U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Feb 21, 2020
(a) General requirements. No person may offer a hazardous material for transportation in a portable tank except as authorized by this subchapter.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, no person may use a portable tank for the transportation of a hazardous material unless it meets the requirements of this subchapter.
(2) No person may fill and offer for transportation a portable tank when the prescribed periodic test or inspection under subpart G of part 180 of this subchapter has become due until the test or inspection has been successfully completed. This requirement does not apply to any portable tank filled prior to the test or inspection due date.
(3) When a portable tank is used as a cargo tank motor vehicle, it must conform to all the requirements prescribed for cargo tank motor vehicles. (See § 173.33.)
(b) Substitute packagings. A particular Specification portable tank may be substituted for another portable tank as follows:
(1) An IM or UN portable tank may be used whenever an IM or UN portable tank having less stringent requirements is authorized provided the portable tank meets or exceeds the requirements for pressure-relief devices, bottom outlets and any other special provisions specified in § 172.102(c)(7)(vi) of this subchapter.
(2) Where a Specification IM101 or IM102 portable tank is prescribed, a UN portable tank or Specification 51 portable tank otherwise conforming to the special commodity requirements of § 172.102(c)(7) of this subchapter for the material to be transported may be used.
(3) A DOT Specification 51 portable tank may be used whenever a DOT Specification 56, 57, or 60 portable tank is authorized. A DOT Specification 60 portable tank may be used whenever a DOT Specification 56 or 57 portable tank is authorized. A higher integrity tank used instead of a specified portable tank must meet the same design profile; for example, a DOT Specification 51 portable tank must be lined if used instead of a lined DOT Specification 60 portable tank.
(4) A portable tank authorized by the Transport Canada TDG Regulations (IBR, see § 171.7 of this subchapter) may be used provided it conforms to the applicable requirements in § 171.12 of this subchapter.
(c) Grandfather provisions for portable tanks - (1) Continued use of Specification 56 and 57 portable tanks. Continued use of an existing portable tank constructed to DOT Specification 56 or 57 is authorized only for a portable tank constructed before October 1, 1996. A stainless steel portable tank internally lined with polyethylene that was constructed on or before October 1, 1996, and that meets all requirements of DOT Specification 57 except for being equipped with a polypropylene discharge ball valve and polypropylene secondary discharge opening closure, may be marked as a Specification 57 portable tank and used in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(2) A DOT Specification 51, IM 101, or IM 102 portable tank may not be manufactured after January 1, 2003; however, such tanks may continue to be used for the transportation of a hazardous material provided they meet the requirements of this subchapter, including the specification requirements and the requirements of this subchapter for the transportation of the particular hazardous material according to the T codes in effect on September 30, 2001 or the new T codes in § 172.102(c)(7)(i), and provided the portable tanks conform to the periodic inspection and tests specified for the particular portable tank in subpart G of part 180 of this subchapter. After January 1, 2003, all newly manufactured portable tanks must conform to the requirements for the design, construction and approval of UN portable tanks as specified in §§ 178.273, 178.274, 178.275, 178.276, 178.277 and part 180, subpart G, of this subchapter.
(3) A DOT Specification portable tank manufactured prior to January 1, 1992 that is equipped with a non-reclosing pressure relief device may continue in service for the hazardous materials for which it is authorized. Except for a DOT Specification 56 or 57 portable tank, a DOT Specification portable tank manufactured after January 1, 1992, used for materials meeting the definition for Division 6.1 liquids, Packing Group I or II, Class 2 gases, or Class 3 or 4 liquids, must be equipped with a reclosing pressure relief valve having adequately sized venting capacity unless otherwise specified in this subchapter (see §§ 178.275(f)(1) and 178.277 of this subchapter).
(4) Any portable tank container constructed prior to May 15, 1950, complying with the requirements of either the ASME Code for Unfired Pressure Vessels, 1946 Edition, or the API ASME Code for Unfired Pressure Vessels, 1943 Edition, may be used for the transportation of liquefied compressed gas, provided it fulfills all the requirements of the part and specifications for the particular gas or gases to be transported. Such portable tanks must be marked “ICC Specification 51X” on the plate required by the specification, except as modified by any or all of the following:
(i) Portable tanks designed and constructed in accordance with Pars. U-68, U-69, or U-201 of the ASME Code, 1943 and 1946 editions, may be used. Portable tanks designed and constructed in accordance with Par. U-68 or Par. U-69 may be re-rated at a working pressure 25 percent in excess of the design pressure for which the portable tank was originally constructed. If the portable tank is re-rated, the re-rated pressure must be marked on the plate as follows: “Re-rated working pressure - psig”.
(ii) Loading and unloading accessories, valves, piping, fittings, safety and gauging devices, do not have to comply with the requirements for the particular location on the portable tank.
