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Limited Quantity (LQ) and ORM-D Mini Primer

Posted: 9/25/15


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The following post is an excerpt from our September 2015 Regulatory Corner, a new Heritage news bulletin we will be including in future e-newsletters. To subscribe to our newsletter (and never miss an upcoming Regulatory Corner) click here.

In the January 19, 2011 Federal Register, DOT announced the elimination and replacement of the ORM-D marking for small quantities of hazardous materials shipments. The ORM-D marking has been mostly replaced with Limited Quantity (LQ), which is a diamond-shaped marking with black tips on the top and bottom. ORM-D may still be used, but only for ground shipments, until the deadline of December 31, 2020 (see January 7, 2013 extension notice). Additionally, to take advantage of ORM-D provisions your material also has to meet the DOT definition of a consumer commodity. This definition will also be removed, and is not a requirement to use the newer LQ designation.    

The usage of ORM-D/LQ has benefits which can include:

  • Shipping a DOT hazardous material without a shipping paper/hazardous materials bill of lading;
  • Shipping a DOT hazardous material without applying a Proper Shipping Name (PSN) to the package; and
  • Shipping a DOT hazardous material in a strong outer packaging rather than a DOT specification package.

How does ORM-D/LQ work?

A full discussion of these requirements is outside the scope of this post, but the key steps are as follows, using UN1759 Corrosive Solids, NOS as an example:

  • Determine what Proper Shipping Name (PSN) would normally apply to the material intended for shipment.
  • Review Column 8A of the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT) for your PSN to determine if a packaging exception is available. If no exception is identified in column 8A, then your hazardous material is mostly likely ineligible to be a Limited Quantity/ORM-D. Most exceptions are found in the 49 CFR 173.150s range of the DOT regulations. The PSN entry for UN1759, PGII and PGIII reference 49 CFR 173.154 in column 8A, however UN1759, PGI does not have an exception for LQ.
  • Read the exception and check that there is a Limited Quantity or ORM-D portion, such as 49 CFR 173.154(b) in our example above.
  • Ensure that your package conforms to the inner container limits for the applicable packing group, and that your gross package weight is within the limits (66 pounds gross weight maximum in most cases).
  • Apply the Limited Quantity diamond DOT mark to your package and ship.

As mentioned above, these are the key steps only, and many different situations may be applicable. For example, if you are shipping RCRA hazardous wastes or exceed a DOT Reportable Quantity (RQ) for a single package, in most cases you will only be able to take advantage of the no DOT specification package aspect of the Limited Quantity/ORM-D exception provisions. Please review the requirements for each particular situation and ship your hazardous materials with a focus on safety.

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