The city's water reclamation plant was awarded the Environmental Protection Agency's 1990 Operation and Maintenance Excellence Award.

The plant was selected as the best in its class for EPA's six-state Region VIII. Regional Administrator Jim Scherer presented the award to Plant Manager Les Roberts at the City Council meeting Tuesday.Each of the 18 plant employees received a certificate from the EPA for contributions to the plant's operation.

The plant was judged on several factors including compliance to water-quality standards, maintenance and financial management, innovative practices, laboratory and waste management, personnel training programs and safety.

Scherer said the Provo plant utilized the best in technology, particularly in the area of energy conservation. He said the sewer system was very forward-looking.

Another outstanding aspect of the plant is that all its personnel are certified, said Scherer. The continued training of personnel is important, he said.

"As a federal agency, we can't do much if the local people aren't doing it right and getting the word out," said Scherer. The fact that Provo was so willing to give interested people tours of its plant demonstrated a willingness to help others.

Provo Director of Water Resources Merril Bingham said the most common response from people touring the plant is amazement at how technical the operation is. "People say they had no idea the plant was so complicated."

The plant's new headworks facility is about 70 percent complete, Bingham said. The facility will clean grit out of the system with an aerated grit chamber and bar screens.

The Provo plant has won numerous awards, according to the Fall Edition of "Digested News," the official publication of the Utah Water Pollution Control Association.