Wheelabrator loses $615m Florida deal

The competition trashed Wheelabrator Technologies in its bid for the waste-to-energy incinerator contract for Pinellas County, Florida.

Pinellas County, which is home to the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, accepted a $615 million bid from Veolia ES of Lombard, Ill., ending its nearly 25-year relationship with Hampton, N.H.-based Wheelabrator.

Covanta Energy, a waste management company based in Fairfield, N.J., was the third bidder for the contract.

“As far as we understand it, the review committee evaluated us three pretty equally on other subjective factors,” Frank Ferraro, vice president of public policy for Wheelabrator, told NHBR Daily. “But we knew going into the competitive bid process that dollars would be the dominating factor.”

According to local reports, Veolia, which also operates plants in Miami and Panama City in Florida, offered to burn waste at $17.40 a ton. Wheelabrator, which has four other facilities in Florida, proposed a bid of $19.74 a ton.

“We own our facilities in New Hampshire. In Florida, we are just the operators,” said Ferraro.

Ferraro would not speculate on what the impact would be to Wheelabrator in losing the contract, but he added, “We’re doing fine. We’re a wholly owned subsidiary of Waste Management. We have more opportunities on the horizon.”

He said Wheelabrator was currently evaluating proposals from other municipalities as well as other proposals on plant construction.

“But certainly, we would have loved to continue our relationship with Pinellas,” Ferraro added.

Veolia ES, an international water and waste management subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, a French company, operates 80 waste-to-energy plants around the world, including plants in New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the Northeast.

Wheelabrator operates 17 waste-to-energy facilities throughout the Northeast, including one in Concord, N.H., and another in Claremont, N.H. — CINDY KIBBE

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