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Interpretation Response #13-0068 ([New York State Department of Environmental Conservation] [Alan G. Woodard, Ph.D.])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Individual Name: Alan G. Woodard, Ph.D.

Location State: NY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

June 13, 2013


Alan G. Woodard, Ph.D.
Bureau of Permitting and Planning
Division of Materials Management
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY  12233-7258

Reference No. 13-0068

Dear Mr. Woodard:  

This is in response to your March 28, 2013 e-mail and telephone conversation with a member of my staff requesting clarification on whether the transportation of used sharps collected as part of a public health program complies with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180).  You state this program permits used sharps to be collected from individuals and placed in authorized sharps containers at 198 registered locations in New York City.  You further state these sharps containers are periodically picked up by persons hired to prepare them for transportation in packagings that comply with the HMR’s requirements for Division 6.2 Materials of Trade (MOT).  These persons then transport the completed packages by foot and/or public transportation (i.e., subway, cab, bus, or car for hire) to authorized facilities for proper disposal.  You ask if the method you described for transporting these materials is in compliance with the HMR.   

The answer is no.  As defined in § 171.8, Material of trade means a hazardous material, other than a hazardous waste, that is carried on a motor vehicle—

(1)     For the purpose of protecting the health and safety of the motor vehicle operator or passengers;
(2)     For the purpose of supporting the operation or maintenance of a motor vehicle (including its auxiliary equipment); or
(3)     By a private motor carrier (including vehicles operated by a rail carrier) in direct support of a principal business that is other than
        transportation by motor vehicle.

In the example you described, none of the sharps containers are being transported by private motor carrier.  Although the HMR does not specifically define “private motor carrier,” this Office has interpreted this term to mean that a “private motor carrier” is a carrier that transports a business' own products and does not provide such transportation service to other businesses.  None of the transportation vehicles you describe is a private motor carrier.  You may wish to apply for regulatory relief to authorize the transportation of these used sharps under the terms of a special permit.  Special permits are granted on a case-by-case basis and the application procedures are set forth in 49 CFR 107.105.  The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Approvals and Permits Division may be reached at (202) 366-4535.

I hope this satisfies your request.  


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

171.8, 173.134, 173.197

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.8 Definitions and abbreviations