RSPA to amend certain rules for unloading IM portable tanks
Feb 23, 2002 12:00 PM
The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) is proposing to amend the hazardous materials regulations to permit the unloading of intermodal (IM) portable tanks that transport certain liquid hazardous materials. The tanks involved are those that are not equipped with a thermal means of remote activation of the internal self-closing emergency valves fitted on the bottom discharge outlets.
RSPA officials continue to believe that if a portable tank is to be unloaded in the same manner as a cargo tank, it should be equipped with the same emergency shutdown devices required for cargo tanks. However, after re-examining the issues raised by the Dangerous Goods Advisory Council (DGAC) and the Tank Container Association (TCA), the agency is proposing to permit, for an interim period, certain IM portable tanks to be unloaded while remaining on a transport vehicle under certain conditions. The permit would extend until October 1, 2003.
RSPA is making the proposal to afford operators time to bring the IM portable tanks into conformance with the regulations, according to information published in the Federal Register February 22, 2002. Comments on the proposal under 49 CFR Parts 173 and 177 must be submitted to RSPA by April 8, 2002.
The new proposal would allow manufacturers, lessors, and users of the IM portable tanks to equip the tanks with a thermal means for remotely activating bottom discharge outlets. Since these tanks are periodically inspected every five years, it also provides the opportunity for the retrofit to be done at the time of the periodic inspection, thus minimizing cost impacts. Many of these tanks should already be so equipped. On and after October 1, 2003, an IM portable tank containing a hazardous material that is flammable, pyrophoric, oxidizing, or toxic, could not be unloaded while remaining on a transport vehicle with the power unit attached unless it fully conforms to the outlet requirements in Section 178.275(d)(3).
As a result of the new permit, shippers and carriers would share responsibility for verifying that the consignee's facility meets certain conditions and that certain requirements are met, according to RSPA.
For more information on the proposal, visit http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2002_register&docid=02-4284-filed .or contact Joan McIntyre at (202) 366-8553.