FMCSA issues reinspection notice for tankers from Alabama testing site

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | Friday, April 15, 2016

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is advising owners and operators of certain cargo tanks that the tanks may have been improperly inspected and tested and must be reinspected and retested before being used in hazardous material service.

The agency posted the notice on Friday, April 15. The tanks in question were tested by H&W Tank Testing, CT#8083, of Ohatchee, Ala., and by Christopher Humphries, CT#13131, Jacksonville, Ala. 

The advisory applies to all cargo tanks inspected or tested by either company from April 2011, through March, 2016. The tankers must be reinspected and/or retested by a registered cargo tanker facility.

According to FMCSA spokesman Duane DeBruyne, the order affects at least 250 tanks operated by approximately 60 companies. DeBruyne said the agency’s investigation could potentially reveal more tanks and more companies that have been affected.

DeBruyne said FMCSA was prompted to investigate the cargo tank testing facilities following a commercial motor vehicle crash with HM incident that occurred on March 11 at the Georgia-Alabama border.  An investigation of the motor carrier involved led the agency to those facilities. No other incidents connected to these tanks have been reported and no imminent hazard or out-of-service orders have been issued, DeBruyne said. The agency’s investigation into the motor carrier continues.

The release notes that it is a violation of the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to use these cargo tank motor vehicles for transportation of hazardous materials before they have been properly reinspected and retested by an FMCSA-registered cargo tank facility.

The following actions must be taken immediately:

Owners must provide FMCSA with documentation that the required inspections and testing have been performed for all of the affected cargo tank motor vehicles. Those documents must be emailed to Paul Bomgardner, Chief, Hazardous Materials Division, at: fmcsa.cargotank@dot.gov, or by fax at 202-366-3621. The agency must have the documentation prior to operating any cargo tank motor vehicle that was tested and/or inspected by either of the above-listed cargo tank registration numbers.

The documentation must consist of:

  • A pressure test by a cargo tank facility that is currently registered with USDOT/FMCSA and has a qualified and trained Registered Inspector.
  • Documentation of the bench test, or if required, replacement of the pressure relief devices;
  • An external visual inspection and an internal visual inspection in conjunction with the pressure test.
  • For those cargo tank motor vehicles that do not have a manway, the Registered Inspector must document that the pressure relief devices and internal valves were removed and inspected. It is recommended, but not required, that the inspector perform a visual inspection of the tank in the area where the pressure relief devices and internal valves were removed for the accumulation of rust or other materials that could diminish their performance. This documentation must include the findings and recommendations of the Registered Inspector;
  • A thickness test of all corroded or abraded areas on the cargo tank motor vehicle or a statement by the Registered Inspector that no corroded or abraded areas were identified;
  • For all cargo tanks made of quenched and tempered steel (QT) a wet fluorescent magnetic particle exam immediately prior to and in conjunction with the pressure test that complies with Section V of the ASME Code and CGA Technical Bulletin TB-2 by a trained, qualified Registered Inspector; and
  • The training certificate of the person conducting the wet fluorescent magnetic particle exam, dated to within three years of the date the exam is conducted.

For more information or questions concerning the advisory, contact Hazardous Materials Division chief Bomgardner at 202-493-0027, or by email at paul.bomgardner@dot.gov.

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