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

Interpretation Response #11-0001 ([NYC-DEP] [Mr. Mohamed Abdel Aal])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: NYC-DEP

Individual Name: Mr. Mohamed Abdel Aal

Location State: NY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

January 21, 2011




Mr. Mohamed Abdel Aal

DEP HazMat Specialist


96-05 Horace Harding Expressway

HazMat Unit

Corona, NY 11368

Ref. No. 11-0001

Dear Mr. Abdel Aal:

This responds to your email of December 30, 2010 requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you question the applicability of the HMR to shipments of hazardous waste by New York City employees. You also request clarification of the definitions for certain terms used in the HMR and elsewhere. Your questions are paraphrased and answered as follows:

Q1.) Are shipments of hazardous waste by New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC-DEP) subject to the HMR?

A1.) The answer to your question is no. As specified in § 171.1, the HMR govern the safe transportation of hazardous materials in commerce. A state agency or local jurisdiction that transports hazardous materials for governmental purposes using its own personnel is not engaged in transportation in commerce and, therefore, is not subject to the HMR. However, if the state agency or local jurisdiction transports hazardous materials for a commercial purpose, utilizes contract personnel to transport the materials, or offers a hazardous material for transportation to a commercial carrier, then the HMR apply.

Q2.) What are the definitions of commerce, transfer facility, transport vehicle and hazardous material?

A2.) The definitions of commerce, hazardous material and transport vehicle, as found in §171.8, are shown below.

" Commerce means trade or transportation in the jurisdiction of the United States within a single state; between a place in a state and a place outside of the state; that affects trade or transportation between a place in a state and place outside of the state; or on a United States-registered aircraft.

" Hazardous Material means a substance or material that the Secretary of Transportation has determined is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and has designated as hazardous under section 5103 of Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5103). The term includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, elevated temperature materials, materials designated as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Table (see § 172.101), and materials that meet the defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in Part 173.

" Transport vehicle means a cargo-carrying vehicle such as an automobile, van, tractor, truck, semitrailer, tank car or rail car used for the transportation of cargo by any mode. Each cargo-carrying body (trailer, rail car, etc.) is a separate transport vehicle.

The HMR do not define the term transfer facility. For a definition of transfer facility, please see 40 CFR § 260.10.

I hope this answers your inquiry. If you need additional assistance, please contact this office at



Ben Supko

Acting Chief, Standards Development Branch

Standards and Rulemaking Division

172.101, 171.1

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.1 Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations