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Interpretation Response #02-0258 ([ExxonMobil Chemical Company] [Ronald J. Stokes])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: ExxonMobil Chemical Company

Individual Name: Ronald J. Stokes

Location State: NJ Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Dec 10, 2002

Mr. Ronald J. Stokes                 Reference No. 02-0258
ExxonMobil Chemical Company
P.O. Box 3140
Edison, NJ 08818

Dear Mr. Stokes:

This is in response to your September 17, 2002 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the shipping description of a non-hazardous material.  Specifically, you state your company ships an item identified as a spent catalyst on a standard bill of lading to a separate facility for regeneration and return to your company for continued use.  You reference the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) determination in 40 CFR 261,1(c)(1) & (4) that a spent catalyst is a solid waste, but not a hazardous waste mandating the use of a manifest.  In a subsequent telephone conversation with a member of my staff, you stated that the spent catalyst does not meet any of the hazard classes or divisions under the HMR.  Your subsequent questions are paraphrased and addressed as follows:

Q1. In light of EPA and HMR requirements, can a spent catalyst be described as a waste on a standard shipping document without violating the HMR?

A1. No. Use of the word "waste" preceding a proper shipping name is reserved for a hazardous waste.  Materials that are excepted from the hazardous waste manifest requirements of the U.S. EPA are not "hazardous wastes" as defined in § 171.8 of the HMIZ.  Using the word "waste" to describe a non-hazardous material may confuse a carrier or enforcement official, incorrectly communicate a hazard warning and could consequently frustrate the shipment.  As provided in Section 172.101(c)(9), if the word “waste” is not included in the hazardous material description in Column 2 of the Table, the proper shipping name for a hazardous waste shall include the word "waste" preceding the proper shipping name of the material.  Materials that are excepted from the hazardous waste manifest requirements of the U.S. EPA are not "hazardous wastes" as defined in § 171.8 of the HMR.  Under your scenario, the shipping paper could show an entry such as "Non-HMR regulated waste catalyst" or "Waste catalyst, non-regulated."

Q2. Is the word "waste" when used in the transport/transportation arena confined to its specified use as noted in the HMR?

A2. The word "waste" when used with a proper shipping description under the HMR indicates material that is a federally regulated waste.  There could be instances in transportation when the word "waste" is used that do not specifically apply to the regulation of hazardous materials. Please refer to our response to Ql.

Q3. If use of the word "waste" is acceptable on a non-manifest shipping document must the transporter (carrier) of such material be a licensed waste hauler?

A3. Inquiries concerning the compliance regulations of carriers should be addressed to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or EPA for "registered" waste transporter. As provided in § 177.804, motor carriers and other persons subject to this part shall comply with 49 CFR parts 390 through 397 (excluding §§ 397.3 and 397.9) to the extent those regulations apply.

I hope this information is helpful. If we can be of further assistance, do not hesitate to contact us.


Delmer F. Billings
Chief, Standards Development
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

171.8 - 177.804

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
177.804 Compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations