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Interpretation Response #09-0133R ([Total Energy] [Jennifer D. Janelle, Esq.])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Total Energy

Individual Name: Jennifer D. Janelle, Esq.

Location State: NY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

September 1, 2009



Jennifer D. Janelle, Esq.

General Counsel

Total Energy

2 Hardscrabble Road

North Salem, NY 10560

Reference No. 09-0133R

Dear Ms. Janelle:

This letter replaces my July 1, 2009 response to your April 8, 2009 letter concerning the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) to the transportation of storage tanks that are 30,000 gallons or more in size and contain liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Specifically, you ask whether the storage tanks must be placarded.

According to your letter, the 30,000 gallon or larger storage tanks are built to an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standard, transported from decommissioned LPG plants to various locations, and purged to 80 to 85 percent of the lower explosive limit (LEL). You also state the Gas Pipeline Safety Unit of the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control requires the tanks only be purged to 80 percent LEL, to conform with the recommendations of the American Gas Association, and transported as non-hazardous materials.

In accordance with §§ 172.504(a) and 172.514 of the HMR, a bulk package, defined as a package with a capacity greater than 119 gallons, containing any quantity of hazardous material, as well as the transport vehicle on which it is transported if the placards on the package are obscured, must be placarded on each side and each end. A bulk packaging that is sufficiently cleaned of residue and purged of vapors to remove any potential hazard is considered empty and, thus, is not subject to any requirements under the HMR, including those for placarding. See §§ 173.29(b) and 172.514(b). The methods and limits used for determining what qualifies as a "cleaned and purged" under the HMR are intentionally not defined because they vary greatly depending on the properties of the particular hazardous

material and type of packaging. In the case of LPG, other variables such as purge medium, temperature conditions and the capacity of the packaging are also factors. We would consider the storage tank to be sufficiently cleaned and purged when the vapors in the tank are no longer capable of sustaining combustion.

I hope this satisfies your request and apologize for the confusion caused by the earlier response.


Hattie L. Mitchell

Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

172.5504(a), 172.514, 173.29

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.504 General placarding requirements
172.514 Bulk packagings