New cargo tank regulations growing near completion

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has petitioned the Department of Transportation (DOT) to adopt a redesigned Section XII for cargo tanks, which will when adopted transfer responsibility for developing new cargo tank requirements to ASME, said Trent Eubanks of Miller Transporters Inc.

He made the comments at the National Tank Truck Carriers Maintenance Seminar November 12-14 in St Louis, Missouri.

Section XII would contain the rules for construction and continued service of pressure vessels and DOT-code cargo tanks used to transport dangerous goods via highway, rail, air, and water. It would replace the current DO”T cargo tank rules.

Eubanks, Jack Rademacher of Bulk International, Joe DeLorenzo of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and Danny Shelton of Hazmat Resources Inc presented updates on Section XII and various federal regulations affecting the tank truck industry.

ASME Section XII, when approved, would replace Section VIII, which will no longer be used by DOT for cargo vessel regulation.

Rademacher noted that once the new standards are complete, manufacturers will build the vessels with a T-Series designation rather than DOT and MC, and the current ASME U-Series vessels will no longer be manufactured.

Certified inspectors

At the same time, the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors (National Board) is developing standards, training classes, and testing that will apply to the repair or alterations of T-Series vessels, including more stringent guidelines for certifying all registered inspectors and repair personnel doing this type of work.

Rademacher noted that the National Board developed a program to qualify certified individuals. “It eliminates the need for employers to develop their own training and examination procedure,” he said. “It should be acceptable to ASME review teams.”

Eubanks also said that Section XII should give cargo tank manufacturers more opportunities to enhance research and development.

“PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) does not want to be in the business of designing and inspecting cargo tanks,” Rademacher said, pointing to the reasons for the ASME effort, adding that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not have the resources to adequately enforce the hazardous materials regulations currently in place.

“Some repair shops are providing questionable repairs and/or ignoring DOT regulations,” he said.

Other topics

Turning to other regulation topics, DeLorenzo noted that training of drivers, as well as other carrier personnel, is the common thread related to failures in safety and meeting DOT regulations. He also pointed out that while many carriers in the tank truck industry have “proactive great safety records,” when an incident does occur, it can be catastrophic. DOT will be upping enforcement and looking for correct shipping papers and training documentation.

The department also is taking a look at alternative fuels handling, particularly biodiesel and ethanol. “The regulators didn't anticipate all these scenarios,” he said. Shelton pointed out that often DOT's efforts are complicated because many issues are driven by politics. However, he said that navigating the regulations can be difficult and argued for a better and clearer organization of the definitions that apply to the tank truck industry.

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