Strategic Plan and History

Strategic Plan

The Water Environment Association of Utah is dedicated to the professional growth of its members and the preservation and enhancement of the water environment.


  1. Provide opportunities for the interaction and professional growth of Association members.

  2. Build an active membership.

  3. Promote public understanding of the value of water quality and water resources.

  4. Provide educational information for environmental policy formation.

  5. Build alliances and exchange information with individuals and organizations with related interests.

  6. Promote diversity in the types of water quality issues addressed.

  7. Provide the resources necessary to realize the Vision, Strategies and Objectives.

Revisions recommended by the Long Range Planning Committee / January 29, 2004

History of the Utah Water Pollution Control Association

The First Twenty Years 1957 - 1977

By Howard M. Hurst

The Utah Water Pollution Control Association came into being on April 12, 1957, under the name of the UTAH SEWAGE AND INDUSTRIAL WASTES ASSOCIATION.  This was accomplished by adoption of a Constitution and Bylaws and election of the following slate of officers:

  • President - William T. South, Manager, Salt Lake City Suburban Sanitary District #1

  • Vice President - Blaine Liston, Superintendent, Provo City Sewage Treatment Plant

  • Secretary/Treasurer - Howard M. Hurst, Sanitary Engineer, Waterworks Equipment Company

  • Lynn M. Thatcher, Utah State Sanitary Engineer was subsequently elected during the meeting of May 17, 1957, as Federation Director to represent the Utah

  • Association on the Board of Control of the Federation of Sewage and Industrial Wastes Associations.

At its next annual meeting in Boston Massachusetts the Federation accepted Utah's Constitution and Bylaws on October 6, 1957, and Thatcher was seated on the Federation Board of Control October 10, 1957.

Because of their historical import, a number of documents are reproduced in the Appendix. These include minutes of the meeting of December 6, 1956, when the possibility of forming a Utah association was explored, a copy of the invitation to the organizing meeting and minutes of the organizing meeting held April 12, 1957.

Early Events

In any endeavor there must first be development of an interest and need. The Utah Water Pollution Control Association was no exception, for in prior years theinterest and the need for affiliation with such an organization were centered in a limited few within the state. These were mainly health officials consulting engineers and equipment suppliers, some of whom had already joined the Federation by affiliation with either the California or the Rocky Mountain Member Associations.

In the late 1920's and early 30's, the first sanitary engineers were made available to the State Board of Health through grants from the Kellogg Foundation. The first Utah State Sanitary Engineer was Arthur S. Bedell, honored by the Federation in setting up a prestigious award bearing his name. He in turn was followed by W. H. Larkin and then Leonard H. Male. Bedell and Larkin completed their careers with the New York State Department of Health, and Male with the United States Public Health Service. C. O. Pickel then served briefly until he accepted employment with the Utah office of the Federal Public Works Administration. Lynn M. Thatcher was then employed as State Sanitary Engineer in August of 1933.

Sewage collection systems were constructed in Salt Lake City and Ogden prior to the turn of the century. Others followed in the early 19OO's but it was the stimulus and assistance provided by "make-work" projects of the 1930's under the federally funded Public Work Administration (PWA) and Work Progress Administration (WPA) which afforded sewer systems for many more Utah communities. Unfortunately, treatment facilities were nonexistent or ineffective in nature.

Preparations for World War II brought new military installations to Utah and with them came improved methods of sewage treatment. The first modern plant, "Clarigester", followed by a "Biofilter" and secondary clarifier, was installed at Hill Field in 1940. This was followed by modern secondary plants at Ogden Arsenal, Kearns Overseas Replacement Center and Bushnell General Hospital in Brigham City. War-related industries brought modern sewage treatment also to Geneva Steel, Dragerton (now East Carbon City) and Horse Canyon Mine (Carbon County)

Utah thus had its introduction to modern sewage treatment methods. Next was the task of developing local interest and awareness of the need for adequate treatment of waste being discharged from existing sewer systems, and the need to include treatment in all plans for new systems.

