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Interpretation Response #09-0196 ([Schneider National Bulk Carriers, Inc.] [Mr. Terry Tavares])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Schneider National Bulk Carriers, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. Terry Tavares

Location State: WI Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 17, 2009




Mr. Terry Tavares

Environmental Technician

Schneider National Bulk Carriers, Inc.

P.O. Box 2700

Green Bay, WI 54306-2700

Reference No. 09-0196

Dear Mr. Tavares:

This is in response to your August 3, 2009 letter requesting further clarification of the incident reporting requirements in 49 CFR 171.16 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you ask if incidents involving leaks from a customer's piping or storage tank that occur during the time a hazardous materials is unloaded from a cargo tank motor vehicle into a storage tank must be reported.

As required in § 171.16, each person in physical possession of a hazardous material at the time an incident specified in § 171.16 occurs during transportation (including loading, unloading, and temporary storage) must submit a Hazardous Materials Incident Report on DOT Form F 5800.1 within 30 days of discovery of the incident. For purposes of the HMR, transportation begins when a carrier takes physical possession of a hazardous material for the purposes of transporting it and continues until the hazardous material is delivered to the destination indicated on a shipping paper, package marking, or other medium. In the scenario you describe, the material is considered to be in transportation and in the possession of the carrier until delivery to the consignee is complete. Therefore, the carrier must complete and submit a DOT incident report.

You also ask if a carrier is required to file a hazardous materials incident report in the following four scenarios: (1) material is flowing through the customer's piping to their storage tank and the piping develops a leak; (2) a leak in the customer's storage tank is noticed during the unload; (3) the customer's storage tank overflows either due to a faulty sight gauge or the plant operator miscalculated the amount of material in the storage tank; or (4) the customer's storage tank overflows due to driver miscalculation or too much air pressure. If these events occur while the hazardous material is being unloaded from the cargo tank, the answer is yes. If scenarios 1, 3, and 4 occur after the carrier has departed the premises, the carrier is not subject to the incident reporting requirements.

For your information, there are certain exceptions from the incident reporting requirements. As specified in § 171.16(d), unless a telephone report is required under § 171.15, incidents that do not require an incident report include the following:

1) A release of a minimal amount of hazardous material from a vent, for materials for which venting is authorized; the routine operation of a seal, pump, compressor, or valve; or connection or disconnection of loading or unloading lines, provided that the release does not result in property damage. See § 171.16(d)(1).

2) An unintentional release of hazardous material when the material is properly classed as a Packing Group III material in Class or Division 3, 4, 5, 6.1, 8, or 9, and the material is not a hazardous waste. See § 171.16(d)(2).

I hope this satisfies your request.


Hattie L. Mitchell

Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention

Office of Hazardous Materials Regulations

171.16, 171.15

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.15 Immediate notice of certain hazardous materials incidents
171.16 Detailed hazardous materials incident reports