MOTEMS Frequently Asked Questions

Aug 30, 2018 | FAQs, MOTEMS

Does the Commission issue permits for MOTEMS (or California Building Code) compliance purposes?

No. The Commission is the enforcing agency for the MOTEMS. The Commission is not a permitting agency and does not perform tasks such as permit processing or issuance, construction inspection, etc.

We are exploring siting of a new marine oil terminal in California. What do we need to know about MOTEMS?

New marine oil terminals and berthing systems are required to have MOTEMS compliance evaluations (analyses and designs) prior to construction, and to complete a MOTEMS initial audit prior to commencement or recommencement of operations. Potential new terminal operators are strongly encouraged to initiate communications with the Commission at the inception of the project.

How frequently are the MOTEMS regulations updated, and which version should I be using?

Building Code (CBC, which is California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 2) and updated through the California Building Standards Commission’s (CBSC’s) rulemaking process. Since first becoming effective in a Supplement to the 2001 CBC, the MOTEMS have subsequently been updated on the CBSC’s triennial code adoption cycle, including publication July 1 of the Code year and effectiveness on January 1 following the Code year.  For example, the CBSC’s “2015 Triennial Code Adoption Cycle” resulted in codification of the 2016 CBC, which was published on July 1, 2016, and becomes effective on January 1, 2017.

Do marine oil terminal operators need to report damage or a potentially, damage-causing event for MOTEMS compliance purposes?

Terminal operators are required to carry out Post-Event Notification and Inspection following a significant, potentially damage-causing event (such as an earthquake, storm, vessel impact, passing vessel incident, fire, explosion, or tsunami) in accordance with MOTEMS Section 3102F.4. “Significant, potentially damage-causing event” means that all events must be reported which the Division determines to be “significant”, even if there is no damage to the terminal or vessel. For assistance in determining if a specific event warrants MOTEMS post-event notification and follow-up action, contact the local area Division field office in Northern California at 510.741.4950 and in Southern California at 562.499.6312.

What MOTEMS requirements are applicable if I’m installing new piping and pipeline systems (including major repairs or substantially modified in-place or existing pipeline systems)?

All piping and pipelines shall comply with the MOTEMS Section 3109F requirements. New piping and pipeline systems, including major repairs or substantially modified in-place or existing pipeline systems, require a valid and certified Static Liquid Pressure Test (SLPT) and Division approval, prior to operation. To obtain this Division approval, the terminal operator shall submit complete SLPT records and provide adequate time for the Division’s engineering review.

Do I need to notify the commission of upcoming MOTEMS inspections?

Yes. MOTEMS Section 3102F.3.4.9 requires that the Division be notified in advance of audit-related inspections.

Do the MOTEMS apply to LNG transfers?

Yes. MOTEMS Section 3112F addresses requirements specific to marine terminals that transfer LNG.

What do I need to know if I have a multi-use terminal (i.e. oil and non-oil transfers)?

The MOTEMS regulations apply to terminals that conduct oil transfer operations. However, if damage or incidence to a terminal is incurred during non-oil transfer operations, MOTEMS compliance remains applicable and must be addressed with the Commission prior to the next oil-transfer operation.