While the subject of adequate waste disposal had been promoted and discussed from time to time in various meetings, it received its greatest stimulus in the mid-1940's when the Utah Municipal League, at the urging of Tom McCoy, its Executive Director, established a "Water Works and Sanitation Conference" as an ongoing League function. The "Conference", chaired by Lynn M. Thatcher, served as a means of keeping the problems of adequate waste disposal before elected officials and the public for some 30 years to follow.

Also in 1950 the University of Utah held its first "Municipal Water and Sewage Works School", directed by Professor Grant K. Borg. This was an annual University function for the next 22 years, furthering the spread of information regarding proper waste disposal methods.

The first municipally-owned secondary treatment work in Utah was constructed by Nephi City in 1949. This pattern was to be followed in the 1950's by other public entities, both in municipalities and through formation of sewer districts. These were stimulated in part by enactment of the Utah Water Pollution Control Act in 1953, and by federal grants-in-aid for construction of treatment works which were administrated by the United States Public Health Service beginning in 1956.

The foregoing events served well to establish the awareness and the interest in proper waste disposal, both of which were necessary to involve growing numbers of public officials, engineers, plant operators, equipment suppliers and the public in general. The time appeared right to then explore possibilities of forming a Utah Association and to affiliate with the Federation. Encouraged by a favorable sample of opinion among those in the sewerage field, William T. South, in December 1956, served as the catalyst to bring interested parties together in a series of three meetings including a presentation at the Municipal Water and Sewage Works

School at the University of Utah in February 1957. Those meetings culminated in the formation of the Utah Sewage and Industrial Wastes Association.

A listing of Charter Members of the Association is presented in the Appendix. Several Utah people were already affiliated with the Federation holding membership in neighboring member Associations of the Federation. Since they were soon to become members of the Utah Association it seems proper they also should be considered among the Charter Members.

A complete roster of Association officers is also included in the Appendix. Of interest is the shortened term of office in 1971. It was in this year, as will be mentioned later, that the Association chose to cast its lot in joint annual meetings with the local Intermountain Section of the American Water Works Association, whose annual meetings were held in the fall of the year. Thus, officers were elected at the usual annual meeting of the Association in February and a new slate was later elected during the fall meeting in September of the same year.

Constitution and Bylaws

The Constitution and Bylaws initially adopted by the Utah Sewage and Industrial Wastes Association on April 12, 1957, were of a form recommended by the Federation. The document has since undergone amendment periodically, reflecting the changing needs of the Association.

On March 11, 1960, the Constitution and Bylaws were first officially amended following a unanimous mail ballot of the membership. Amendments included: 1) a change in the name to the "Utah Water Pollution Control Association" to properly align with a recent change in name of the Water Pollution Control Federation; 2) establishment of member classifications for "Affiliate" and "Dual" members; and 3) revision to the dues structure. The name change for the Federation became effective January 1 1960, a move considered essential to more clearly indicate the broadened scope of activities of both the parent organization and its member Associations. Establishment of "Affiliate" and "Dual" member classifications was considered essential to growth of the Utah Association as evidenced by the fact that three years prior to this amendment, in a meeting held May 17, 1957, the Association adopted a motion to set up the "Affiliate" status. At that time, however, "Affiliate" members were not accepted by the Federation and it was not until January of 1958 that Member Associations were in fact authorized to establish such a membership classification. As defined, "Affiliate Members": 1) would pay reduced dues; 2) must be sponsored by an "Active" member; 3) would be entitled to one vote; and 4) otherwise have privileges of an "Active" member, except: a) the right to hold office in the Association; and b) they would not receive a subscription to the Federation Journal. "Dual" members were those holding an "Active" membership in another member Association, but who also wished to participate in affairs of the Utah Association.

Again, on February 8, 1965, an amendment was adopted providing for the election of three Association Directors who would sit on the Association's Executive Board. This would allow for increased official involvement of the membership and at the same time provide assistance with an ever-increasing burden of Association affairs. A complete listing of association Directors is in the Appendix.

