Hopper car and hopper truck cleaning, loading, storage and unloading present special resin handling challenges.

Cleaning Empty Hopper Cars and Trucks

  • Use air lance to make total pellet removal easier.
  • Ensure hopper car and truck cleaning areas have wastewater collection and pellet filtration systems installed.
  • Recover all pellets from wash water.
  • Recycle, resell or dispose of collected pellets properly.

Top Loading Hopper Car and Trucks

  • Operate the conveying system properly to avoid clogging and necessitating the opening of lines.
  • If a line must be opened to clear blockage, anticipate the potential for pellet loss and always place a catch pan or tarp under the connection.
  • Remove any spilled pellets from the top of the car/truck before leaving the containment area – residual pellets will fall to the ground as cars are moved outside the plant.

Sealing Loading Cars/Trucks

  • Close all outlet caps properly before cars/trucks are moved (and request customers to do the same when returning empties).
  • Apply seals on all outlet caps (1/8″ stranded steel cable or its equivalent).
  • Design or modify loading systems so that transfer lines can be completely emptied, with any residual resin being discharged into a container after loading is completed.

Storing at Intermediate Sites

  • Consider exposure to vandalism when selecting sites.
  • Establish security procedures as necessary (e.g. fencing and lighting).
  • Advise companies to report any incidents (e.g. shippers, railroads, trucking companies and processors).

Unloading Hopper Cars and Trucks
Valve Opening

  • Contain any possible spill during hook-up by placing a catch pan under the unloading valve before opening.
  • Purge unloading tubes within containment area.
  • Keep area swept up or vacuumed.
  • Consider installing connecting hoses equipped with valves that will close automatically when the connection is broken. Clogged hoses, material bridging in outlets, etc., can require unloading lines to be opened, which presents the risk of spillage.
  • Anticipate the potential for pellet loss before opening the line.
  • Place pellet disposal cans at rail yards for loading and unloading.
  • Have a catch pan or tarp ready to catch pellets.
  • Immediately clean up and properly dispose of any spilled pellets.
  • Surges in unloading lines can cause pellets to be vented into the environment. To prevent this, install a bag house, filter bag assembly or other control device at the unloading system vent.

Completing Unloading

  • Ensure that the car/truck is thoroughly unloaded.
  • Cycle the outlet valve while air is flowing.
  • Visually confirm that each compartment is empty.
  • Purge the line before disconnecting.

Sealing Valves

  • Close all valves.
  • Secure outlet caps and top hatches.


  • Conduct sampling only in areas protected by containment equipment.
  • Review procedures for taking samples to eliminate any possible spillage.
  • Use wide-mouth containers or poly-bags for samples.
  • Use a funnel collection system to effectively channel pellets into containers.
  • Sampling from unloading tubes:
    • Place a catch pan or heavy duty tarp under outlet before opening to catch any spills. (Several commercial devices have been developed specifically for preventing spills during sampling.)
  • Sampling from top hatches:
    • Exercise extra caution to avoid spillage, which can also pose a slipping hazard.
    • Close hatches and apply cable seals to prevent access by vandals.

Operation Clean Sweep Program Manual

Procedures | Pellet Transport and PackagingSpills and PackagingOther Transport Vehicle ConcernsMarine TransportWaste Recycling and Disposal | Plastic Dust to Powder


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Employees basically want to do the right thing and making it easy for them to accomplish the goals ensures the success of the program.