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

Interpretation Response #07-0132 ([HMT Associates L.L.C.] [Mr. E. A. Altemos])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: HMT Associates L.L.C.

Individual Name: Mr. E. A. Altemos

Location State: VA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

April 30, 2008

Mr. E. A. Altemos

HMT Associates, L.L.C.

Suite 300

603 King Street

Alexandria, Virginia 22314-3105

Ref. No.: 07-0132

Dear Mr. Altemos:

This responds to your June 15, 2007 letter, requesting clarification of requirements applicable to intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you ask if a composite IBC may be fitted with more than one inner receptacle.

A composite packaging, including a composite IBC, is a packaging that consists of an outer packaging and an inner receptacle constructed so that they form an integral packaging that is filled, stored, shipped, and emptied as an integrated single unit. Standards for composite IBCs are set forth in § 178.707 of the HMR. In accordance with § 178.707(b)(1), a composite IBC consists of a rigid outer packaging enclosing a plastic inner receptacle, together with any service or structural equipment. An IBC must have a volumetric capacity between 0.45 cubic meters (450 L, 119 gallons, or 15.9 cubic feet) and not more than three cubic meters (3,000 L, 793 gallons, or 106 cubic feet) or a maximum net mass of not less than 400 kg (882 pounds) (see, § 178.700(c)(1)).

Although not specifically prohibited under the HMR, the plain language of the regulatory text applicable to composite IBCs suggests that we did not intend to permit an IBC to be fitted with two or more inner receptacles. In addition to the definition in § 178.707(b)(1), the specification references "the inner receptacle" in a number of places (see, for example, § 178.707(c)(1), (c)(2), (c)(3), (c)(3)(ii) and (c)(3)(iii)). Taken together, these references indicate that a composite IBC may contain only a single inner receptacle. Similarly, the capacity requirements specified in § 178.700(c)(1), which define the "body" of an IBC in terms of the "receptacle proper," indicate that IBCs of all types including composite IBCs, consist of a single receptacle, including openings and closures. Moreover, the capacity limitations specified in § 178.700(c)(1) are specified in terms of a composite IBC with a single inner receptacle and can not be applied directly to a packaging with multiple inner receptacles.

For the reasons outlined above, it is the opinion of this office that a composite IBC may not be fitted with more than one inner receptacle. A composite IBC fitted with two or more inner

receptacles may be authorized for the transportation of hazardous materials only under the terms of an approval or a special permit.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.


Edward T. Mazzullo

Director, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

178.700, 178.707

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
178.700 Purpose, scope and definitions
178.707 Standards for composite IBCs