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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation R-83-090
Details
Synopsis: ON SEPTEMBER 28, 1982, ILLINOIS CENTRAL GULF RAILROAD (ICG) FREIGHT TRAIN EXTRA 9629 EAST (GS-2-28) DERAILED 43 CARS ON THE SINGLE MAIN TRACK OF THE HAMMOND DISTRICT IN LIVINGSTON, LOUISIANA. OF THE DERAILED CARS, 36 WERE TANK CARS; 27 OF THESE CARS CONTAINED VARIOUS REGULATED HAZARDOUS OR TOXIC CHEMICAL COMMODITIES, 2 CONTAINED NONREGULATED HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, AND 5 CONTAINED FLAMMABLE PETROLEUM PRODUCTS. A TOTAL OF 20 TANK CARS WERE PUNCTURED OR BREACHED IN THE DERAILMENT. FIRES BROKE OUT IN THE WRECKAGE, AND SMOKE AND TOXIC GASES WERE RELEASED INTO THE ATMOSPHERE. THERMALLY INDUCED EXPLOSIONS OF TWO TANK CARS THAT HAD NOT BEEN PUNCTURED CAUSED THEM TO ROCKET VIOLENTLY. ABOUT 3,000 PERSONS LIVING WITHIN A 5-MILE RADIUS OF THE DERAILMENT SITE WERE EVACUATED FOR AS LONG AS 2 WEEKS. NINETEEN RESIDENCES AND OTHER BUILDINGS IN LIVINGSTON WERE DESTROYED OR SEVERELY DAMAGED. MORE THAN 200,000 GALLONS OF TOXIC CHEMICAL PRODUCT WERE SPILLED AND ABSORBED INTO THE GROUND, REQUIRING EXTENSIVE EXCAVATION OF CONTAMINATED SOIL AND ITS TRANSPORTATION TO A DISTANT DUMP SITE. THIS HAS RESULTED IN LONG-TERM CLOSURE OF THE RAILROAD LINE AND AN ADJACENT HIGHWAY. PROPERTY DAMAGE HAS BEEN ESTIMATED TO BE IN EXCESS OF $14 MILLION.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE RESEARCH AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS ADMINISTRATION: REQUIRE THE MATERIALS TRANSPORTATION BUREAU TO IDENTIFY COMMODITIES SUCH AS PERCHLOROETHYLENE WHICH MAY POSE A SERIOUS LONG-TERM THREAT TO LOCAL ENVIRONMENTS, AND TO TAKE TIMELY ACTION TO REGULATE THEIR TRANSPORTATION. (URGENT)
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Railroad
Location: Livingston, LA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA82AR016
Accident Reports: Derailment of Illinois Central Gulf Railroad Freight Train Extra 9629 East (GS-2-28) and Release of Hazardous Materials
Report #: RAR-83-05
Accident Date: 9/28/1982
Issue Date: 8/12/1983
Date Closed: 10/2/1987
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: RSPA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 10/2/1987
Response: The Board agrees that the publication on November 21, 1986, of a final rule under Docket HM-145F (which lists and regulates perchloroethylene and a number of other materials as hazardous materials due to their environmental risks) is responsive to the intent of Safety Recommendation R-83-90, which consequently, has been placed in a "Closed-Acceptable Action" status.

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/31/1987
Response: ON SEPTEMBER 29, 1983, RSPA RESPONDED TO THE RECOMMENDATION AND ON APRIL 30, 1984, YOU ADVISED THAT THE NTSB IS HOLDING IT IN AN "OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION" STATUS PENDING A FUR THER RESPONSE. ON NOVEMBER 21, 1986, RSPA PUBLISHED A FINAL RULE UNDER DOCKET HM-145F (51 FR 42174) LISTING AND REGULA TION PERCHLOROETHLENE AND A LARGE NUMBER OF OTHER MATERIALS AS HAZARDOUS MATERIALS DUE TO THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS. THE REGULATION OF THIS MATERIAL BECAME EFFECTIVE ON JULY 1, 1987. THEREFORE, I REQUEST THAT RECOMMENDATION R-83-90 BE CLASSIFIED AS "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: NTSB
To: RSPA
Date: 4/30/1984
Response: The Safety Board is aware of the Materials Transportation Bureau's (MTB) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANRPM) issued on August 8, 1983, in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) NPRM issued on May 25, 1983. While the Board notes that MTB has raised questions regarding EPA's adjustment of reportable quantities for certain hazardous substances, the Board's main concern continues to be that many commodities have yet to be identified as hazardous to public health, safety, or property, and consequently their transportation has yet to be regulated. The Safety Board can appreciate the need for the cooperative working relationship that exists between MTB and EPA; however, the unavailability of necessary data from EPA does not relieve the Department of Transportation (DOT) of its responsibility under the law to designate as a hazardous material a particular quantity and form of material, the transportation of which may pose an unreasonable risk to health and safety or property. The Safety Board notes that perchloroethylene is listed in the 1984 DOT Emergency Response Guidebook as a "hazardous material" and that a specific response guide for this and similar materials has been developed. The Safety Board urges MTB to reconsider the intent of the recommendation by identifying and including in the hazardous materials regulations those materials which may pose a long-term threat to public safety, health, or property. Pending further response, we will hold Safety Recommendation R-83-90 in an "Open-Unacceptable Action" status.

