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Packaging Requirement for Nitric Acid


UPS submitted a petition (P-1601) requesting PHMSA to revise the requirements for ground shipments of nitric acid of less than 90 percent concentration. The petition was in response to four loading and sorting operation incidents that occurred over a six-month period. The UPS noted that all incidents involved a glass inner packagings within fiberboard outer packagings. In each case, a breach of one more inner packagings caused leaking. The resultant fumes lead to a fire involving the fiberboard outer packaging material.

To remedy this, PHMSA proposed to require 173.158(e) that when nitric acid, in concentrations less than 90 percent, is placed in glass inner packagings (of not more than 2.5 L) to be packed in wooden or fiberboard outer packagings, the glass inner packagings must be packed in tightly-closed, non-reactive intermediate packagings and cushioned with a non-reactive absorbent material. Additionally, the use of flexible intermediate packaging is authorized, provided it can be tightly-closed and is non-reactive to the nitric acid.


Update: The unofficial July 5, 2017 deadline has passed. At this point, your relevant nitric acid shipments should comply with the revised 173.158(e). PHMSA originally specified an effective date of July 5, 2016 for this change but responded to a petition from COSTHA, extending the deadline an additional year, to July 5, 2017.

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