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Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

What is a T Rated drum?

October 17th, 2013 by Lisa Stojanovich

Filed under: Salvage Drum

and why is it important?

According to the Code of Federal Regulations 173.3 ( c) (7), “a salvage packaging marked ‘T’ in accordance with applicable provisions in the UN recommendations may be used [in overpacking].”

Put simply, a T-rated drum is a Salvage Drum that has passed the T test according to UN standards, allowing it to hold liquid or solid materials. The Salvage Drum is designed for use with damaged, leaking and non-complaint packagings. Since 16 gauge (1.5mm) steel thickness, 85 gallon drums used in overpacking are usually given the T test; though other size drums can earn a T rating, but it is less common.  The test, and subsequent rating, were created to give shippers the confidence that if a Salvage Drum was used to overpack a damaged drum containing liquid, the damaged drum would be securely contained.

What is most important to know about the T rating is that although it is not federal law in America, many European countries require it for drums being used for overpacking.  If an 85 gallon salvage drum goes to, or ends up, anywhere in Europe it must have passed the T test and earned the proper rating to pass through customs.  A Salvage Drum without the T rating may not be considered compliant European countries without the proper rating.

At Skolnik, we put our 85 gallon salvage drums through the T test once a year as per regulation requires, but we can T test a drum, if requested, throughout the year.  The test, which is done in house, looks very similar to the liquid rating test for a 55 gallon steel drum.  The 85 gallon Salvage Drum is filled with water and lifted to the appropriate height before being dropped and free falling, in a calculated position, to the ground.  If the drum shows no sign of leaking it has officially passed the T test and earns the UN T rating.  If the drum were to fail the liquid test,  it still has the ability to be used as a solids only Salvage Drum.

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