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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 #18-0074

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: ESF Transport

Individual Name:

Location State: NY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

August 14, 2018

ESF Transport
360 Kingsland Avenue
Brooklyn, NY  11222

Reference No. 18-0074

Dear Sir,

This letter is in response to your May 15, 2018, email and subsequent phone conversation with a colleague requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to unloading requirements for combustible liquids. You describe a scenario in which your company delivers fuel oil classified as a combustible liquid to residential and commercial properties in New York City. Specifically, you ask if the attendance requirements in § 177.837(d) require your driver to enter a building to visually inspect the receiving tank every 5 minutes during unloading from a cargo tank motor vehicle (CTMV).

You state that requiring your driver to enter a building and climb down to the basement to observe the customer's container every 5 minutes during unloading is impracticable because it would result in the CTMV running unattended on a busy city street for up to 15 minutes at a time. Under your current procedure, in accordance with State and local requirements, the driver monitors all spill sources, such as the fill line, vent line, and delivery hose during the transfer of fuel oil to a consumer's container. The driver remains at the cargo tank controls to terminate the unloading in case of an overfill.

You are correct in that you are subject to the requirements of § 177.837(d) for attendance during unloading. However, in the scenario you presented, the HMR do not require that the qualified person attending the CTMV enter the building to visually observe the container in the basement during unloading. Observing the fill and vent lines, which are integral parts of the receiving container, meets the intent of the attendance requirements of § 177.837(d). The qualified person must remain within 150 feet of the cargo tank and 25 feet of the delivery hose.

Additionally, you request a change to the HMR. This Office cannot modify the 49 CFR through a letter of interpretation. If you believe a rulemaking change, such as a revision, addition, or deletion is warranted, we invite you to file a petition for rulemaking in accordance with 49 CFR 106.95, 106.100 and 106.105, including all information needed to support your petition. Your request will be further evaluated for merit to address in an upcoming rulemaking. For regulations in 49 CFR Parts 171 through 180, please submit the petition to: Standards and Rulemaking Division, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, PHH-10, U.S. Department of Transportation, East Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001. Please contact Mr. Steven Andrews in the Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch of the Standards and Rulemaking Division at 202-366-8553 for more information.

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


Dirk Der Kinderen
Chief, Standards Development Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

177.837(d), 106.95, 106.100, 106.105

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
106.100 Required information for a petition for rulemaking
106.105 PHMSA response to a petition for rulemaking
106.95 Requesting a change to the regulations
177.837 Class 3 materials