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Case Study: Colleges and Universities

Lab Packing

Veolia Partners with Carnegie Mellon University The Setting 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 Environmental Services, Technical Solutions has been handling their laboratory waste for over thirteen years.

Type of customer University Location Pittsburgh, PA Services Lab packing Solvent recycling Transportation Batteries recycling Reactive chemicals stabilization Remote openings Refrigerated chemicals disposal

“I am very impressed with Veolia’s level of service.”

-Jeffrey Harris Chemical Safety Specialist

Geographically Complex “We have five different EPA numbers because of the geography and layout of the campus,” notes Madelyn Miller, Director of Environmental Health & Safety for Carnegie Mellon University. “Our regular pick-ups are scheduled on an annual calendar with Veolia. The Mellon Institute is surrounded by public streets and is a large generator with a separate schedule. The rest of the laboratories have their own pick-ups, and the remote locations are scheduled just once per month. “Whatever our needs are, Veolia accommodates us. We have very large support requirements, and Veolia has always stepped up to the task. Any time there are new requirements, the transition is seamless.” A Wide Variety of Waste “At universities we encourage professors to be creative in their research, so they are,” says Miller. “We rarely see the same type of chemicals consistently. Our labs have lots of people working in them, many conducting their own, individual research.” “There are some patterns to our waste, which are pretty typical of a research and academic environment,” observes Jeffrey Harris, Chemical Safety Specialist at Carnegie Mellon University. “Veolia is very flexible, which is important. Some of our waste is generated from teaching in classrooms, so at the end of each semester, there’s always a big clean up in the teaching labs.” Change in Generator Status “We’ve changed our status from large quantity generator to small quantity generator,” points out Harris. “The difference is just a change in how we’re handling our waste.

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Then, we would pack up the waste and Veolia would pick up everything. Now, we are a small quantity generator, because we are managing our waste on a day by day basis. It took about two or three years from the start to achieve the small generator status. “To be reclassified, we first needed to get organized internally. We met with the people who were generating waste to talk about ways of reducing waste. It was especially important to address the acutely toxic waste. By not mixing the toxic waste with solvent, for example, we’re lowering the volume of toxic waste and increasing the useable solvent that can be recycled. “The larger volume generators, like the chemistry department, adopted new procedures. They did a better job of segregating waste by separating chlorinated and nonchlorinated solvents. Solvents with lower chlorine content are a better waste for recycling. Most lab waste is chlorinated solvent; only 30%–40% is nonchlorinated. By segregating them, we save on costs. If we know what sort of volume we’re generating, our waste shipments are more predictable. We can predict our waste more accurately, because we’re paying attention.” Increased Service Level “When I arrived at Carnegie Mellon University thirteen years ago, I inherited the contract for lab pack services,” begins Miller. “At that time the company’s name was different, but it was a predecessor of Veolia Environmental Services. On a specified day, a representative from each laboratory was instructed to bring all of the lab waste to a designated collection point. “On one of these collection days, there was an incident where a student was bringing bottles of waste on a cart. The cart went right, the bottles went left, and we came very close to a disaster. I decided it was time to increase the service level to have professionals picking up the waste at each laboratory. “We issued an RFP for an increase in the service level five years ago. It is important that we have proper

“Every week the laboratory wastes used to be taken to a central vault from the various satellite locations.

Turning Waste into a Resource


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Veolia Has Excellent Systems, Top Quality Employees pick-up internally with proper containment. Veolia was not the lowest cost proposal but had the fewest violations and the greatest flexibility. We felt they would do the best job.” Services Provided “Veolia probably conducts more chemical handling than disposal,” states Miller. “Their quarterly updates summarize the quantities and types of chemicals that are generated. Of course, detailed reports are available any time we need them. “Another service that Veolia performs for us is to dismantle chemical collections for retiring professors. When a professor decides to retire, there is a lifetime of research to wrap up, dispose of and decommission. Veolia will identify all the chemicals and dispose of the entire collection for us. Veolia can ship out the material more efficiently and cost effectively than we ever could.” “Veolia also opens unstable materials and stabilizes them,” adds Harris. “An old bottle may be dangerous to open and shock sensitive. They will come in wearing ballistic suits to open and stabilize these types of chemicals. There are six or seven highly reactive chemicals that we have here periodically, which Veolia has stabilized for us.” “Veolia’s service is quite good,” continues Miller. “They are very attentive to our needs. We often require their expertise for two areas in particular: remote opening of chemicals and refrigerated chemicals. They make these pick-ups in the wee hours of the morning, so that they can move the chemicals when there are few people present.”

Convert Waste to Product Electronics Recycling Emergency Response 24/7 Energy Recovery (Fuels Blending) Household Hazardous Waste Incineration Internet Services Laboratory Chemical Services Low-Level Radioactive Waste Medical Waste Services On-Site Services Reactive Chemicals Management Recycling and Recovery Remediation Secure Beverage Destruction/ Ethanol Production Specialty Services Stabilization and Landfill Training and Awareness Programs Transportation

Proprietary Systems “Veolia’s computer system is very proprietary, very detailed, very accurate and very reliable,” says Harris. “I understand it is extremely user friendly, too. With their system we could do all the work, except the actual shipment. Part of the reason that Veolia does such a good job is because of their computer system. It really is amazing. They start the manifesting process with their laptops right on-site. “Veolia’s online support for tracking waste and trending wastes and costs is very good. I would give it an 8 on a scale of 10. I sometimes need to work with the reports to get exactly what I want, but all the information is available.” Technical Expertise “I often bounce ideas off of the field chemists and sales reps at Veolia,” begins Harris. “Their technical knowledge is quite comprehensive. They understand the regulations and can always advise on compliance issues. I’ve been here nine years, and we’ve only received one notice of violation; it was for being over placarded. We had a load of batteries on a truck to recycle. A corrosive placard is required on the truck when the acid volume is greater than 2,000 pounds. We had a placard on the truck, because there were 2,000 pounds of batteries, but there weren’t 2,000 pounds of acid. Veolia argued the mistake when we received the notice of violation, and it wasn’t converted into a violation. “Any time we have a problem involving our waste, we ask Veolia to help. We have a close partnership and work together to manage our waste. In the past nine years while I’ve been here, we’ve had three different field supervisors, and all three have been top quality. They have all advanced within Veolia. Everyone is always very knowledgeable, well trained, and well mannered. Veolia has excellent hiring practices.”

“Whatever our needs are, Veolia accommodates us. We have very large support requirements, and Veolia has always stepped up to the task. Any time there are new requirements, the transition is seamless.”

Veolia ES Technical Solutions 700 E. Butterfield Road, Suite 201 Lombard, IL 60148 Phone: 888-262-4910 Fax: 630-627-2983 www.veoliaes.com We deliver preferred solutions that protect SM people and improve the environment.

-Madelyn Miller Director of Environmental Health and Safety

Turning Waste into a Resource

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Case Study: Veolia Partners with Carnegie Mellon University  

Case study to introduce services available to universities from Veolia Environmental Services, Technical Solutions

Case Study: Veolia Partners with Carnegie Mellon University  

Case study to introduce services available to universities from Veolia Environmental Services, Technical Solutions