U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jan 18, 2020
(a) A portable tank constructed in accordance with a DOT specification for which a test or inspection specified in this subpart has become due, must be tested or inspected prior to being returned for transportation.
(b) Conditions requiring test and inspection of portable tanks. Without regard to any other test or inspection requirements, a Specification or UN portable tank must be tested and inspected in accordance with this section prior to further use if any of the following conditions exist:
(1) The portable tank shows evidence of dents, corroded or abraded areas, leakage, or any other condition that might render it unsafe for transportation service.
(2) The portable tank has been in an accident and has been damaged to an extent that may adversely affect its ability to retain the hazardous material.
(3) The portable tank has been out of hazardous materials transportation service for a period of one year or more.
(4) The portable tank has been modified from its original design specification.
(5) The portable tank is in an unsafe operating condition based on the existence of probable cause.
(c) Schedule for periodic inspections and tests. Each Specification portable tank must be tested and inspected in accordance with the following schedule:
(1) Each IM or UN portable tank must be given an initial inspection and test before being placed into service, a periodic inspection and test at least once every 5 years, and an intermediate periodic inspection and test at least every 2.5 years following the initial inspection and the last 5 year periodic inspection and test.
(2) Each Specification 51 portable tank must be given a periodic inspection and test at least once every five years.
(3) Each Specification 56 or 57 portable tank must be given a periodic inspection and test at least once every 2.5 years.
(4) Each Specification 60 portable tank must be given a periodic inspection and test at the end of the first 4-year period after the original test; at least once every 2 years thereafter up to a total of 12 years of service; and at least once annually thereafter. Retesting is not required on a rubber-lined tank except before each relining.
(d) Intermediate periodic inspection and test. For IM and UN portable tanks the intermediate 2.5 year periodic inspection and test must include at least an internal and external examination of the portable tank and its fittings taking into account the hazardous materials intended to be transported; a leakage test; and a test of the satisfactory operation of all service equipment. Sheathing, thermal insulation, etc. need only be removed to the extent required for reliable appraisal of the condition of the portable tank. For portable tanks intended for the transportation of a single hazardous material, the internal examination may be waived if it is leakage tested in accordance with the procedures in paragraph (h) of this section prior to each filling, or if approved by the Associate Administrator. Portable tanks used for dedicated transportation of refrigerated liquefied gases that are not fitted with inspection openings are excepted from the internal inspection requirement.
(e) Periodic inspection and test. The 5 year periodic inspection and test must include an internal and external examination and, unless excepted, a pressure test as specified in this section. Sheathing, thermal insulation, etc. need only to be removed to the extent required for reliable appraisal of the condition of the portable tank. Except for DOT Specification 56 and 57 portable tanks, reclosing pressure relief devices must be removed from the tank and tested separately unless they can be tested while installed on the portable tank. For portable tanks where the shell and equipment have been pressure-tested separately, after assembly they must be subjected together to a leakage test and effectively tested and inspected for corrosion. Portable tanks used for the transportation of refrigerated, liquefied gases are excepted from the requirement for internal inspection and the hydraulic pressure test during the 5-year periodic inspection and test, if the portable tanks were pressure tested to a minimum test pressure of 1.3 times the design pressure using an inert gas as prescribed in § 178.338-16(a) and (b) of this subchapter before putting the portable tank into service initially and after any exceptional inspections and tests specified in paragraph (f) of this section.
(f) Exceptional inspection and test. The exceptional inspection and test is necessary when a portable tank shows evidence of damaged or corroded areas, or leakage, or other conditions that indicate a deficiency that could affect the integrity of the portable tank. The extent of the exceptional inspection and test must depend on the amount of damage or deterioration of the portable tank. It must include at least the inspection and a pressure test according to paragraph (e) of this section. Pressure relief devices need not be tested or replaced unless there is reason to believe the relief devices have been affected by the damage or deterioration.
