USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

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

Interpretation Response #10-0113 ([Currie Associates, Inc.] [Mr. S.C. Watkins])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Currie Associates, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. S.C. Watkins

Location State: NY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

August 18, 2010




Mr. S.C. Watkins

Currie Associates, Inc.

10 Hunter Brook Lane

Queensbury, NY 12804

Ref. No. 10-0113

Dear Mr. Watkins:

This responds to your May 19, 2010 letter regarding transportation of consumer commodity, ORM-D material under the terms of a special permit authorized by the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you ask whether used containers of refrigerant gas that are partially full or have an unknown quantity remaining may be shipped back to the manufacturer as a consumer commodity, ORM-D material.

According to your letter and through information shared during a telephone conversation with a member of my staff, the containers of refrigerant gas are (1) manufactured, marked, and authorized for sale and use under special permit DOT-SP 14188; (2) used to recharge motor vehicle air conditioning systems; and (3) required to be recycled under a new California state regulation. Under the state regulation, retailers will be required to collect used containers from consumers and return them to the original manufacturer for recovery and recycling of the refrigerant gas. You are concerned that retailers do not have the expertise or equipment to determine if a used container is empty, and thus, not subject to the HMR or partially full at an internal pressure such that the contents remain subject. You believe, however, that the retailers are still allowed to offer for transport the partially full containers back to the manufacturer as "Consumer commodity, ORM-D" material in accordance with § 173.156.

Your understanding is correct. The partially full containers may be transported as "Consumer commodity, ORM-D" material under provisions of § 173.156 in accordance with the terms of the special permit. DOT-SP 14188 stipulates that the containers may be reoffered for transportation by a person who is not a holder of the special permit provided no modification or change is made to the packaging (i.e., the container). Discharge of the refrigerant gas is not considered a modification or change. Thus, retailers may ship partially full or empty containers as "Consumer commodity, ORM-D."

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please contact this office.


Charles E. Betts

Chief, Standards Development

Office of Hazardous Materials Standards


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.156 Exceptions for limited quantity and ORM