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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 #16-0129 ([National Cargo Bureau] [Mr. Edward Walker])

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: National Cargo Bureau

Individual Name: Mr. Edward Walker

Location State: NY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

September 24, 2016

Mr. Edward F. Walker, Jr.
Deputy Chief Surveyor Pacific Ports
National Cargo Bureau
17 Battery Place, Suite 1232
New York, NY  10004

Reference No. 16-0129

Dear Mr. Walker:

This letter is in response to your July 28, 2016, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to exceptions for waste materials prescribed in § 173.12 and their segregation requirements in transportation.  You note that the HMR define “hazardous waste” but not “waste materials.”  We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You ask the meaning of “waste materials” as it is used in the title and text of § 173.12.  

A1. As you state in your letter, the HMR do not define “waste materials.”  However, “waste materials” as it is used in § 173.12 means hazardous materials intended for disposal that meet the applicable criteria prescribed in § 173.12.  The HMR define a “hazardous material” as “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…includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, elevated temperature materials, materials designated as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Table (see 49 CFR 172.101), and materials that meet the defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in” 49 CFR Part 173.  (See § 171.8.)

Q2. You ask if the segregation requirements prescribed in § 173.12(e) apply to hazardous wastes shipped in the same freight container with wastes that are exempt from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Hazardous Waste Manifest Requirements but are being shipped for disposal and meet the definition of a hazardous material under the HMR.

A2. The answer is no.  The segregation requirements prescribed in § 173.12(e) apply to hazardous wastes, as defined in § 171.8, that comply with the requirements in § 173.12(b).  Under the HMR, waste hazardous materials not subject to EPA’s Hazardous Waste Manifest Requirements do not meet the definition of a “hazardous waste” under § 171.8, but do meet the definition of a “hazardous material” under the HMR.  Therefore, these materials are subject to the applicable segregation requirements for hazardous materials prescribed by mode and/or material in the HMR (e.g., see §§ 174.81 (rail), 175.78 (aircraft), 176.83 (vessel), and 177.848) (highway)) and, if transported internationally, the segregation requirements for international hazardous materials shipments prescribed in 49 CFR Part 171, Subpart C.  

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


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

173.12, 172.101, 171.8, 173, 173.12(e), 173.12(b), 174.81, 175.78, 176.83, 177.848

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
172.101 Purpose and use of hazardous materials table
173.12 Exceptions for shipment of waste materials
173.12 Exceptions for shipment of waste materials
173.12 Exceptions for shipment of waste materials
174.81 Segregation of hazardous materials