While colleges don't always consider themselves big generators of hazardous material, they do typically generate this kind of waste. Whether it's from chemicals associated with the aquatic center or fertilizer from the grounds keepers, colleges have waste that needs to be specially dealt with.

Interviewing various hazardous waste management companies can be a bit daunting, though. When the stakes are high, you certainly don't want to end up selecting the wrong company. That's why we've put together this helpful list of questions you should ask during any interview with prospective waste management companies.

Colleges, Make Sure to Ask Hazardous Waste Removal Companies These Questions

  1. Do you have insurance, permits, and proper training?

Before you commit to any given hazardous waste disposal company, the very first thing you need to establish is if it's a reputable, legal company. Transporting hazardous waste requires special permitting, and because you assume cradle to grave liability when you generate hazardous materials, you need to make sure that everyone you work with is aboveboard. Otherwise, liability (financial and otherwise) could fall back on you.

The company should also have adequate insurance and trained employees, including their drivers.

  1. Are you the end facility for the waste? If not, can you tell me about the receiving facility?

It's quite common for a waste management company to not actually run the facility where the waste is treated. That shouldn't throw up any red flags. What would be troubling is if the waste management company is vague about what treatment facility they use or cannot provide specifics about that company.

Again, you're ultimately responsible for what happens to your waste—all the way until treatment and ultimate disposal—so the more you know about who is handling your waste at every stage, the better.

  1. Will your employees be coming onsite? Will they be doing the actual packing of the hazardous materials in preparation for transport?

Any employee of the waste management company who actually comes onto your campus to preform waste management services—such as lab packs, for example—must have proper and current OSHA trainings. (Any such employee performing a lab pack must also have the proper credentials and experience to perform this identification, packing, and preparation for shipment.)

  1. Can you provide three references to confirm the quality of your work within the waste management industry?

Whenever seeking out professional services, it's always good to get firsthand references that can speak to the professionalism and expertise of that company. Three is a reasonable amount to request.

Make sure the references confirm the company's ability to do the exact work you need done. After all, performing a lab pack and knowing how to properly dispose of regulated medical waste are two very different things. Hazardous waste management is a potentially dangerous job. A proven track record of success is important to establish.

  1. Do you have the proper equipment to perform university waste management tasks?

Universities can be logistically difficult to navigate, find parking, and so on. If the company you're considering only has forty-eight-foot eighteen-wheelers, this could be a problem for easily and safely getting around campus. Opt for companies with the flexibility and diversity of equipment to accommodate your needs.

  1. Can you talk me through what paperwork you'll provide with every shipment?

Paperwork is your way to prove you're doing everything by the book, should you have to undergo a hazardous waste audit. Make sure the company you're considering can intelligently and confidently walk you through every piece of paperwork they'll provide, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Hazardous waste labels.
  • Shipping manifest.
  • Bill of lading.

At the state and federal level, all paperwork should be accurate and complete.

Colleges and universities have additional liability because of all the students on campus. So, take your time when selecting a university waste management company. Get three quotes if you're unsure where the average price point falls, and then review pricing, qualifications, history, and reputation. This will help ensure you get a cost-effective solution that still provides quality services.

For more information about how to go about selecting the right company to deal with your university's hazardous waste management plan, please feel free to reach out to a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company.