideline for Buried Steel Pipe

This guideline presents design provisions for use in evaluating the integrity of buried pipelines for a range of applied loads. Both new and existing welded buried pipe of carbon or alloy steel fabricated to ASTM or API material specifications and constructed in accordance with ASME B31 pressure piping codes are considered. The following load conditions are addressed: internal pressure, vertical earth loads, surface live loads, surface impact loads, buoyancy, thermal expansion, relative pipe-soil displacement, movement at pipe bends, mine subsidence, earthquake ground motion, effect of nearby blasting, fluid transients, and in-service relocation. The ASME B31 Guideline Committee currently is considering integrating the ALA-developed guidance into its standard.

Seismic Fragility Formulations for Water Systems (2 parts), 2001

This guideline presents procedures that can be used to evaluate the probability of earthquake damage to water transmission systems. This document was developed to address the lack of a consistent assessment methodology within industry, consulting, and academic communities. The lack of consistency prevents direct comparison of damage estimates for prioritizing where resources can best be allocated to mitigate damage. The raw damage data supporting the fragility relationships are included with the guidelines to facilitate the addition of new information from future earthquakes. Use of these fragility data will allow water system owners to estimate the vulnerability of their systems and to make informed decisions to mitigate risks.




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