The Constitution and Bylaws were again amended, rather extensively, on December 16, 1969. These amendments provided for: 1) An office of President-Elect; 2) ballots by mail; 3) "Dual," "Student," and "Life" membership classifications; 4) committee criteria relating to the Bedell and Hatfield awards; 5) criteria relating to UWPCA participation on a joint committee for training of operators; 6) revision of dues; and 7) definition of certain standing committees.

Setting up an office of President-Elect was deemed appropriate in order to allow advance preparation for subsequent presidential duties. Institution of ballots by mail for election of officers became a must to assure all members, particularly those in outlying areas, an opportunity to participate in this vital Association function. With the growth experienced by the Association, the remaining amendments were considered necessary for further definition of certain Association activities.


Although membership records do not appear sufficiently clear to record Association growth by year, it seems appropriate to at least relate growth from initial years with that in 1975, 1976, and 1977, as follows:

























































*As of December 31.

In explanation, during 1957, the initial year of the Association, several Utah residents were already affiliated with the Federation through other member Associations and, therefore, were not included in the total. The 1958 and 1959 figures reflect the transfer of these memberships which were acquired.

Totals for 1975, 1976, and 1977 indicate the Association has enjoyed a substantial and healthy growth over the years.


Since its inception, the Utah Water Pollution Control Association has actively participated in meetings furthering the cause of proper waste disposal, utilizing every opportunity to improve the state of the art and the lot of those associated in this endeavor.

An invitation to become one of the sponsors of the Utah Municipal League's Water Works and Sanitation Conference was readily accepted in September of 1958.

The first annual meeting of the Association (following its organizational meeting of April 12, 1957) was held February 10, 1958, at the University of Utah in conjunction with the "Municipal Water and Wastewater Works School" conducted by Professor Grant K. Borg. The Association participated as a sponsor of the "School" and held its annual meetings concurrent therewith through February of 1971. For quite a number of years following its formation, the Association held bimonthly member meetings, with programs of timely topics and plant tours.

In discussions with officers of the Intermountain Section of AWWA, the Association elected to join that organization for combined annual meetings. A major incentive was that many were members of both organizations, and the projection of increased attendance at a single meeting seemingly would permit greater opportunity for program enhancement. The first joint meeting was held in Provo in September of 1971. This created a mild problem for UWPCA since new officers had just been elected in February, now to be replaced after a rather short tenure. This was accepted, however, as part of the price for anticipated benefits of the joint venture. The second joint meeting was held in Burley, Idaho, in September of 1972, and the third at Snowbird (Little Cottonwood Canyon), in September of 1973.

Problems in holding these joint meetings soon surfaced for UWPCA. First, a boundary difference, since the Intermountain Section also embraced southern Idaho and eastern Nevada. Second, and most important, was the fact that fall meetings conflicted with the annual Federation meetings which were scheduled in early October of each year. The Association was thus faced with insufficient time to complete necessary business prior to required Federation action. A decision was then made that the Association would hold annual meetings on its own in April of each year, beginning with 1974.


Early wastewater training efforts were those conducted by the Water Works and Sanitation Conference, beginning in the mid 1940's, chaired initially by Lynn M. Thatcher, and then starting in 1950, by the Municipal Water and Wastewater Works School, under direction of Professor Grant K. Borg. Program material covered the broad spectrum of subjects for all having an interest in the field of waste collection and disposal, in addition, of course, to water works subjects.

Following formation of the Association, inservice training was carried out at Salt Lake City Suburban Sanitary District #l by Emil Meyer; at Central Weber Sewer Improvement District by Marland L. (Mark) Davidson; at Weber State College by Sheldon P. Hayes and Herschel C. Hester III; and during the spring of both 1959 and 1964, short courses for wastewater plant operators (covering a period of eight weeks ) were conducted by UWPCA at the University of Utah. Also, in January 1964, Utah State University (USU) initiated an annual Management Institute for Water and Wastewater Districts and Municipalities, in which UWPCA served as one of the co-sponsors. On August 10-11, 1967, USU conducted "A Symposium on Pollution Control of Industrial Wastewaters", again with UWPCA serving as one of the co-sponsors.

