People Stories

Custodians of Yass Valley’s Precious Water Resource

Author: Careers at Council

Water and Wastewater Team – Yass Valley Council

Meet Kuga Kugaprasatham and Aaron Shepherd from Yass Valley Council’s Water and Wastewater team. Along with their colleagues, Kuga and Aaron are responsible for delivering a clean, regular water supply and effective waste services to the 16,000 residents of Yass Valley.

ALL HAND’S-ON DECK TO DELIVER A VITAL SERVICE

An Engineer by trade, Kuga has worked at Yass Valley Council for 8 years. As Manager of the Water and Wastewater service Kuga oversees the operational running of the 13-strong team. But he’s quick to point out that it doesn’t mean he sits in an office all day.

Kuga explains, “In our team, there’s no ‘it’s not my job’ because we’re such a small team. If something happens at the water treatment plant, or pump stations it can affect our customers so we have to be versatile and work together – here, you could be doing any job at any time!”

Coordinator of the Water and Waste Water team, Aaron agrees, “If there’s a serious issue with the water treatment plant that degrades the quality of raw water, that kicks us into overdrive and it’s all hands-on deck. We work so well together here, if you’re needed you just jump in and help - no matter what your role is!”

Aaron adds, “It keeps you switched-on. You’re never bored here, there’s always something new going on.”

Aaron has worked with Yass Valley Council for 9 years, beginning as an apprentice and now overseeing two teams; the water and wastewater operators and the pipe crew who run the reticulation system.  

RETURNING WATER BACK TO THE ENVIROMENT – NATURALLY

The team looks after the Yass Dam, the treatment plant, pump stations and reservoirs. Quality water is produced for residents from raw water to meet drinking water guidelines.

It is delivered to customers’ houses and eventually collected, treated and returned to the environment.

Everything that gets washed down your kitchen, laundry or bathroom sink or toilet ends up in the sewerage system and eventually arrives at the sewage treatment plant. The plant operates under licence to ensure it meets the exact standard for the treated water returned to the environment from the plant.

WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE COMMUNITY

For Kuga and Aaron, ensuring that the residents of Yass Valley have access to quality water is critical. Aaron comments, “As long as we’re producing great quality water for our residents, it’s been a great day.” He adds, “When we do a great job, and get good feedback from the community, it feels really good”.

There is also a real sense of community in the team, Kuga explains, “Everyone lives right here, the team want to deliver the best service for their community.”

This community-spirit is evident through the team’s approach to customer service. The needs and safety of the community underpins the entire operation. Aaron explains, “If there’s ever an issue I always try and follow-up personally. You want to make sure the customer has that reassurance that we’re across any issues. The Customer Service team are fantastic, but sometimes they don’t have the technical knowledge to answer specific customer questions, which is why it’s important that our team are available to communicate with the community”.

Aaron adds, “Because we deal with these things every day, they don’t stress us, but for the customer it can be a really big deal. When we can help them out, they’re really appreciative. It’s that little stuff that makes this job great!”

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