USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #04-0031 ([Spray Chem Chemical Company] [Mr. Cliff Jacobson])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Spray Chem Chemical Company

Individual Name: Mr. Cliff Jacobson

Location State: CA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Mar 8, 2004


Mr. Cliff Jacobson                Reference No. 04-0031
Spray Chem Chemical Company
705 Keenan Court
Durham, CA 95938

Dear Mr. Jacobson:

This responds to your January 24, 2004 letter and subsequent telephone conversation, requesting additional clarification of our January 23, 2004 letter regarding segregation requirements under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Ql.      What is the definition of the term “truckload” as used in the segregation and separation requirements specified in § 177.848 of the HMR?

Al.        The table in section 177.848(d) provides that Class 8 liquids may not be loaded above or adjacent to Class 5 materials.  Section 177.848(e)(3) also states that shippers may load truckload shipments of such materials together when it is known that the mixture of contents would not cause a fire or a dangerous evolution of heat or gas.  The term “truckload” as used in this section means a shipment of hazardous materials loaded into a transport vehicle by a single shipper.  Shipments of hazardous materials offered to a carrier by different shippers and loaded into a transport vehicle are not considered to be truckload shipments.

Q2.    May a shipper of a truckload shipment of empty containers that contain the residues of
           Division 5.1 and Class 8 liquid hazardous materials transport the empty vehicle when it is
           known by that shipper that the mixture of contents would not cause a fire or dangerous  
          evolution of heat or gas?         

A2.    The answer is yes.  Although, as noted above, Class 8   liquids generally may not be loaded            
          above or adjacent to Class 5 materials, § 177.848(c)(3) permits shippers to load truckload 
          shipments of such materials together when it is known that the mixture of contents would
          not cause a fire or a dangerous evolution of heat or gas.

Q3.    If the shipper knows that commingling of the residue in the empty containers would not cause a      fire or dangerous evolution of heat or gas, would the term “incompatible hazardous materials       transported in the same vehicle” be an improper term to use?

A3.    Truckload shipments maybe offered for transportation and transported in accordance with § 177.848(e)(3). In such instances, the Class 8 liquid and Class 5 material would not be    considered incompatible hazardous materials.

Q4.   You asked if the following scenario would be considered proper separation:

Two empty 330 gallon Intermediate Bulk Container (113C) stored adjacent to each other, drained of all material except residue, and tightly scaled with shut off valves and safety caps and properly secured in accordance with the HMR.

A4.      The answer is no.  In accordance with § 173.29, an empty packaging containing only the     residue of a hazardous material generally must be offered for transportation and transported in    the same manner as when it previously contained a greater quantity of that hazardous material.    In the scenario you describe, if the IBCs contain the residue of incompatible hazardous    materials, then they must be transported in accordance with the segregation requirements in    §177.848(d).

Several inches of air space between containers of incompatible liquid hazardous materials does not satisfy the requirements of § 177.848(d). Air space would not prevent commingling of the liquid hazardous materials in the event of failure of the containers.  Moreover, merely placing the packages on pallets to elevate them above the vehicle floor does not satisfy the separation requirements.  Separation must be accomplished by a means of physical separation, such as by placing non-permeable barriers, non-reactive freight, or non-combustible, non-reactive absorbents between the packagings, or by elevating the freight in a manner that prevents commingling of the liquid hazardous materials required to be separated.

Q5.      If a packaging that previously contained a Class 8 liquid   and a Class 5 material are rinsed and contain only the      residue of the rinse water and minimal hazardous material   residue to the point where the shipper knows the residues   may still be classified as hazardous materials, but are     much to diluted too cause any fire or    dangerous evolution   of heat or gas, may the shipper of truckload shipments     ship these empty   IBC’s adjacent to each other in the same   transport vehicle when properly placarded and   manifested?

A5.      See answer A2 above.

Q6.      Under the above example, would there be a difference between the requirements of a “truck load” shipment and a “non-truckload” shipment of hazardous material?

A6.      The exception in § 177.848(e)(3) applies to truckload shipments only.  Non-truckload shipments containing residues of class 8 liquids and class 5 materials must be shipped in accordance with the requirements of § 177.848(d) and (e).

Q7.      Are empty 55 gallon drums that contain only the residue of a hazardous material considered nonregulated, for shipment back to the manufacturer for reuse or disposal?

A7.      The answer is no, unless cleaned and purged to the extent provided in § 173.29(b)(2)(ii).    
            A packaging that is sufficiently cleaned of residue and purged of vapor to remove any  
            potential    hazard is not regulated under the HMR. An empty packaging is not subject to  
            the FE'4R if it: 1) is unused; 2) is sufficiently cleaned of residue and purged of vapors to       

             remove any potential hazard; 3) is filled with a material that is not hazardous to such an          
            extent that any residue remaining in the packaging no longer poses a hazard; or 4)  
            contains the residue of certain hazardous materials specified in § 173.29.
             “Cleaned and purged” means that no residual material and no residual vapor remains in   
             the interior of a container.  The methods used are intentionally not defined because they
             vary greatly depending on the nature of the hazardous material and the type of   
             packaging. In some instances, a packaging can be totally emptied of hazardous material,
             including residue, without undergoing a cleaning process, and may be considered to have
             been cleaned and purged.  In other instances, an active cleaning process may be                
             necessary to purge a packaging of hazardous residue.  Therefore, unless your packaging
             meets any of these criteria, you must transport it as if it contained a greater quantity of
             hazardous material.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if you require additional assistance



Susan Gorsky
Senior Transportation Regulations Specialist
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

cc: Paul Hogan, CHP


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
177.848 Segregation of hazardous materials