A "Utah Water and Wastewater Training Program", with UWPCA as one of four co-sponsors, was conducted November 1 to December 15, 1967, consisting of ten 3-hour sessions. The course was repeated November 1 to December 20, 1968, with eight 3-hour sessions, but was later discontinued in favor of an operator training program subsequently to be jointly sponsored by UWPCA and the Intermountain Section of AWWA.

At the 1969 Water Works and Sanitation Conference, the Utah Water Pollution Control Association and the Intermountain Section of AWWA were urged to accelerate efforts relating to training for operators. Funds were offered at the conference for the initiation of such a program. Representatives of the two associations met on May 13, 1969 and set up a Utah Water and Wastewater Joint Training Committee, consisting of seven members from each of the parent associations, with a charge to organize a program of training for water and wastewater works operators.

A draft set of "Guidelines" under which the committee would function was prepared and submitted to the parent associations in September for consideration and approval. On October 1969, each association was given $663.70 ($1,327.40 total), which was turned over to the Joint Training Committee for use in establishing its training program. Beginning in 1970 the committee conducted annual training sessions, except for 1975 when a ruling by the United States Department of Labor dictated that employees enrolled in training sessions of this nature must be paid by their employers for the additional hours (beyond the 40-hour) devoted to training.

The problem was overcome after arrangements were made with Utah State University, an accredited educational institution as required by the Department of Labor, to serve as sponsor for the committee and its activities. Annual training sessions were then resumed in 1976.

In 1971, the Utah State Division of Health carried out an "On-The-Job Training Program for Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators" under a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Anthony J. Lauricha was recruited from California to conduct the program which covered a period of 44 weeks and provided 330 hours of classroom instruction plus 71 hours of on-the-job training for 21 students selected from 13 municipalities and districts in the state. Governor Rampton awarded diplomas to the 21 graduates on December 13, 1971. The course proved highly successful and was repeated in 1972-73 with Dr. Robert A. Gearheart, Utah State University, conducting. Twenty-three operators, representing 14 plants, graduated from this second course August 24, 1973. Lack of funding prevented continuation of the On-The-Job Training Course.

Realizing the importance of skillful plant operation and continuous attention to operator advancement, the State Division of Health in 1974 established a Public Health Engineer position concerned primarily with operator training and employed Stephen E. Moehlman to fill the spot. Further events regarding operator training are detailed by Moehlman in "History of Wastewater Training in Utah", which was printed in "Proceedings of the Utah Water Pollution Control Association", April 21-22, 1977.

In addition to the foregoing training opportunities, it is noteworthy that several operators within the state have availed themselves of the opportunity for further self-advancement through enrollment in various correspondence courses geared primarily to wastewater treatment.


The matter of operator certification was first given official attention in September 1960 when a committee consisting of Win Templeton, Chairman, Grant K. Borg, William C. Hague, Tom McCoy, Emil Meyer, and Lynn M. Thatcher was appointed from the Water Works and Sanitation Conference and UWPCA to study certification of water and sewage works operators, an action which received the unanimous support of UWPCA in its business meeting of September 17, 1960.

In September 1961, a report titled, "Recommendations of Committee on Certification of Water and Sewage Works Operators," was presented to the Conference by Mr. Templeton, recommending: 1) establishment of a Voluntary Certification Program; 2) formation of a "Utah Board on Voluntary Certification of Water and Sewage Works Operators"; 3) Board composition to be as follows: Utah Water Pollution Control Association - one member; Intermountain Section of AWWA - one member (from Utah); Utah Municipal League - one member; Division of Sanitary Engineering, State Board of Health - one member; University of Utah, Department of Civil Engineering - one member; and 4) prompt selection of each agency representative in order that the Board could proceed with a certification program.

The Association voted on September 16, 1961 to support the Voluntary Certification Program and named Emil Meyer as its member of the Board. Board membership was subsequently expanded to accept two members each from UWPCA and the Intermountain Section of AWWA.

