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 #12-0061 ([David L. McLamb, Inc.] [Mr. David L. McLamb])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: David L. McLamb, Inc.

Individual Name: Mr. David L. McLamb

Location State: NC Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

May 10, 2012


Mr. David L. McLamb
President, David L. McLamb, Inc.
12701 Barnes Bridge Road
Laurinburg, NC 28352

Reference No. 12-0061

Dear Mr. McLamb:

This is in response to your February 17, 2012 e-mail and March 2, 2012 telephone conversation with a member of my staff concerning how to classify and package windshield washer fluid under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). You state the fluid contains 30 percent "UN 1230, Methanol, 3, PG II" and 70 percent water, has a flashpoint temperature of 105 ºF, and freezes at -20 ºF. You also state you want to transport this material monthly by motor vehicle in either 55 gallon drums or 250 gallon intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) to customers in the automotive repair industry and dispense it into their drums using a meter and hose. We have paraphrased your questions and answered them in the order you provided.

Q1. Methanol has a reportable quantity of 5,000 pounds (2,270) kg) on the HMR"s List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable Quantities Table (Hazardous Substances Table; § 172.101, Appendix A). How do I comply with both the Hazardous Materials Table (§ 172.101) and the Hazardous Substances Table when shipping methanol?

A1. Under the HMR, a "hazardous material" is a substance or material that meets the definition of one or more of the U.S. Department of Transportation"s (DOT"s) nine hazard classes and divisions listed in § 173.2 and prescribed in 49 CFR Part 173, Subparts C, D, and I. It also includes materials designated as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Table (see §§ 171.8 and 172.101), and materials that meet the defining criteria in § 171.8 for a hazardous substance, hazardous waste, marine pollutant, or elevated temperature material.

To be classified as a hazardous substance, the mixture you described must contain at least 5,000 pounds of methanol in one package at a concentration of 10 percent or more. Section 173.22 requires that a shipper properly class and describe a hazardous material for transportation in commerce. This Office does not typically perform this function. However, based on the information you provided, it is the opinion of this Office that the mixture you describe cannot meet the definition of a hazardous substance for methanol when placed in containers that are 55 and 250 gallons in size. Provided the mixture does not meet the definition of any other hazard class under the HMR, the mixture is not subject to the HMR.

Q2. Can the windshield washer fluid I described be transported in IBCs or in non-bulk packages that contain less than 119 gallons without being regulated as a hazardous substance under the § 172.101, Appendix A table?

A2. The answer is yes. Both packages described in your letter do not permit the quantity of methanol in one package to exceed 5,000 pounds.

I hope this satisfies your request.



T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

172.101, 173.22, 173.3, 171.8

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations
172.101 Purpose and use of hazardous materials table
173.2 Hazardous materials classes and index to hazard class definitions
173.22 Shipper's responsibility