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Interpretation Response #09-0227 ([Battery Council International Wiley Rein LLP] [Mr. Timothy J. Lanfond])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Battery Council International Wiley Rein LLP

Individual Name: Mr. Timothy J. Lanfond

Location State: DC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 7, 2010




Mr. Timothy J. Lanfond

Chair, Environmental Committee

Battery Council International

Wiley Rein LLP

1776 K Street NW

Washington, DC 20006

Ref. No. 09-0227

Dear Mr. Lanfond:

This is in response to your October 6, 2009 letter requesting clarification on the applicability of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) to the transportation of damaged electric storage batteries shipped for recycling by motor vehicle.

According to your letter, the standard practice for handling damaged electric storage batteries entails placing each damaged battery into an individual heavyweight polyethylene bag closed with an adjustable plastic tie. The battery is then securely placed onto a pallet with intact electric storage batteries. Each pallet may contain between 50 and 70 batteries. The pallet of batteries is then secured with stretch wrap and offered for transportation under the provisions in § 173.159(e).

In a previous letter to Mr. Paul Ackerman dated April 20, 2006, this office stated that a damaged electric storage battery is not eligible for the exceptions in § 173.159(e) if the damage has rendered it incapable of retaining battery fluid inside the outer casing during transportation. Following are three acceptable methods to transport damaged batteries that have the potential for leakage:

1. Drain the battery of fluid to eliminate the potential for leakage during transportation;

2. Repair and/or package the battery in such a manner that leakage is not likely to occur under conditions normally incident to transportation; or

3. Transport the damaged or leaking battery in accordance with § 173.3(c).

In your letter, you suggest that when an electric storage battery is damaged to the extent that it cannot retain the battery fluid, the fluid typically drains from the battery before transportation in commerce begins. However, you note that some residual fluid may remain in the battery. Provided the damaged battery is not visibly leaking when offered for transportation in commerce and fluid is not likely to leak from the battery during normal conditions of transport, the use of a securely closed heavyweight polyethylene bag as described in your letter is an acceptable means to protect against leakage of battery fluid. Note that batteries packaged in this manner must still be properly handled and secured on the vehicle in order to prevent the release of fluid from the battery itself.

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


Edward T. Mazzullo

Director, Office of Hazardous

Materials Standards

173.159(e), 173.3(c)

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.159 Batteries, wet
173.3 Packaging and exceptions