What's So Special About Hazmat Salvage Packaging?

Posted on 9/19/2017 by James Griffin

There's a good reason why the 49 CFR hazmat regulations refer to salvage packaging as a "special" type of hazmat packaging. As we'll explore here, salvage packagings serve a critically important purpose in hazardous materials transport. 

As hazmat shippers know, hazmat packagings must meet performance and other specifications before transport and can’t leak. [49 CFR 173.24] But accidents happen; things wear out; and extreme weather, traffic collisions, or plain old human error can result in a package of hazmat leaking or otherwise failing to meet standards.

When a package of hazardous materials becomes damaged during transportation, starts leaking, exhibits a defect, or otherwise ceases to conform to relevant standards, the entire package is placed inside a salvage packaging. That way, the packaging can be safely transported to an appropriate facility for recovery or disposal.

Salvage packagings can also be used to transport hazmat that has spilled or leaked (and associated clean- up gear), packages that started leaking or failing during storage, or hazmat packages that were improperly packaged or undeclared.

What Does a Hazmat Salvage Packaging Look Like?

The most common type of salvage packaging is a salvage drum.

Salvage drums are non-bulk metal or plastic removable head drums, furnished with sufficient cushioning and absorbent material to prevent shifting of the contents and eliminate free liquids.

Salvage packagings sent by ground must be tested and marked at the PG III (“Z”) or higher level for liquids or solids and have a leakproofness rating of 20 kPa (3 PSIG). Sometimes, salvage packagings have a “T” supplementing the packaging design type identification code on their UN marking. For example, 1A2T stands for a steel salvage drum.

There are also salvage cylinders for holding damaged pressure vessels of compressed gases.

Hazmat air shipments that utilize salvage packaging are subject to more stringent rules.The salvage packaging must meet PG II ("Y") standards, for example. For unique rules that apply to salvage packagings sent by air, see the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (IATA DGR) Section 6.0.6. 

What Is a “Large Salvage Packaging”?

A “Large Salvage Packaging” is a hazmat salvage packaging that’s subject to additional requirements found at 49 CFR 173.3. Large salvage packagings must meet additional requirements for design, testing, and maintenance.

How to Use a Salvage Packaging

Whether it’s a drum, cylinder, or “large packaging,” when you use a salvage packaging, you must follow specific requirements.

While salvage drums are similar to overpacks, they are not subject to the overpack rules at 49 CFR 173.25.

To use a salvage packaging, put the damaged package, spilled material, absorbent, and related material into the container. Like any other shipment, the material of the salvage packaging must be compatible with the hazmat it will be carrying.

Hazmat Salvage Packaging Marks and Labels

Mark the salvage container with these 4 items:
  • Proper Shipping Name of the contents
  • Identification number of the contents
  • The word “SALVAGE”
  • The name and address of the consignee
Next, label the container with the appropriate hazmat label.

Shippers—prepare shipping papers like you would for a normal hazmat shipment.

Supply chain personnel—when re-packaging to a salvage packaging must be done “during transportation,” simply complete the shipment to the original destination once you’ve completed the steps above. 

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Tags: 49, CFR, hazmat packaging, hazmat shipping, marks and labels, Salvage packaging

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