Beginning on January 23, 2017, approximately 5 million propane cylinders will be out of compliance with DOT regulations. This includes many propane cylinders that are used for home heating, forklifts, and even grill cylinders. In 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) made a major change that reduces the time propane marketers have to initially requalify a propane cylinder.
The changes appear to reduce the initial requalification period for DOT cylinders following volumetric expansion testing from 12 to 10 years and to increase the timeframe for requalification following a proof pressure test from 7 to 10 years. This rule was part of broader PHMSA rulemaking that was published as a final rule on January 21, 2016, incorporating nearly 100 special permits into the federal hazardous materials regulations (HMR).
The rule affects anyone who requalifies, fills, transports or prepares shipments of DOT cylinders. It is anticipated that the rule will affect thousands of small and middle market companies, starting with approximately 3,000 propane marketers. The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) anticipates that a reduction of time for requalification following volumetric expansion testing will have a significantly negative impact on the propane industry. According to the NPGA, small business and middle market owners will have to “choose between delivering fuel to more than 5 million homes that rely on propane for winter heating or staffing the business to comply with this rule.”
For more updates about the rule and the impact on the small and middle markets companies, visit the National Propane Gas Association.