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Site operations began in 1970 when the County of San Luis Obispo, as the original operator, leased the Johnson Ranch and contracted site operations at the landfill to a private company. From 1975 to May 1992, landfill operations were assumed by the property owners, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Johnson. Sanifill, a private solid waste corporation operated the landfill from May 1992 through September 1993. Sanifill elected to terminate the lease agreement, and site operations reverted to the Johnsons, as property owners, in September 1993. The Johnsons’ established Chicago Grade Landfill, Inc., a California corporation, in 1993 to provide for operation of the landfill. Michael Hoover was hired as the general manager of the landfill in 1993. On May 14, 1999, Michael Hoover took over ownership of the operating entity from the Johnsons by purchasing all shares of Chicago Grade Landfill, Inc. stock. Mr. Hoover also purchased the 188-acre parcel underlying the landfill and the landfill expansion area. Mr. Hoover, a Registered Geologist and State Certified Hydro-geologist, is the president of Chicago Grade Landfill, Inc. and remains the general manager overseeing the day-to-day operations.

Mr. and Mrs. Craig Palonen and Mr. William Underwood purchased an interest in the landfill in 1999 by purchasing 49% of Chicago Grade Landfill’s stock and a 49% interest in the landfill parcel. Mr. Hoover, Mr. Underwood and the Palonens are the only shareholders of Chicago Grade Landfill, Inc., a Subchapter “S” corporation. As shareholders, the new owners have made over one million dollars of equipment purchases and capital improvements at the landfill since 1999, including landfill liners, a gas extraction system, a shop/office, and additions to the monitoring and drainage systems.

Growth in the waste stream at this facility was modest from 1970 to 1993 expanding at the rate of about 1.5% annually (see Waste Tonnage Graph). Since 1993, the waste stream has nearly doubled, an increase of approximately 13% per year. Under the current ownership, the Chicago Grade Landfill has become the largest waste tire recycler in Central California; obtained a permit for a new transfer station (Santa Maria Transfer, Inc.); brought the landfill into compliance with all local, state and federal regulations; obtained a new solid waste facility permit; obtained certification by the Integrated Waste Management Board for the closure trust fund and operating liabilities; and signed a five-year waste disposal contract with a local municipality.

Recently, Chicago Grade Landfill has improved its industry-leading recycling facility. In addition to the largest tire recycling facility on the Central Coast of California, CGL now offers several program enhancements that will extend the operating life of the landfill and provide a new level of convenience for customers. The flagship of the new program is our new Demolition and Construction Waste facility that features an impressive 175-ton per day capacity.

CGL is committed to providing residents and businesses the finest, most-accessible recycling facilities that will not only help to meet state recycling requirements, but also make California a better, more beautiful place.