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Tom Smart, Deseret News
Garland Mayne, at the American Fork plant, will work for a south Salt Lake County sewer district.

AMERICAN FORK — Garland Mayne retired last week as general manager of the Timpanogos Special Service District, but he won't be kicking back and taking it easy.

Rather, the 57-year-old soft-spoken wastewater expert will simply don a new hat — that of facilities manager at the South Valley Sewer District in Salt Lake County.

For the past 31 years, Mayne presided over the growth and development of the sewer district that now serves seven cities and part of another in north Utah County. Thirty-eight years ago, he was low man in the then-Pleasant Grove waste water division. Mayne rose to superintendent after gaining the necessary certifications.

Then in 1977 when the Utah County commissioners created the special services district, Mayne was tapped as director and oversaw its construction. The district launched in 1978 serving a handful of north Utah County cities. Today it serves Pleasant Grove, Lehi, American Fork, Alpine, Highland, Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain and the SunCrest subdivision on the south end of Draper.

Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain may not exist if the district hadn't been available to handle their sewer needs, he said.

Mayne's work has been a combination of environmental, biological, mechanical and psychological effort when it came to dealing with the sometimes smelly politics of the job.

While he describes the sewer board today in glowing terms, previous boards have been a challenge.

"There were some rough years," he said, particularly in 1992 and 1993. Board meetings often ran late, and Mayne often wondered "if I would have a job."

Political intrigue usually came from mayors with "hidden agendas," he said.

Today the sewer district treats 14 million gallons of effluent daily with the capacity of 18.3 million gallons. The district is in the design phase for the next expansion, which could come in three years. "We have five-year, 10-year and 20-year capital improvement plans," he said.

The $85 million growth project includes new ways of controlling odors. For more than 30 years the district has sun-dried the sludge that comes from its operation in acres of drying beds. But with commercial buildings and residential areas closing in, the district is going to a mechanical system using belts and blowers. The district just completed a $3.4 million interim method that adds about $1 million a year to the sewer operation's expense, he said.

After the sludge is dried it is used in an approved composting mixture that is sold to feed gardens and lawns. The mixture is tested to make sure heavy metals and pathogens are removed, he said.

Along the way, Mayne has garnered a host of awards and accolades beginning in 1977 with the William D. Hatfield Award from the Utah Water Pollution Control Association to the 2003 Outstanding Biosolids Program from the Water Environment Association of Utah.

Honors include Outstanding Plant Safety, Outstanding Pretreatment Program, and Excellence Award — Collection Systems.

He also served as president of the UWEA in 1982 and 1983 and the Rural Water Association in 2001-03. He also served on the state's Wastewater Certification Board for years and taught part-time at Utah Valley State College.

In 1983 Mayne went to China as part of a technical transfer program and taught the Chinese water technology and how to build wastewater treatment plants.

The district hired Tom Adams a year ago as assistant manager. He took Mayne's place when Mayne stepped aside and moved on.

In the early years of his career and during the Vietnam era Mayne was a reservist at Camp Williams in Company A Special Forces Group for eight years. He was trained in open water scuba diving and communications, weapons, medical, demolition and as an operations sergeant.

Mayne and his wife have seven children and 18 grandchildren. They live on a 3.5 acre ranchette in Lehi where they have horses, chickens and a goat.

"It's nice for the grandkids to run around," he said.

E-mail: [email protected]