SAIC wins $46.8 million contract to dispose of millions of pounds of hazardous materials abandoned by air travelers

Thu, 2011-12-22 02:37 PM By: Jacob Goodwin

TSA has awarded a $46.8 million contract to SAIC, of McLean, VA, to collect, store, package, transport and dispose of approximately 1.5 million pounds annually of hazardous materials -- such as fireworks, ammunition, flammable gas torches, insect spray, cooking fuel and medical needles, among others -- which air travelers voluntarily abandon at U.S. airport security checkpoints.

Prior to the enactment of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act in 2001, the air carriers themselves were responsible for screening passengers and the collection and disposal of all prohibited items, including hazardous materials. However, with the passage of that law, TSA has become responsible for passenger and cargo screening, and is “legally liable for the disposition of abandoned or forfeited personal property,” explains the solicitation for which SAIC won its recent contract.

SAIC will collect hazardous materials at all TSA operations and facilities at all U.S. airports, as well as the agency’s Freedom Center, in Herndon, VA, and the Transportation Security Administration Systems Integration Facility, at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

“In 2006, TSA issued the National Hazardous Materials Management and Disposal Contract to assist with the management, disposition and disposal of the prohibited hazardous material items…,” explained the TSA solicitation. “Liquids, Gels and Aerosols (LGA) were added to the prohibited list in August 2006 while lighters were removed from the prohibited list in August 2007.”

Under its new contract, SAIC will be required to conduct “performance surveys” -- to gather information about waste management activities -- at a minimum of two airports each week. In addition, SAIC will perform up to six “compliance assistance visits” -- to provide guidance and correct deficiencies -- to as many as six federalized airports, as selected by the TSA Office of Occupational Safety, Health, and Environment (OSHE).

SAIC will be expected to supply each year approximately 400 new containers, ranging in size from five to 55 gallons, which will be made either of steel or high density polyethylene. The company’s employees will use these containers to segregate the accumulated hazardous materials into at least eight different classes: explosives, flammable gases, non-flammable and toxic gases, flammable and combustible liquids, flammable solids, toxic and infectious substances, corrosives and other unidentified or suspect hazardous materials.

To help it dispose of some of these explosive hazardous materials, SAIC will attempt to identify “an acceptable public body that will accept the ammunition,” such as police or sheriff’s departments or the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. The company will also participate in the “mail back” programs that exist at approximately 168 airports, under which medical sharps and needles can be mailed to disposal facilities.

SAIC, which was awarded a contract valued at $46,806,079 on December 19, 2011, declined an opportunity to be interviewed by Government Security News on its plans to execute this contract.
Further information from TSA is available from Evelyn Tyndell, a contract specialist, at