From: RSPA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/29/1983
Response: RSPA LETTER: THIS RECOMMENDATOIN GOES TO THE HEART OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (DOT) AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA). THESE RELATIONSHIPS ARE GUIDED BY POLICIES AND UNDERSTANDINGS WORKED OUT OVER THE YEARS BETWEEN OUR TWO AGENCIES WHICH DEFINE SENSIBLY COMPLEMENTARY ROLES. CONSISTENT WITH THESE ROLES, WE ARE RIGHT NOW WORKING COOPERATIVELY TO SOLVE THE SPECIFIC PROBLEM ADDRESSED BY THE RECOMMENDATION. I AM ENCLOSING A COPY OF AN ADVANCE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING (ANPRM) ISSUED BY OUR MATERIALS TRANSPORTATION BUREAU (MTB) ON AUGUST 8, 1983, TO ASSIST US IN A DETERMINATION AS TO THE NEEDS FOR REGULATION SUCH AS YOU RECOMMEND. AS DISCUSSED IN DETAIL IN THAT ANPRM, THE COMPREHENSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE, COMPENSATION, AND LIABILITY ACT OF 1980 (CERCLA) ESTABLISHED A LIST OF SOME 696 HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES AND ALSO ESTABLISHED "REPORTABLE QUANTITIES" (RQ'S) FOR THESE SUBSTANCES. THE REPORTABLE QUANTITY ESTABLISHED BY STATUTE FOR MORE THAN HALF OF THE CERCLA LIST IS ONE POUND. CERCLA ALLOWS THE EPA TO ADJUST THE RQ'S ESTABLISHED AND ALSO AUTHORIZES THE EPA TO DESIGNATE NEW "HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES" AND TO ESTABLISH RQ'S FOR THEM. SECTION 306 OF CERCLA REQUIRES DOT TO LIST THOSE SUBSTANCES AS "HAZARDOUS MATERIALS" UNDER THE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TRANSPORTATION ACT (HMTA). THE INTENT OF THIS PROVISION WAS TO ENSURE COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TWO AGENCIES IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THEIR RESPECTIVE PROGRAMS. IN ITS ORIGINAL RULEMAKING TO IMPLEMENT SECTION 306, MTB DETERMINED THAT SINCE EPA HAD NOT YET ADJUSTED RQ'S UNDER CERCLA, AND SINCE APPLICATION OF THE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REGULATIONS (HMR) TO THE FULL RANGE OF CERCLA "HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES" WOULD RESULT IN A SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN REGULATORY AND PAPERWORK BURDENS, IT WOULD BE INAPPROPRIATE TO SUBJECT THOSE SUBSTANCES TO ADDITIONAL REGULATION, AT LEAST UNTIL SUCH TIME AS EPA EXERCISED ITS AUTHORITY TO ADJUST RQ'S. ON MAY 25, 1983, EPA PUBLISHED A NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING TO ADJUST THOSE RQ'S (COPY ENCLOSED). MTB'S ANPRM WAS ISSUED IN RESPONSE TO EPA'S NOTICE AND INITIATES THE DOT PART OF THE PROCESS FOR DETERMINING WHETHER TO INCORPORATE THE ADJUSTED RQ'S, AND THEREBY REGULATE THOSE SUBSTANCES UNDER THE HMR. INDEED, THE PRECISE SUBSTANCE THAT IS THE SUBJECT OF THE NTSB'S RECOM MENDATION, PERCHLOROETHYLENE (TETRACHLOROETHYLENE), IS DISCUSSED IN THE ANRPM, 48 FR 35967, WHERE IT IS NOTED THAT THE SUBSTANCE IS STILL BEING TESTED BY EPA FOR "CARCINOGE NICITY AND OTHER TOXIC EFFECTS." TO RESPOND SPECIFICALLY TO THE NTSB'S RECOMMENDATION, IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT, AS DISCUSSED IN THE ANPRM, A LARGE NUMBER OF CERCLA "HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES" ARE ALREADY SUBJECT TO THE HMR. WITH REGARD TO SHIPMENTS OF SUBSTANCES THAT ARE NOT ALREADY SUBJECT TO THE HMR, THE COMMENTS ACCOMPANYING THE RECOMMENDATION SUGGEST THAT, IN ORDER "TO TAKE TIMELY ACTION" TO REGULATE THESE SUBSTANCES, MTB SHOULD IMMEDIATELY IMPOSE REGULATIONS WITHOUT REGARD TO ANY FURTHER ACTIONS BY EPA TO ADJUST RQ'S FOR THEM: "THERE SHOULD BE NO FURTHER DELAY ON THE PART OF MTB IN CLASSIFYING PERCHLOROETHYLENE AS HAZARDOUS ..... OTHER CHEMICALS WHICH POSE A HAZARD TO PUBLIC HEALTH ALSO SHOULD BE IDENTIFIED AND REGULATED WITHOUT DELAY." IN OUR VIEW, IT WOULD BE IMPROPER TO CONTRAVENE LONG-STANDING, AND SOUND, POLICIES OF COORDINATION BETWEEN DOT AND EPA BY SUBJECTING CERCLA "HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES" TO MTB REGULATIONS BEFORE EPA HAS COMPLETED ITS PROCESS OF DETERMINING THE APPROPRIATE QUANTITIES AT WHICH THESE SUBSTANCES POSE A SUFFICIENT RISK TO WARRANT BEING SUBJECT TO THE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS OF CERCLA.