(5) Any ICC Specification 50 portable tank fulfilling the requirements of that specification may be continued in service for transportation of a liquefied petroleum gas if it is retested every five years in accordance with the requirements in § 180.605 of this subchapter. Use of existing portable tanks is authorized. New construction is not authorized.
(d) Determination of an authorized portable tank. Prior to filling and offering a portable tank for transportation, the shipper must ensure that the portable tank conforms to the authorized specification and meets the applicable requirements in this subchapter for the hazardous material. The shipper must ensure that the MAWP, design pressure or test pressure of the portable tank, as applicable, is appropriate for the hazardous material being transported. Determination of the applicable pressure must take into account the maximum pressure used to load or unload the hazardous material, the vapor pressure, static head and surge pressures of the hazardous material and the temperatures that the hazardous material will experience during transportation.
(e) External inspection prior to filling. Each portable tank must be given a complete external inspection prior to filling. Any unsafe condition must be corrected prior to its being filled and offered for transportation. The external inspection shall include a visual inspection of:
(1) The shell, piping, valves and other appurtenances for corroded areas, dents, defects in welds and other defects such as missing, damaged, or leaking gaskets;
(2) All flanged connections or blank flanges for missing or loose nuts and bolts;
(3) All emergency devices for corrosion, distortion, or any damage or defect that could prevent their normal operation;
(4) All required markings on the tank for legibility; and
(5) Any device for tightening manhole covers to ensure such devices are operative and adequate to prevent leakage at the manhole cover.
(f) Loading requirements. (1) A hazardous material may not be loaded into a portable tank if the hazardous material would:
(i) Damage the portable tank;
(ii) React with the portable tank; or
(iii) Otherwise compromise its product retention capability.
(2) A hazardous material may not be loaded in a DOT Specification 51, DOT Specification 60, an IM or UN portable tank unless the portable tank has a pressure relief device that provides total relieving capacity meeting the requirements of this subchapter.
(3) Except during a pressure test, a portable tank may not be subjected to a pressure greater than its marked maximum allowable working pressure or, when appropriate, its marked design pressure.
(4) A portable tank may not be loaded to a gross mass greater than the maximum allowable gross mass specified on its identification plate.
(5) Except for a non-flowable solid or a liquid with a viscosity of 2,680 centistokes (millimeters squared per second) or greater at 20 °C (68 °F), an IM or UN portable tank, or compartment thereof, having a volume greater than 7,500 L (1,980 gallons) may not be loaded to a filling density of more than 20% and less than 80% by volume. This filling restriction does not apply if a portable tank is divided by partitions or surge plates into compartments of not more than 7,500 L (1,980 gallons) capacity; this portable tank must not be offered for transportation in an ullage condition liable to produce an unacceptable hydraulic force due to surge.
(6) The outage for a portable tank may not be less than 2% at a temperature of 50 °C (122 °F) unless otherwise specified in this subchapter. For UN portable tanks, the applicable maximum filling limits apply as specified according to the assigned TP codes in Column (7) of the § 172.101 Table of this subchapter except when transported domestically.
(7) Each tell-tale indicator or pressure gauge located in the space between a frangible disc and a safety relief valve mounted in series must be checked after the tank is filled and prior to transportation to ensure that the frangible disc is leak free. Any leakage through the frangible disc must be corrected prior to offering the tank for transportation.
(8) During filling, the temperature of the hazardous materials shall not exceed the limits of the design temperature range of the portable tank.
(9) The maximum mass of liquefied compressed gas per liter (gallon) of shell capacity (kg/L or lbs./gal.) may not exceed the density of the liquefied compressed gas at 50 °C (122 °F). The portable tank must not be liquid full at 60 °C (140 °F).
(g) Additional requirements for specific modal transport. In addition to other applicable requirements, the following apply:
(1) A portable tank containing a hazardous material may not be loaded onto a highway or rail transport vehicle unless loaded entirely within the horizontal outline of the vehicle, without overhang or projection of any part of the tank assembly.
(2) An IM or UN portable tank used for the transportation of flammable liquids by rail may not be fitted with non-reclosing pressure relief devices except in series with reclosing pressure relief valves.
(3) A portable tank or Specification 106A or 110A multi-unit tank car containing a hazardous material may not be offered for transportation aboard a passenger vessel unless:
(i) The vessel is operating under a change to its character of vessel certification as defined in § 171.8 of this subchapter; and
(ii) The material is permitted to be transported aboard a passenger vessel in the § 172.101 Table of this subchapter.
(h) Additional general commodity-specific requirements. In addition to other applicable requirements, the following requirements apply:
(1) Each uninsulated portable tank used for the transportation of a liquefied compressed gas must have an exterior surface finish that is significantly reflective, such as a light-reflecting color if painted, or a bright reflective metal or other material if unpainted.
(2) If a hazardous material is being transported in a molten state, the portable tank must be thermally insulated with suitable insulation material of sufficient thickness that the overall thermal conductance is not more than 0.080 Btu per hour per square foot per degree Fahrenheit differential.