In late 1965, the Certification Board then consisting of Grant K. Borg, University of Utah, Chairman; Lynn M. Thatcher, State Health Department; Bennie Schmiett, Utah Municipal League; Emil Meyer and Lloyd S. Mulvey, UWPCA; and Charles R. Weir and Leonard G. Brennan, Intermountain Section, AWWA, announced details of the Voluntary Certification Program and dates for operator examinations, as follows: February 8, 1966 - for Grade IV only; September 1966 - for Grades III and IV; February 1967 - for Grades II, III, and IV; and February 1968 - for all Grades (I through IV).

While Board representation from UWPCA and AWWA changed over the years, Borg, Schmiett, and Thatcher have rendered continuous service. All who have served on the Certification Board, including Lyla Ray as secretary, are deserving of highest commendation for the many hours of intensive effort contributed to making a success of the program. Particularly noteworthy is the extraordinary contribution of Professor Grant K. Borg in preparation, conduct and grading of certification examinations, plus a dedicated interest in assuring its continued success.

The Certification Program has progressed well since its launching, and as of 1977 reportedly some 80 people take the exams each year. Currently 163 operators are certified in wastewater and 122 in waterworks.

Mandatory operator certification has been a subject of frequent discussion in recent years. A bill introduced in the 1975 general session of the Utah Legislature provided for setting up a mandatory certification program under State Division of Health statutes. The bill was withdrawn, however, following written objections from some in the water works industry. As of 1977, therefore, mandatory certification remains in the "talk" stage.


In addition, to participating in awards established by the Federation, the Utah Water Pollution Control Association, in 1973, adopted criteria for various Association awards as a means of recognition for meritorious service or outstanding performance of its members. Names of awardees are listed in the Appendix, while the following briefly describes the basis for each award.

Federation Awards

Philip F. Morgan Medal - awarded for in-plant study and solution of a significant problem.

Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal - awarded for outstanding research contributing to an important degree to the existing knowledge of the fundamental principles or process of wastewater treatment, as described and published in the Federation Journal.

Quarterly Century Operators' Club - an informal group comprised of members who have been engaged in wastewater plant operation, on a full-time basis, 25   years before the date of admission in the Club.

Membership Increase - annually awarded to the member association showing the largest percentage increase in membership.

Life Member - awarded, upon application therefore, to a person who has been an Active Member for 35 years.

Arthur Sidney Bedell Award - awarded for outstanding service in the sewerage and wastewater treatment works field, as related particularly to the problems and activities of the member association (Utah awards at 3-year intervals).

William D. Hatfield Award - awarded to recognize operators of wastewater treatment plants whose performance has been outstanding and who have   demonstrated distinguished professionalism (Utah awards at 3-year intervals).

Federation Directors' Plaque - awarded to each member Association's Federation director upon completion of the term of office (Utah awards at 3-year   intervals).

Association Awards

Outstanding Operator - awarded to a member for extraordinary performance, both in plant operation and in community activities.

Best Operated Plant - awarded to a plant for excellence regarding effluent quality, housekeeping and maintenance schedule.

Outstanding Plant Safety - awarded to a plant for extraordinary effort to promote and achieve an outstanding record of safety.


John Nielsen Fmn. Pump Plant 1424 So. 3rd E., SLC

Mr. South presided and called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m. after which each person present was asked to rise and introduce himself.

Mr. South explained the desirability of grouping together for mutual benefit of training, education and assistance in the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage and industrial wastes. He cited advantages to be gained from joining the Federation of Sewage and Industrial Wastes Associations (FSIWA) and advocated that application for a local section be made. He stated the cost for membership would be $5 per person, which would entitle the member to receive the official monthly journal of the Federation plus any publications of the local section. Mr. South explained that such an action would require cooperation of city officials, State Department of Health, University of Utah, Utah Municipal League and commercial firms. Each of those in attendance was requested to offer his views on the subject.

