LP Gas

PHMSA final rule addresses bobtail requalification, odorant testing

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a final rule to its Hazardous Materials Regulations, addressing two critical propane industry issues.

According to the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), the results of the final rule could save the industry more than $500 million.

PHMSA amended the regulations in order to update and clarify requirements on the hydrostatic pressure test requalification period for certain types of bobtails and proposed requirements for quantitative testing of LP gas odorant in railcars, cargo tanks and cylinders.

PHMSA modified 49 Code of Federal Regulations 180.407(c) to permit a 10-year requalification period for MC331 cargo tanks with less than 3,500 gallons of water capacity in dedicated propane service, constructed of non-quenched and tempered SA-612 steel.

Although PHMSA initially intended for the proposed quantitative odorant testing requirements to apply to railcars, NPGA argued against the testing for cargo tanks and cylinders. NPGA says PHMSA agreed with the association, and PHMSA did not specify any odorant testing requirements for cylinders. For cargo tanks, PHMSA also agreed with NPGA’s position, and it will only require that cargo tanks or portable containers transported from a refinery, gas plant or pipeline terminal use quantitative testing of LP gas odorant.

The final rule, which takes effect July 5, does not include any formal record-keeping requirements for the odorant testing for railcars, cargo tanks or portable tanks.