(3) No person may offer a liquid hazardous material of Class 3, PG I or II, or PG III with a flash point of less than 100 °F (38 °C); Division 5.1, PG I or II; or Division 6.1, PG I or II, in an IM or UN portable tank that is equipped with a bottom outlet as authorized in Column (7) of the § 172.101 Table of this subchapter by assignment of a T Code in the appropriate proper shipping name entry, for unloading to a facility while it remains on a transport vehicle with the power unit attached unless -
(i) The tank outlets conform to § 178.275(d)(3) of this subchapter; or
(ii) The facility at which the IM or UN portable tank is to be unloaded conforms to the requirements in § 177.834(o) of this subchapter.
(i) Additional requirements for portable tanks other than IM specification and UN portable tanks. (1) The bursting strength of any piping and fittings must be at least four times the design pressure of the tank, and at least four times the pressure to which, in any instance, it may be subjected in service by the action of a pump or other device (not including safety relief valves) that may subject piping to pressures greater than the design pressure of the tank.
(2) Pipe joints must be threaded, welded or flanged. If threaded pipe is used, the pipe and pipe fittings must not be lighter than Schedule 80 weight. Where copper tubing is permitted, joints must be brazed or be of equally strong metal union type. The melting point of brazing material may not be lower than 1,000 °F (537.8 °C). The method of joining tubing must not decrease the strength of the tubing such as by the cutting of threads.
(3) Non-malleable metals may not be used in the construction of valves or fittings.
(4) Suitable provision must be made in every case to allow for expansion, contraction, jarring and vibration of all pipe. Slip joints may not be used for this purpose.
(5) Piping and fittings must be grouped in the smallest practicable space and must be protected from damage as required by the specification.
(6) All piping, valves and fittings on every portable tank must be leakage tested with gas or air after installation and proved tight at not less than the design pressure of the portable tank on which they are used. In the event of replacement, all such piping, valves, or fittings must be tested in accordance with the requirements of this section before the portable tank is returned to transportation service. The requirements of this section apply to all hoses used on portable tanks, except that hoses may be tested either before or after installation on the portable tank.
(7) All materials used in the construction of portable tanks and their appurtenances may not be subject to destructive attack by the contents of the portable tank.
(8) No aluminum, copper, silver, zinc nor their alloys may be used. Brazed joints may not be used. All parts of a portable tank and its appurtenances used for anhydrous ammonia must be steel.
(9) Each outlet of a portable tank used for the transportation of non-refrigerated liquefied compressed gases, except carbon dioxide, must be provided with a suitable automatic excess-flow valve (see definition in § 178.337-1(g) of this subchapter). The valve must be located inside the portable tank or at a point outside the portable tank where the line enters or leaves the portable tank. The valve seat must be located inside the portable tank or may be located within a welded flange or its companion flange, or within a nozzle or within a coupling. The installation must be made in such a manner as to reasonably assure that any undue strain which causes failure requiring functioning of the valve shall cause failure in such a manner that it will not impair the operation of the valve.
(i) A safety device connection or liquid level gauging device that is constructed so that the outward flow of the tank contents will not exceed that passed by an opening of 0.1397 cm (0.0550 inches) is not required to be equipped with excess-flow valves.
(ii) An excess-flow valve must close automatically if the flow reaches the rated flow of gas or liquid specified by the original valve manufacturer when piping mounted directly on the valve is sheared off before the first valve, pump, or fitting downstream from the excess flow valve.
(iii) An excess-flow valve may be designed with a by-pass, not to exceed a 0.1016 cm (0.040 inches) diameter opening to allow equalization of pressure.
(iv) Filling and discharge lines must be provided with manually operated shut-off valves located as close to the tank as practical. Unless this valve is manually operable at the valve, the line must also have a manual shut-off valve. The use of “Stop-Check” valves to satisfy with one valve the requirements of this section is forbidden. For portable tanks used for refrigerated liquefied gases, a “stop check” valve may be used on the vapor side of the pressure buildup circuit.
(10) Each portable tank used for carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide must be lagged with a suitable insulation material of such thickness that the overall thermal conductance is not more than 0.08 Btu per square foot per degree Fahrenheit differential in temperature per hour. The conductance must be determined at 60 °Fahrenheit. Insulation material used on portable tanks for nitrous oxide must be noncombustible.
(11) Refrigerating or heating coils must be installed in portable tanks used for carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Such coils must be tested externally to at least the same pressure as the test pressure of the portable tank. The coils must also be tested internally to at least twice the working pressure of the heating or refrigerating system to be used, but in no case less than the test pressure of the portable tank. Such coils must be securely anchored. In the event of leakage, the refrigerant or heating medium to be circulated through the coil or coils must have no adverse chemical reaction with the portable tank or its contents.
(12) Excess flow valves are not required for portable tanks used for the transport of refrigerated liquefied gases.