(g) Internal and external examination. The internal and external examinations must ensure that:
(1) The shell is inspected for pitting, corrosion, or abrasions, dents, distortions, defects in welds or any other conditions, including leakage, that might render the portable tank unsafe for transportation. The wall thickness must be verified by appropriate measurement if this inspection indicates a reduction of wall thickness;
(2) The piping, valves, and gaskets are inspected for corroded areas, defects, and other conditions, including leakage, that might render the portable tank unsafe for filling, discharge or transportation;
(3) Devices for tightening manhole covers are operative and there is no leakage at manhole covers or gaskets;
(4) Missing or loose bolts or nuts on any flanged connection or blank flange are replaced or tightened;
(5) All emergency devices and valves are free from corrosion, distortion and any damage or defect that could prevent their normal operation. Remote closure devices and self-closing stop-valves must be operated to demonstrate proper operation;
(6) Required markings on the portable tank are legible and in accordance with the applicable requirements; and
(7) The framework, the supports and the arrangements for lifting the portable tank are in satisfactory condition.
(h) Pressure test procedures for specification 51, 56, 57, 60, IM or UN portable tanks. (1) Each Specification 57 portable tank must be leak tested by a minimum sustained air pressure of at least 3 psig applied to the entire tank. Each Specification 51 or 56 portable tank must be tested by a minimum pressure (air or hydrostatic) of at least 2 psig or at least one and one-half times the design pressure (maximum allowable working pressure, or re-rated pressure) of the tank, whichever is greater. The leakage test for portable tanks used for refrigerated liquefied gas must be performed at 90% of MAWP. Leakage tests for all other portable tanks must be at a pressure of at least 25% of MAWP. During each air pressure test, the entire surface of all joints under pressure must be coated with or immersed in a solution of soap and water, heavy oil, or other material suitable for the purpose of detecting leaks. The pressure must be held for a period of time sufficiently long to assure detection of leaks, but in no case less than five minutes. During the air or hydrostatic test, relief devices may be removed, but all the closure fittings must be in place and the relief device openings plugged. Lagging need not be removed from a lagged tank if it is possible to maintain the required test pressure at constant temperature with the tank disconnected from the source of pressure.
(2) Each Specification 60 portable tank must be retested by completely filling the tank with water or other liquid having a similar viscosity, the temperature of the liquid must not exceed 37.7 °C (100 °F) during the test, and applying a pressure of 60 psig. The portable tank must be capable of holding the prescribed pressure for at least 10 minutes without leakage, evidence of impending failure, or failure. All closures shall be in place while the test is made and the pressure shall be gauged at the top of the tank. Safety devices and/or vents shall be plugged during this test.
(3) Each Specification IM or UN portable tank, except for UN portable tanks used for non-refrigerated and refrigerated liquefied gases, and all piping, valves and accessories, except pressure relief devices, must be hydrostatically tested with water, or other liquid of similar density and viscosity, to a pressure not less than 150% of its maximum allowable working pressure. UN portable tanks used for the transportation of non-refrigerated liquefied gases must be hydrostatically tested with water, or other liquid of similar density and viscosity, to a pressure not less than 130% of its maximum allowable working pressure. UN portable tanks used for the transportation of refrigerated liquefied gases may be tested hydrostatically or pneumatically using an inert gas to a pressure not less than 1.3 times the design pressure. For pneumatic testing, due regard for protection of all personnel must be taken because of the potential hazard involved in such a test. The pneumatic test pressure in the portable tank must be reached by gradually increasing the pressure to one-half of the test pressure. Thereafter, the test pressure must be increased in steps of approximately one-tenth of the test pressure until the required test pressure has been reached. The pressure must then be reduced to a value equal to four-fifths of the test pressure and held for a sufficient time to permit inspection of the portable tank for leaks. The minimum test pressure for a portable tank is determined on the basis of the hazardous materials that are intended to be transported in the portable tanks. For liquid, solid and non-refrigerated liquefied gases, the minimum test pressure for specific hazardous materials are specified in the applicable T Codes assigned to a particular hazardous material in the § 172.101 Table of this subchapter. While under pressure the tank shall be inspected for leakage, distortion, or any other condition which might render the tank unsafe for service. A portable tank fails to meet the requirements of the pressure test if, during the test, there is permanent distortion of the tank exceeding that permitted by the applicable specification; if there is any leakage; or if there are any deficiencies that would render the portable tank unsafe for transportation. Any portable tank that fails must be rejected and may not be used again for the transportation of a hazardous material unless the tank is adequately repaired, and, thereafter, a successful test is conducted in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph. An approval agency shall witness the hydrostatic or pneumatic test. Any damage or deficiency that might render the portable tank unsafe for service shall be repaired to the satisfaction of the witnessing approval agency. The repaired tank must be retested to the original pressure test requirements. Upon successful completion of the hydrostatic or pneumatic test, as applicable, the witnessing approval agency shall apply its name, identifying mark or identifying number in accordance with paragraph (k) of this section.
