This directive from the Federal Railroad Administration (one of many modal-specific administrations within the USDOT) requires the owners of DOT Specification 111 railroad tank cars to replace unapproved valves currently in use in ~6,000 of such transport vehicles. The unapproved valves that are the subject of this directive are UNNR ball valves manufactured and sold by McKenzie Valve & Machining LLC. During the investigation of several railroad tank cars found to be leaking Bakken Crude Oil it was determined that the valves (a 3″ valve is the real problem but the 1″ and 2″ versions must be replaced as well) were the source of the leak and were not approved for use on railroad tank cars.
The directive requires the owners of the tank cars to replace the unapproved valves on the following schedule:
- 3″ ball valves must be removed from railroad tank cars within 60 days of the directive date.
- 1″ & 2″ ball valves must be removed within 90 days of the directive date.
- After removal and replacement of the unapproved valves on each affected tank car they may be placed back into service transporting hazardous materials.
McKenzie may obtain approval for the continued use of its 1″ & 2″ ball valves in railroad tank cars transporting HazMat if it is able to demonstrate the safety of those valves and obtain approval from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Tank Car Committee.