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Interpretation Response #12-0096 ([HMT Associates, L.L.C.] [Mr. E.A. Altemos])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: HMT Associates, L.L.C.

Individual Name: Mr. E.A. Altemos

Location State: VA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

July 11, 2012


Mr. E.A. Altemos
HMT Associates, L.L.C.
603 King Street, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314-3105

Reference No.: 12-0096

Dear Mr. Altemos:

This responds to your email dated April 16, 2011 requesting clarification of the intent of Selective Testing Variation "5" specified in § 178.601(g)(5) of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). In your letter, you state it is your understanding that Variation "5" requires that specified leakproofness, hystrostatic, and stacking tests need only be performed on one sample (i.e., packaging), but the testing must otherwise be performed in accordance with the requirements of each applicable section. Your understanding is that nothing in Variation 5 precludes the use of a test sample for more than one required test, provided the validity of the test results is not affected.

Your understanding is incorrect. Under the selective testing provisions of § 178.601(g), Variation "5" allows for a single packaging that differs from a tested design type only to the extent that the closure device or gasketing differs from that used in the originally tested design type without further testing, provided an equivalent level of performance is maintained subject to the specific qualifying conditions.

As specified in § 178.601(g)(5)(i), a packaging with the replacement closure devices or gasketing must successfully pass the drop test specified in the orientation that most severely tests the integrity of the closure or gasket. As specified 
in § 178.601(g)(5)(ii), when intended to contain liquids, a packaging with replacement closure devices or gasketing must successfully pass the leakproofness test specified in § 178.604, the hydrostatic pressure test specified in § 178.605, and the stacking test specified in § 178.606. The test must be conducted precisely as specified in the referenced sections using the number of samples prescribed in the referenced sections. When performance tests are referenced in selective testing, the number of samples specified in the individual series provision must be followed. Section 178.601(k) states that "except as provided in this section, one test sample must be used for each test performed under this subpart." Therefore, PHMSA believes that § 178.601(k) requires that one test sample must be used for each test.

I hope this satisfies your inquiry. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.



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


Regulation Sections

Section Subject
178.601 General requirements