Wetlines Retrofit Requirement Unnecessary and Dangerous

November 16, 2009

BALTIMORE, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Requiring tank trucks to purge excess fuel from the external product piping, or wetlines, will not improve the safe transport of flammable liquids and is dangerous to technicians that install the purging technology, American Trucking Associations (ATA) First Vice Chair Barbara Windsor told the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Material today.

“We believe the industry’s safety record demonstrates that a mandate for wetlines-purging equipment is simply not justified,” said Windsor during a field hearing on H.R. 4019, the Hazardous Material Transportation Safety Act of 2009. “Government statistics indicate that the risk of a fatal wetlines incident is approximately 1 in 30,000,000. … In fact, the odds of being struck by lightning during your lifetime are 6,000 times greater than the odds of being killed in a wetlines incident,” said Windsor.

ATA recommends that Congress require an in-depth study of this issue before imposing a ban on transporting flammable liquids in cargo tank piping. This report should at a minimum quantify the risks posed by wetlines and analyze the costs and feasibility of eliminating the transportation of flammable materials in wetlines.

To comply with the legislation’s wetlines ban, carriers that haul flammable liquids such as gasoline must retrofit their tanks with wetlines-purging equipment. This technology costs approximately $8,000 per tank or $200 million for the entire country’s fleet. Moreover, the current purging technology must be welded onto the existing tank, an activity that is in inherently dangerous for the maintenance technician, said Windsor.

“Perhaps the greatest cost associated with a Congressional mandate to ban the transportation of flammable liquids in cargo tank external piping will be the additional lives lost as a result of bringing a large number of used cargo tanks into a shop environment for welding operations,” said Windsor.

Five other key trucking industry issues for Congress to address during reauthorization of the federal hazardous materials transportation law include:

  • Eliminating duplicative and redundant security background checks;
  • Improving state hazmat permitting systems;
  • Ensuring equitable enforcement of the hazmat regulations;
  • Enhancing safety by increasing DOT’s preemption authority; and
  • Resolving jurisdictional issues concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and DOT’s regulation of hazmat handling.

View Barbara Windsor’s entire testimony here.

The American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States.

SOURCE American Trucking Associations

Source: newswire

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