Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ page is continuously updated. Please start here for answers to any questions you have about the NPMS. If you are unable to find what you're looking for here, contact the NPMS National Repository at npms@dot.gov.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration can only release NPMS data to government officials and pipeline operators. There are several private vendors who can provide you pipeline GIS data at a cost. The NPMS Public Map Viewer is open to all users and displays NPMS data for a single county at a time. Additionally, the Find Who’s Operating in Your Area tool provides the general public with pipeline operator contact information within a specific state, county, or ZIP code.

A complete submission to the NPMS consists of five components. Your first step should be to consult the Summary of Required Components page. Next, download the latest version of the NPMS Operator Standards and the Operator Submissions Guide. Everything you need to know about making a submission is contained in these documents. The five components that are required are as follows:

  • Public Contact Information
  • Geospatial Pipeline Data
  • Attribute Data
  • Metadata
  • Transmittal Letter
The NPMS Metadata / Attribute Builder tool will work with Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows XP and Windows 7. You must delete older versions of the Builder before installing the newest version.
The latest version is 4.3, and it was released in June 2010. It can be downloaded from the NPMS Metadata / Attributes Builder page.
Although PHMSA is currently investigating the possibility of updating the Ecological and Drinking Water Unusually Sensitive Areas data, there are no definite plans to update these datasets. The CNW dataset was last updated in spring 2012; there are no plans to update this dataset. High Population Areas and Other Populated Areas data is released after every US Census; the updated datasets based on the 2010 Census were released in summer 2012.
Contact NPMS staff at npms@dot.gov for an update on your submission status.
Operators are required to submit their data to the NPMS every 12 months, or to notify the NPMS National Repository if there have been no changes from the previous submission. In order to align NPMS submissions with Annual Reports, operators are required to use the same OPID to report assets to the NPMS as they use in their Annual Report. Operators are also requested to submit their gas pipelines to the NPMS between 1/1 and 3/15 of each year reflecting assets as of 12/31 the previous year and to submit liquid pipelines between 1/1 and 6/15 of each year, reflecting assets as of 12/31 the previous year. Please use the NPMS Data Reviewer application to review your data for changes and/or to notify the NPMS National Repository that your submission has not changed.
If you find that the FTP tool is not working, please alert NPMS staff by emailing npms@dot.gov or calling 703-317-6294.
The Unusually Sensitive Area data layers are no longer available for download from the NPMS. Hazardous liquid pipeline operators may request Drinking Water Unusually Sensitive Areas and Ecological Unusually Sensitive Areas data. High Population Areas, Other Populated Areas, and Commercially Navigable Waterways are available for download from the NPMS website.
Section 2 of the NPMS Operator Standards defines the pipeline data that is collected for the NPMS.
The Drinking Water USA dataset has not been updated since its original release in 2001. Most of the Drinking Water data comes from state drinking water agencies and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Drinking Water USAs that are surface water intakes have a five mile buffer placed around their location. The ground water USAs have buffers that vary in size. These buffers are designated by the state's source water protection program or their wellhead protection program and these buffer sizes vary from state to state.
Operators should evaluate the information they obtain from the NPMS to determine if it is accurate. If operators conclude that changes to HCA boundaries are needed (e.g., populated areas have expanded), then operators should make those changes to the HCAs as they are used in the operators' integrity management programs. Operators should document the reasons for such changes and be prepared to discuss them during PHMSA Pipeline Safety inspections. Operators should not generally inform PHMSA Pipeline Safety of such changes. PHMSA Pipeline Safety relies upon other agencies (e.g., Census Bureau, Corps of Engineers) for the data used in the NPMS and does not have the resources to engage those agencies to make minor changes. An exception in which operators should notify PHMSA Pipeline Safety would be if significant positional or labeling errors are found. As an example, rivers in Alaska were found to be mis-located in early versions of the NPMS due to digitizing errors in the original Commercially Navigable Waterways data set. PHMSA Pipeline Safety will work with other agencies as appropriate to try to correct any major deficiencies in the NPMS. Operators should contact their PHMSA Pipeline Safety Region representatives if they identify errors of this nature.