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Unapproved Gasoline Containers

As a result of Hurricane “Sandy”, we are seeing an influx of people from New York coming into Connecticut and buying large quantities of gasoline with the intention of bringing it back to New York.  Unfortunately, many of these people are not doing so in a safe manner.  Over this last weekend, I took calls from 3 different agencies dealing with this issue.  Orange intercepted an individual who purchased 35 Home Depot “Homer” 5 gallon pails, filled them with gasoline at a Valero Gas Station, and loaded them into a Nissan Quest Mini-Van.  Stratford intercepted a similar situation with individuals filling unapproved, plastic, 55 gallon containers, and Bethel intercepted an individual filling spring water bottles.  There were other similar cases around the state including the town of Bolton.  The calls continue to come in.  In these cases, the recommended course of action was the following:

Enforcement – Both the individual and the gas station attendant CAN be charged with 1 count for each container:       
Sec. 29-320. (Formerly Sec. 29-62). *(See end of section for amended version and effective date.) Regulations concerning flammable or combustible liquids. The Commissioner of Construction Services shall make and enforce, and may amend, reasonable regulations concerning the safe storage, use, transportation by any mode and transmission by pipeline of flammable or combustible liquids. In adopting such regulations, said commissioner may adopt by reference standards concerning flammable or combustible liquids as set forth by the National Fire Protection Association for the prevention of damage to property and injury to life, and protection from hazards incident to the storage, use, transportation by any mode and transmission by pipeline of such liquids. Such regulations shall not apply to electric, electric distribution and gas companies, as defined in section 16-1.

This is a misdemeanor summons and for reference you get here through the regs at 29-320-3a which adopts the 1996 NFPA 30 Sections 9-2, 9-2.1, and 9-4.4.  9-2 sends you 1996 NFPA 30, Section 4-2 and 4-2.1 which speaks of approved containers for gasoline.  (Attached.  Also attached are the applicable sections of title 49 of the CFR which explains "General requirements for packagings and packages" referenced in NFPA 30, Sec. 4-2.1(a).)

DEEP’s recommended resolution for dealing with the dispensed gasoline was to return it to the gas station’s holding tanks, if it could be done so safely and there was no contamination of the product.  If this was not possible, or the product became contaminated, a commercial contractor would need to be contacted to dispose of the product.

Please keep in mind that this does not address issues relative to commercial motor vehicles.  In the event that you encounter a situation where you are faced with a commercial motor vehicle and you need assistance, please contact the CT State Police - Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit or the CT State Police Traffic Services Unit, 24 hours a day through the Message Center at 800.842.0200 and we will assign a NASTI/HAZMAT certified truck inspector to take enforcement in accordance with Federal Motor Carrier Administration / “Out of Service” criteria.  In addition, the Troop/Police Department will have to consider if the totality of the circumstances justify additional criminal charges such as Reckless Endangerment, Risk of Injury to a Minor, etc.  

You should also touch base with the State’s Attorney in your respective GA’s, so that they are aware of the problem that we are facing and that they support the recommended enforcement action.

Any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sergeant Mark D. Grasso

Connecticut State Police - Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit

269 Maxim Road

Hartford, CT 06114


Additional links.

NFPA 30A 1996 edition

CFR 173.24