How to Order UN/DOT Drums

Ordering Reconditioned Drums

Determining Markings

To determine the minimum drum marking for the product you are shipping you must, at a minimum, know the following information about the hazardous material:

First, determine the Packing Group of the material. Hazardous materials are categorized in Packing Groups ranging from I – III, with I being the most hazardous. For solids, drums are authorized to carry a specific gross mass in kilograms (Kg), so you must know the mass (i.e., the weight of the material) you will be shipping. To ship liquids you must know the vapor pressure at either 50 or 55 degrees Celsius and the specific gravity.

The worksheet below may assist you in determining the marking you require.

  • kg
  • kilopascals
  • kilopascals
  • UN Markings

    Shippers of hazardous materials that use non-bulk or intermediate bulk packaging are required to use UN marked packaging. Reconditioners use a durable mark (e.g., stenciling) to indicate the UN standard the drum meets. The full durable mark (minus thickness) from the reconditioner is generally found on the side of a drum. If your non-bulk container has been or "remanufactured" (e.g., converted from a closed head to an open head drum), the remanufacturer permanently marks (e.g., embosses) the side of the drum. If a tight head drum has been remanufactured, a UN durable mark may be placed on the side.

    Ordering New Steel Drums

    Minimum thickness requirements DOT prescribes specific minimum thicknesses for steel drums that are reused for transporting hazardous materials. Steel 55-gallon drums must be at least 0.92 millimeters thick throughout, or have a shell and head thickness of 0.82 mm and 1.11 mm, respectively. Steel drums that do not meet these minimum thickness requirements may not be reused to transport DOT regulated materials. To promote reuse and prevent empty drum disposition problems, RIPA recommends that users order 55-gallon steel drums, which meet or exceed the DOT minimum thickness requirements. If you order the old 20/18 style drum, to ensure your containers meet the minimum thickness requirements, they must be marked "1.2/0.9/1.2". Containers that are marked in other ways may not meet the DOT minimum thickness requirements. To maximize the value of your drum see the table below that outlines drum desirability.

    Drum Desirability

    Item Usually Preferred Usually Less Preferred Manufacturing Performance Specifications UN-marked and tested to Packing Group I or II UN-marked to Packing Group III and non-UN Thickness Nominal 1.0 mm or 1.2/0.9/1.2 mm Less than nominal 1.0 mm or 1.2/0.9/1.2 mm Lining Unlined Lined
    • Fittings Standard 2" x ¾" in Top Head Non Standard
    • Fittings; Side
    • Fittings
  • General Description

  • Minimum Steel Thickness

  • mm
  • mm
  • mm
  • RIPA Recommendation

    The steel thickness of your drum should meet or exceed the minimum thickness requirements authorized by the U.S. DOT. To ensure your drums meet these requirements, the drum should be at least 0.92 mm throughout, or have 1.11 mm heads and 0.82 mm body. Drum which do not meet these minimums may not be reused for hazardous materials transportation after reconditioning. (49 CFR 173.28)
  • Nominal drum marks that correspond to the DOT minimum thickness requirements are 1.0, or 1.2/0.9/1.2.
  • Fittings, Plugs, Flanges

  • RIPA Recommendation

    Plugs, flanges and other closure components should, when feasible, comply with ANSI specifications. Plugs on the drum body, agitators, etc. reduce the reuse value of an empty drum and, therefore, should only be ordered when necessary.
  • Lining Paint

  • RIPA Recommendation

    Drum linings can be difficult to remove during the reconditioning process, adding processing costs to an empty drum. Unless required to ensure product integrity, use of linings should be avoided.