(i) Rejection criteria. When evidence of any unsafe condition is discovered, the portable tank may not be returned to service until it has been repaired and the pressure test is repeated and passed.
(j) Repair. The repair of a portable tank is authorized, provided such repairs are made in accordance with the requirements prescribed in the specification for the tank's original design and construction. In addition to any other provisions of the specification, no portable tank may be repaired so as to cause leakage or cracks or so as to increase the likelihood of leakage or cracks near areas of stress concentration due to cooling metal shrinkage in welding operations, sharp fillets, reversal of stresses, or otherwise. No field welding may be done except to non-pressure parts. Any cutting, burning or welding operations on the shell of an IM or UN portable tank must be done with the approval of the approval agency and be done in accordance with the requirements of this subchapter, taking into account the pressure vessel code used for the construction of the shell. A pressure test to the original test pressure must be performed after the work is completed.
(k) Inspection and test markings. (1) Each IM or UN portable tank must be durably and legibly marked, in English, with the date (month and year) of the last pressure test, the identification markings of the approval agency witnessing the test, when required, and the date of the last visual inspection. The marking must be placed on or near the metal identification plate, in letters and numerals of not less than 3 mm (0.118 inches) high when on the metal identification plate, and 12 mm (0.47 inches) high when on the portable tank.
(2) Each Specification DOT 51, 56, 57 or 60 portable tank must be durably and legibly marked, in English, with the date (month and year) of the most recent periodic retest. The marking must be placed on or near the metal certification plate and must be in accordance with § 178.3 of this subchapter. The letters and numerals must not be less than 3 mm (0.118 inches) high when on the metal certification plate, and 12 mm (0.47 inches) high when on the portable tank, except that a portable tank manufactured under a previously authorized specification may continue to be marked with smaller markings if originally authorized under that specification (for example, DOT Specification 57 portable tanks).
(l) Record retention. (1) The owner of each portable tank or his authorized agent shall retain a written record of the date and results of all required inspections and tests, including an ASME manufacturer's date report, if applicable, and the name and address of the person performing the inspection or test, in accordance with the applicable specification. The manufacturer's data report, including a certificate(s) signed by the manufacturer, and the authorized design approval agency, as applicable, indicating compliance with the applicable specification of the portable tank, and related papers certifying that the portable tank was manufactured and tested in accordance with the applicable specification must be retained in the files of the owner, or his authorized agent, during the time that such portable tank is used for such service, except for Specifications 56 and 57 portable tanks.
(2) If the owner does not have the manufacturer's certificate required by the specification and the manufacturer's data report required by the ASME, the owner may contact the National Board for a copy of the manufacturer's data report, if the portable tank was registered with the National Board, or copy the information contained on the portable tanks specification plate and ASME Code data plates.