Longtime independent trash hauler acquired by California firm

Section: Business,  Page: D1

Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2011

CLIFTON PARK -- The company responsible for hauling away the garbage produced by nearly 200,000 Capital Region homes and businesses has been purchased by a California firm without apparent ties to the area.

Hudson Valley Waste Holding Inc., parent company to County Waste, is now owned by Waste Connections Inc., headquartered near Sacramento. Financial terms of the surprise deal, announced Monday, were not disclosed.

County Waste was founded in 1989 by Scott Earl, who had graduated from Watervliet High School just nine years earlier. The company is a homegrown success story -- employing about 400 workers and earning annual revenue of about $120 million.

And in an industry in which bigger fish routinely gobble up successful regional companies, County Waste had remained fiercely independent.

Until now.

Ronald Mittelstaedt, chief executive of Waste Connections, which operates in 29 states, in a statement noted County Waste's market strength and readiness for additional growth.

"County Waste has copied our playbook," Mittelstaedt said.

Earl, who couldn't be reached for comment Monday, started small but built his company into the area's largest private hauler, with a footprint that stretched from the shores of Lake George to Orange County.

Along the way, he bought out a number of competing firms, including Murphy's Disposal in Colonie and Schenectady's Sierra Processing and Marketable Materials.

County's Waste's star dimmed a bit in 2008, when the firm was accused of cheating Colonie taxpayers by underplaying how much waste it was depositing at the town landfill.

The company ultimately settled the case, agreeing to pay nearly $1 million to the town and state.

County Waste has 180,000 residential customers and 11,000 commercial clients.

Reach Chris Churchill at 454-5442 or