A REWARD is likely to be offered for information leading to an arrest after vandals caused more than $1 million damage to the Orange to Carcoar pipeline.
Mayor John Davis said a report would be put to Orange City Council next week, which would include a possible monetary incentive after holes were drilled in a plastic sewer pipe linking Orange and Spring Hill, and machinery was vandalised.
“I think [the reward’s] going to be substantial, whether it be $25,000 or whatever,” he said.
“It’s a serious enough offence and we’ve got to back up our contractors in regard to our part in this.”
While the pipeline will be tested with water and leaks would have been found before sewage was put through, Cr Davis said 6.2 kilometres had already been laid.
“You’ve got to dig it up, put it back down and find where [the leak] is so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say it would take double the time,” he said.
Council project manager John Marshall said it would take days to pressure test unlaid pipes with air.
“It’s a pretty common drill bit – one of the holes, the drill had broken off so we’ve got that as evidence,” he said.
Mr Marshall said a $200,000 excavator had been burnt out and $50,000 in damage had been done to a Vermeer trenching machine through fire and rocks in its hydraulics, while a perpetrator had rammed a loader into a grader, costing another $285,000.
“The heavy duty Vermeer machine, it was, we think, deliberately intended to avoid detection to cause as much damage as possible and any normal operator or service mechanic wouldn’t detect it,” he said.
Canobolas Local Area Command Detective Inspector Bruce Grassick said they were targeted attacks and police were considering a number of suspects.
“It’s someone who has intricate knowledge of the industry and knows the Achilles heel of the equipment.”
Detective Inspector Grassick said state government support would be needed to implement a reward.
Spring Hill and Surrounding Districts Community Consultative Committee chair Sally Playfair condemned the damage.
“The committee acknowledges the very strong opposition to council's proposed industrial estate in the area, but this type of behaviour, we state, is absolutely unacceptable,” she said.