April 2020 Featured Employee: Brooke Norton

April 2020 Featured Employee: Brooke Norton

Laboratory Technician II
April 20, 2020

Brooke Norton is one of our many employees on the “front lines” providing life-sustaining utilities for our customers. As a Laboratory Technician at our Water Treatment Plant (WTP), she helps to ensure that we have safe drinking water from the Plant all the way to the tap. 

A lot goes into providing quality drinking water, and our Lab Techs, like Brooke, work closely throughout the entire process with other employees at the Plant and the water distribution system. Brooke’s responsibilities are twofold. First, she takes daily samples from the Plant for bacterial, chemical, and physical analysis, and those results are sent to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Equally important, Brooke and the other Lab Techs rotate going out in the field to take samples from throughout the water distribution system. Each month, they perform more than 100 tests on hundreds of substances to ensure that our drinking water is safe. 

Many of these tests are required by law, but our lab also goes above what is required in order to ensure high standards of water quality control. “An example of this is RTA plate counts,” said Brooke. “RTA helps us to determine if an area on our system needs flushing. We’re not required to run this test, but we do it for water quality purposes.” They conduct daily water quality testing each morning on the treated or “finished” water for bacteria, ammonia, fluoride, and much more. Additional tests are run weekly or monthly. Most tests are run in-house and a few are sent off to other labs. 

Not every treatment plant can run its own testing,” said Brooke, “but our laboratory is state-certified to run most of our own tests. To maintain certification, the WTP Lab undergoes an inspection and audit every two years along with twice-a-year test sample studies. In addition, Lab staff participates in certification programs for Process Chemistry Control and Total and Fecal Coliform Analyses. Brooke also has her Operator License, Physical/Chemical Wastewater Certification, and Bacteriological Certification. This is in addition to her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Carolina. 

Brooke has experienced some technology changes during her 12 years with GUC. “We used to go to customers houses to get samples from their outside faucets,” she said, “but now we have sample stations set up at various points on the rights-of-way near the road. We can input the data on the spot with our iPads.” When she started her career with GUC, she would write the data down and bring it back to the lab to input into a computer. They can also do online reporting to the state now versus mailing it in.  

Brooke says she loves the variety of her job. “It changes every day, plus I get to work inside and outside. I love what I do. I enjoy learning about water because there is so much I didn’t know about it before I started working here. I think it’s a very rewarding job. And I like the people I work with a lot, too. The four of us in the lab work great together. 

In addition to her laboratory responsibilities, Brooke also serves on the GUC/City of Greenville Wellness Committee, a commitment she took on soon after starting at GUC. She also helps Human Resources and Public Information with community and career events when needed 

In her spare time, Brooke enjoys running and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Robert, have two children, Caleb (9) and Savannah (7). Robert works for Piedmont Natural Gas. They live in Brooke’s hometown of Macclesfield, next to her parents and her sister’s family. “We are all very close and do a lot together,” she said.  

In fact, Brooke - along with her dad, daughter, and sister - enjoy barrel racing with quarter horses, something Brooke has done since childhood. “We travel all over doing races while my husband and son hunt,” she said. Her son also enjoys playing sports, and the entire family is involved with their church (Maccripine Free Will Baptist). Brooke enjoys helping people, and her work at GUC is a great opportunity to play a part in taking care of our community.  


Book: Nicolas Sparks

TV show: Criminal Minds

Snack: All things Reese’s

Sports Team: Carolina Tarheels