6 July 2022

Up-skilled Bega Valley Council staff prepare to roll out three new water treatment plants

| Katrina Condie
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People holding graduation certificates

Ten council staff graduated after successfully completing their Certificate III in Water Industry Operations. Photo: Bega Valley Shire Council.

With three new water treatment and filtration plants rolling out over the next five years, Bega Valley Council staff are up-skilling to ensure they are ready to operate the new facilities.

Ten members of the council’s water services team graduated after successfully completing their Certificate III in Water Industry Operations.

A mix of trainees and established team members have added to their experience and skills base ahead of the delivery of the new facilities, which will service the Brogo-Bermagui, Bega-Tathra and Yellow Pinch networks.

The council’s manager of water and sewerage services Chris Best said it was important that staff were “skilled-up” and ready to operate the shire’s new plants.

“As an organisation we often focus on the need to upgrade essential infrastructure and we are always aware of the need to back this up by upskilling our staff,” he said.

“Skills improvement increases our capacity as a water utility to provide the best service to our customers and respond quickly when unplanned events occur.

“This is an essential part of our operations, with a planned $47 million investment in water treatment infrastructure budgeted over the next five years.”

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Engineering cadet Hannah Crockford said her new qualification would go a long way towards building a career with the council.

“From the first day on the job as a cadet, this has always been a supportive workplace that offers some great choices for those of us wanting to skill-up and work in areas that interest us,” Ms Crockford said.

“I’m really proud to receive this certificate and it’s great they used a local training organisation too.”

Work underway at a water treatment plant

Work underway at the new Brogo water treatment and filtration plant. Photo: Bega Valley Shire Council.

Mr Best said more staff were looking to up-skill, with another Certificate III program just starting and a Certificate IV program underway.

“Our aim is to continue offering valuable training to our staff and to inspire successful careers in the water utility industry for local people,” he said.

“My congratulations go to everyone who graduated.”

The team members this week graduated with a nationally recognised qualification in Water Industry Operations at a ceremony held at the Bega Valley Learning Centre.

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Currently under construction, the new Brogo-Bermagui water treatment plant will be the second in the shire to deliver a three-point treatment process involving flocculation, filtration and disinfection.

The plant will improve the reliability and quality of drinking water to the Quaama, Cobargo, Wallaga Lake and Bermagui townships and rural customers connected to trunk mains.

The Black Summer bushfires highlighted the vulnerability of the current water treatment process to changes in river water quality, with water required to be trucked into the network at a significant cost until the raw water quality improved.

As part of the upgrade, a fluoridation step will be included to assist in tooth decay prevention. The project will also include pump stations, water storage tanks and water treatment equipment.

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