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Interpretation Response #10-0055

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date: 10-26-2010
Company Name: MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company    Individual Name: Mr. Douglas E. Lunstra
Location state: SD    Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

October 26, 2010




Mr. Douglas E. Lunstra
Manager, Safety Audit and Compliance
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company
1200 South Blauvelt Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57105

Reference No. 10-0055

Dear Mr. Lunstra:

This is in response to your e-mail to the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration"s (PHMSA"s) Hazardous Materials Information Center requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to packaging. Specifically, you state your company wants to transport "UN 3336, Mercaptan mixture, liquid, flammable, n.o.s., 3 (flammable liquid), Packing Group (PG) II" in tightly sealed DOT Specification 4BW 240 cylinders. You state the product has a strong odor and your company would like to use these cylinders with a 450 L (119 gallon) capacity to transport this product in accordance with the HMR.

You state vendors of these cylinders have informed you their standard cylinder in this size has a water capacity of 1,000 pounds. You state that you have always considered this equal to 119 gallons in volume, but have learned the cylinder"s liquid capacity is 119.8 gallons. We have paraphrased your questions and answered them in the order you provided. We apologize for the delay in responding and any inconvenience this may have caused.

Q1. Is a 1,000 pound water capacity cylinder that is considered a non-bulk packaging for Division 2.1 (flammable) gases, such as "UN 1075, Petroleum gases, liquefied," a bulk packaging when used to transport Class 3 (flammable) liquids?

A1. No. Any cylinder with a water capacity of 454 kg (1,000 pounds) or less as a receptacle for a gas as defined in § 173.115 is a non-bulk packaging under the HMR (see § 171.8). A cylinder is considered a bulk or non-bulk packaging based on the capacity of the cylinder, not the weight or volume of hazardous material contained in the cylinder.

Q2. If a 1,000 pound water capacity cylinder is considered a bulk packaging for flammable liquids, is this cylinder no longer acceptable as a packaging for PG II flammable liquids since cylinders are not authorized under § 173.242 in Column (8C) of the Hazardous Materials Table (§ 172.101 Table) as a bulk packaging for these liquids?

A2. In 2005 (70 FR 34066), PHMSA revised the HMR to set forth both non-bulk and bulk cylinder packaging authorizations in the packaging sections prescribed for a hazardous material in Column (8B) of the § 172.101 Table, with certain exceptions (see § 172.101(i)(5)). For "UN 3336, Mercaptan mixture, liquid, flammable, n.o.s., 3, PG II," this packaging section is § 173.202. Therefore, as prescribed in § 172.101(i)(5), § 173.202(c) authorizes the use of non-bulk and bulk DOT specification cylinders, with the exception of DOT Specification 8 and 3HT cylinders, as a packaging for this mercaptan mixture provided it is prepared and transported in accordance with all applicable requirements of the HMR.

Q3. Does the language in § 173.202 that authorizes DOT specification cylinders prescribed in the HMR for a compressed gas, other than DOT Specification 8 and 3HT cylinders, allow a 1,000 pound water capacity cylinder to be used as a packaging for PG II flammable liquid?

A3. Yes. See Answer A2.

I hope this satisfies your request.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

173.115, 172.101, 173.202, 173.242

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
§ 172.101 Purpose and use of hazardous materials table