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2018-16 June 22, 2018 PHMSA Issues Corrections and Responds to Appeals to the June 2, 2016 HM-218H Miscellaneous Amendments Final Rule

By Ed Mazzullo, Technical AdvisorJune 22, 2018

Following HazMat Alert 2018-15 on June 19, 2018, Technical Advisor Ed Mazzullo has reviewed the new HM-218H Final Rule and provides readers of The Journal with his full analysis. Mr. Mazzullo addresses in detail the following areas. Note that The Journal will be producing a subsequent report on the subject, looking specifically on how industry has adapted to the new packaging provisions of HM-218H, and how PHMSA will address the effective and enforcement dates described in this report.

Packaging provisions:
Compliance with the Final Rule's new packaging provisions has been delayed to September 17, 2018. Mr. Mazzullo notes that since compliance with the new packaging provisions has been delayed to September 17, 2018, it is not clear why the effective date of the rule is cited for the end of the enforcement waiver rather than September 17, 2018. Note further that in a subsequent letter of interpretation (linked in the report), PHMSA is asked if the reference to “cushioned with an absorbent material” in § 173.158(e) is intended to require enough absorbent material to absorb the entire contents of the package. PHMSA responds: “The answer is yes. The requirement for absorbent material is such that there must be a sufficient amount to absorb the entire liquid contents of the package. This is consistent with similar requirements in other sections of the HMR.” In the revised final rule, PHMSA amends the regulatory text in § 173.158(e) to clarity this issue stating: “We clarify in this final rule that, consistent with other provisions for use of absorbent material in the HMR, the absorbent material should be in sufficient quantity to absorb the entire contents of the inner packagings.”

Emergency numbers:
Since the preamble language seems to indicate that the delayed compliance date is applicable to the new emergency response telephone number provision, again it is not clear why the July 18, 2018 effective date is given for the end of the enforcement waiver period rather than the September 17, 2018 delayed compliance date.

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