Mr. Thatcher, speaking for the Waterworks and Sanitation Conference and for the Bureau of Sanitation, State Department of Health, said he felt there would be no conflict with the conference and felt that joining the FSIWA would be most beneficial to all interested in this subject. Whether a local section should be organized at this time or whether association should be made with either the existing Rocky Mountain or California section could be decided at a later date.

Professor Borg said he felt there would be no conflict with presently organized groups and assured everyone the University of Utah was wholeheartedly in favor of any movement that would serve to further educate and enlighten those in this field. Regarding publications he recalled that printing and distribution of proceedings of the annual Water and Sewage Works School had met with much favor.

Mr. Eck expressed the feeling that manufacturers would heartily concur in formation of a section.

Mr. Bell and Mr. Meyer, speaking as plant operators, felt association with others in this field through such an organization plus the additional benefit derived from receiving the publication each month would be most helpful. They felt operators should meet at frequent intervals to maintain interest.

The above comments were representative of opinions expressed by the others present. Considerable discussion followed regarding the advisability of forming a local section or in the initial stages to join either the Rocky Mountain or California Section and to later consider formation of a local section. Several expressed the opinion that association with the California section would provide most benefits because of the publications distributed by that group and further because of its progressive nature.

Mr. South advised he would write the National organization, also the Rocky Mountain and California Sections for information regarding membership and that he would report at a special business meeting to be held during the forthcoming Water and Sewage Works School in February 1957.

A short discussion of operational problems followed, after which the meeting adjourned.

Minutes prepared by H.M. Hurst



April 12, 1957

Thomas C. Adams+ Consulting Engineer Salt Lake City

Roy M. Bell Plant Supervisor South Salt Lake City

Troy D. Black Superintendent Public Works Moab

George P. Boskovich+ Plant Foreman Midvale

Jay B. Conder Plant Superintendent American Fork

Kenneth E. Fiels Salesman, Fischer & Porter Co. Salt Lake City

Lyle S. Ford Prop. Bacto-Chemical Lab. Salt Lake City

Marion G. Hegsted Branch Chief Utilities Operation Hill AFB

Howard M. Hurst San. Eng., Waterworks Equip. Co. Salt Lake City

Vaughn S. Jeffs Chief Utilities Operation Hill AFB

Henry P. Jones Partner, J. Henry Jones Co. Salt Lake City

Howard B. Kelly Plant Superintendent Brigham City

Blaine Liston+ Plant Foreman Provo

Thomas J. Lux+ Plant Supervisor Lehi

Keith Maloney+ Plant Superintendent Tooele

Art V. Maxwell Nielsen, Reeve & Maxwell Eng. Bountiful

Tom McCoy+ Exec. Dir., Utah Municipal League Salt Lake City

Emil Meyer Plant Supt. SLC Sub. San. Dist. Salt Lake City

Maurice N. McKendric Engineer, Waterworks Equip. Co. Salt Lake City

Frank L. Nielsen Sales Engineer Armco Salt Lake City

C.E. Painter+ V.P. & Cons. Eng. Waterworks Salt Lake City

Leonard Wm. Poole+ Partner, Salt Lake Sanitary Co. Murray

Richard E. Rose, Sr. Plant Operator, SLC Sub. San. Dist. Salt Lake City

William T. South+ General Mgr., SLC Sub. San. Dist. Salt Lake City

Harold A. Smith Plant Superintendent Pleasant Grove

Alton H. Sorensen+ Partner, Caldwell, Richards & Sorensen, Engineers Salt Lake City

Lynn M. Thatcher Chief Engineer., Utah State Dept. of Salt Lake City Health

Win Templeton Partner, Templeton & Linke Engineers Salt Lake City

Grant Whitehead Superintendent of Public Works Springville

Del Wolfley Salesman, Dry Chemical Pacific Murray

John J. Zundel Supt. Industrial Wastes Plant Hill AFB

Wayne K. Wiscomb Engineer, Wayne Wiscomb Company Salt Lake City


- Denotes Federation Membership Prior to 4/12/57

+ - Deceased