RSPA proposes hazmat rule revisions for cargo tank construction, repairs

The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) is proposing a number of revisions to update and clarify the hazardous materials regulations on the construction and maintenance of cargo tank motor vehicles. The proposed rule also addresses recommendations from several trucking industry representatives, including the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC).

One issue that raised the concern of NTTC pertains to the risks workers face while welding on cargo tanks that transport toxic or flammable lading. The RSPA proposal requires those tanks to be completely cleaned and purged before doing repairs, modifications, stretchings, rebarrellings, or mountings.

RSPA also agreed with NTTC to allow an external heating system on a cargo tank to be pressure tested at its maximum allowable working pressure(MAWP). NTTC also was successful in requiring the requalification date marking on a cargo tank to be the date the test or inspections expires instead of the date the test or inspection was last performed.

Among other items in the proposals are rules related to determining head and shell thickness; maximum allowable working pressure; marking of emergency shutoff valves; welding procedures; and recertification of a cargo tank to its original specification.

The proposal also addresses structural integrity requirements, manhole markings, road clearance, plate markings, and leak testing.

One section addresses revisions applicable to MC331 and MC338 cargo tanks. The revisions include adopting a consistency with DOT400-series specifications. Also included in the MC331 and MC338 proposals are rules for remote shufoffs, inlet and outlet fittings on MC331s, internal visual inspection of insulated tanks, and leakage tests for cargo tanks used in anhydrous ammonia service.

The 62-page proposal can be accessed in its entirety at the Federal Register Web site: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a011204c.html.

Comments must be received by February 4, 2002. To the extent possible, RSPA has said it will consider comments received after the date in making its decision on a final rule. Address comments to the Dockets Management System, United States Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington DC 20590-0001. Identify the docket number [RSPA-98-3554 (HM-213)] in the comments and submit two copies. Comments also can be submitted to the docket electronically by accessing the dockets management system website at http://dms.dot.gov. Click on Help & Information to obtain instructions.

For additional information, contact Michael Johnsen, Office of Hazardous Materials Standards, RSPA, (202) 366-8553; Philip Olson, Office of Hazardous Materials Technology, RSPA, (202) 366-4545; or Danny Shelton, Office of Enforcement and Program Delivery, Hazardous Materials Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), (202) 366-6121.

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