Veolia Wins Carnegie Mellon University Contract Extension

The challenge

Carnegie Mellon University houses 350 laboratories throughout the institution's seven schools and colleges.  Each one may generate hazardous waste through research and classroom activities.  Veolia North America, Technical Solutions has been handling their laboratory waste for nearly twenty years.  The university recently renewed their contract with Veolia for another four years.

Project challenges are:

  • "We have an internal requirement to rebid with our vendors every four years, even if we love them," says Jeffrey Harris, chemical safety specialist.  "Each time we rebid, Veolia comes back, and they win the contract, partly because of pricing but mostly because of their service."

  • "One thing that is really nice about Veolia is that they have the same personnel handling our waste.  It is a requirement in the contract, and we typically have the same crew.  We have 75 to 80 buildings that may need waste pickups, and it is important that they know where to go to be able to complete their run efficiently.  They do have turnover, but if they do, Veolia always has someone very competent.  I do not have time to tell these people where to go each time they come out; that is one reason we stick with Veolia.  They are committed to knowing our business and to understanding where we need support."

Veolia’s solution

"Anyone at the university with waste submits an online request to tell me and Veolia that they have waste at their location and what kind of waste it is.  Every two weeks, Veolia goes around to all the locations, classrooms, buildings and labs, and picks up the waste that has been certified for disposal.  They put all the waste into our central accumulation area.  Once a month they go into the central accumulation area to consolidate the waste into categories for various types of disposal.  Poisonous chemicals are packed up for incineration.  Acids are packed up for wastewater neutralization.  Solvents are poured into a drum for fuel blending processing."
"Properly identifying the waste for treatment is crucial to keeping your cost down and your compliance up.  It is very efficient that the Veolia technicians can take out a computer and printer, and in very short order they have accurately identified my waste.  Those wastes are going to the best treatment facility available for the best process at the best rate.  Their field system is probably one of the best I have seen.  They are operating on 20 plus years of data, so their database is very impressive."
"Their online system for tracking my waste is good.  The online service system that I access to view reports, run reports and queries is good.  What is great is that I can call a service rep and have them run custom reports."
"When I ask for a special report from technical support they get it back to me quickly.  They don't just give me data back, they give me a report that I do not have to tweak.  I get the report, and I give it to my boss."
"What is nice is that there is a standing order for a report every quarter.  They send me the quarterly reports, then back them up with a meeting every six months.  Their sales rep comes in and goes over the numbers - what we're on budget for, plus anything that is going to be over budget and what we need to do to account for it.  They don't just have good field reps, they have great sales reps.  The one I have had experience with is outstanding."

Benefits to our client


  • "We were demolishing a building that was over 100 years old and discovered an underground storage tank that had been leaking, and we needed help with remediation services.  Veolia was extremely helpful not just with remediating but also in helping us control the cost of removing tons of contaminated soil.  The whole $5 million project was on hold, because we had discovered this underground storage tank. In very short order we were back on schedule, the soil was remediated, and everything was treated properly according to regulatory requirements.  That was huge!  Because of Veolia's size and resources, they were able to provide roll-offs for daily pickups.  We were digging out a couple of tons a day.  It is the best example of the creative solutions that they give us just being there at critical points like that for us."

  • "We also replaced a transformer with an upgraded transformer, and they assisted us the removal and disposal of the oil and the decontamination of the old storage area, so the new transformer can be placed in the same spot."

  • "Every time I think we have handled the most unusual job, there is a new one.  They just pop up and are hazardous materials related.  We always call Veolia for their help.  If my sales rep or my field support doesn't have the answer, then their corporate office does, and that is why we like them."