People Stories

Driven by an inquisitive nature

Author: Careers at Council

Read time: 4 min read

Q&A with Kelly Minors, Water and Sewer Operator at Mid-Western Regional Council, and NSW/ACT Young Operator of the Year.

We recently met Kelly Minors, Water and Sewer Operator at Mid-Western Regional Council and NSW/ACT Young Operator of the Year. Read our blog and discover what Kelly enjoys about her role, and why she believes local government is the perfect career choice if you love variety and challenge.

Q. Can you tell us what led you to this role in the water industry in the Mid-Western region?

A. I grew up in Gulgong, which is where I’m working right now. I left school and had a few jobs doing manual labour on farms, and I also did some work out at the mines. I didn’t know too much about the water industry when I applied for the traineeship with Mid-Western Council – but luckily for me, I really enjoyed it!

I initially started in a Trainee Water and Sewer Operator role. When the traineeship was almost finished, I applied for a full-time job as an Operator and I’ve been at council now for about three years.

Q. That’s great! Can you explain what your main responsibilities are?

A. My main role is based out at the water plant where I’m part of the team who run the plant, including the production of the water. We also do our town inspections at the out-stations like the reservoirs, and test that the levels of chlorine are within the guidelines. We deal with all the fluoride and chlorine levels so it can get quite technical.

Then there’s the maintenance on the reticulation systems as well, like repairing burst pipes. We take care of people’s water meters, and of course there’s the sewer side, so managing the sewer reticulation system too.



Q. What are some of the challenges that you and the team face – does it ever get stressful?

A. Yes it can get stressful – you’ve got to make sure that the water going out is safe for the community to drink. That’s a big responsibility to have on your hands. We recently had to replace a pipeline from our raw water source into our clarification tank and it was an urgent repair because it was leaking at least one point along the pipe. When we finally had it repaired, we discovered that one of the valves wasn’t the right diameter for the new section of piping and wouldn’t open when we started the plant up again.

We sorted it out quickly, but that was definitely challenging! Things like that don’t happen very often though – you can be out at the plant a whole year and not see anything like that. Luckily most of the minor things are easy to spot and fix quickly.

Q. What do you find the most rewarding and enjoy the most about your role?

A. I just love working at the water plant! It feels good when things are working well and the town has trustworthy drinking water – everyone is relying on you for safe water. It’s an essential service.

I’m actually really inquisitive by nature. I’m always asking questions and improving my knowledge to be able to fix problems when they come up.

The team here is fantastic – everyone is really supportive, and happy to share what they know and help each other out. There’s only a few of us out here so when something happens it’s all hands on deck!

Q. What skills do you think you need to have to be successful in the water industry?

A. You probably want to be curious and want to find out as much as possible about the plant, so if anything happens you have the knowledge to find a solution quickly.

You also have to be motivated and enthusiastic – it’s a job where you really have to care about what you’re doing because it’s such a vital service for the community.

Q. What would you say to someone considering a role in the water industry in local government?

It’s a great career choice! And, not just water and sewer but local government in general. You can move around and try new things until you find what really suits you. In water and sewer, there’s always new challenges – it’s definitely an experience.

If you ever want a new challenge, there’s different plants at different locations so you can put your hand up to move around. There’s plenty of opportunity in the industry.

There’s also a lot to learn. I’ve been here three years and I’m still learning so much which is really exciting. Every day is different which I love.


Are you looking for a varied, challenging role providing an essential service to your community? Click here to learn more about Water Careers or other job opportunities at Mid-Western Regional Council.

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