Norm Barnes

Norm Barnes has worked for Orange City Council for more than 30 years and has spent a number of years at Council's McLachlan Street depot as a utilities supervisor. He helps repair breaks in pipes, puts new water services into residential lots, lays sewerage lines, clears sewerage chokes and reconstructs house connections.

"All our work, once we've done it, it's buried - you don't really see too much of it."

When I first started laying water mains we used to use asbestos cement pipes. It's now progressed to using PVC. Sometimes we use polythene pipe - it's more flexible and laying the pipes is easier because you don't have to be quite so critical of the bedding material.

The drought has caused a few problems with the ground drying out. The old fibro pipes, there's no 'give' in them and they snap.

The council is moving over to a dual water system. At the start, it will be unfiltered from the dam. Any subdivision that goes in, they'll have two installations - one for potable and one for non-potable water. The non-potable water is for garden and toilet flushing. It probably is a good idea but it is very expensive to get up and running because we've got to run a new pipeline from Suma Park. Any new subdivision west of Kearney's Drive and in the Ploughmans Valley will have it.

I do quite a bit of closed circuit TV inspections of sewer mains. We've got a set-up like a stainless steel tractor which has a camera head on. It's all remote controlled. The tractor will fit into a four-inch pipe. We take colour videos of the sewerage system through it. All our work, once we've done it, it's buried - you don't really see too much of it.