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Interpretation Response #08-0100 ([Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, LLP] [Mr. Jules V. Massee])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, LLP

Individual Name: Mr. Jules V. Massee

Location State: FL Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

July 2, 2008

Mr. Jules V. Massee

Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, LLP

100 South Ashley Drive, Suite 1210

Tampa, FL 33602

Ref. No. 08-0100

Dear Mr. Massee:

This is in response to your letter dated April 17, 2008, requesting clarification of §§ 172.220 and 176.905 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the transportation of gasoline powered engines transported by vessel. You seek guidance as to whether the process you describe in your letter to remove the liquid fuel and flammable vapors from the engine and fuel lines renders the engine as not containing fuel as specified in §§ 173.220(a)(1) and 176.905(i)(1). You describe the process as follows:

Prior to being loaded onto the vessel:

1. The discharge hose of the fuel pump is disconnected from the car"s engine.

2. The relay on the car"s electrical panel is bridged to allow the fuel pump to run while the engine is off. Power is supplied to the pump via an external battery if necessary.

3. The fuel pump is run until the car"s fuel tank is completely drained, and the pump loses suction.

4. Once the car"s fuel system has been emptied of all flammable liquid through the car"s fuel pump, the fuel tank is aerated (by natural or forced ventilation) for a period sufficient, under existing air temperature and humidity, to allow the residue to evaporate and vapors to dissipate.

5. Once the car"s fuel system has been processed through the methods described above, all disconnected parts are reattached securely.

Paragraph (a)(1) of § 173.220 states that an engine may be considered as not containing fuel when the fuel tank, engine components, and fuel lines have been completely drained, sufficiently cleaned of residue, and purged of vapors to remove any potential hazard and the engine when held in any orientation will not release any liquid fuel. The process you describe could satisfy these conditions provided the liquid and the vapors have been purged to such an extent that the atmosphere in and around the engine and the engine components no longer poses a flammable hazard, and the engine when held in any orientation will not release any liquid fuel. It is the shipper"s responsibility to make that determination (see § 173.22).

Paragraph (i)(1) of § 176.905 provides an exception from the requirements of the HMR for motor vehicles and mechanical equipment with internal combustion engines using liquid fuel that has a flash point less than 38 ºC (100 ºF) if the fuel tank is empty, and the engine is run until it stalls for lack of fuel. The process you describe to remove the liquid fuel and vapor from the engine satisfies the conditions of this exception.

I hope this satisfies your inquiry. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us.


Susan Gorsky,

Acting Chief, Standards Development

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

173.220 176.905

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.220 Internal combustion engines, vehicles, machinery containing internal combustion engines, battery-powered equipment or machinery, fuel cell-powered equipment or machinery
176.905 Vehicles having refrigerating or heating equipment