Towards the end of what was already a busy and productive year for PWTAG, Covid-19 struck.
Our new relationship with Swim England was developing well – providing our administrative services, developing a new website, hosting our annual conference at Loughborough, helping us develop and extend membership.
Little did we know then that these developments were going to be so vital in dealing with the challenges the pandemic presents to the industry.
So in the last few months we have produced three important technical notes on dealing with the pandemic: how to temporarily and safely close a pool; how to disinfect pool buildings in the face of Covid-19; and how to re-open a pool.
Beyond that, discussions continue, including with our counterparts in Europe. We have also been involved in a European/USA/Canada discussion group: this has enabled everybody to understand the rationale behind the recommendations being developed for resuming pool operation during the pandemic. We are currently preparing our latest technical note on this subject, in anticipation of pools reopening. Throughout this period, our social media accounts have been busy and invaluable.
Meanwhile our existing activities continue. The new Poolmark inspection service and appraisal is up and running, with the first organisations receiving their awards at the annual conference in November.
The conference was a near sell-out success and the first in the Holywell Conference Centre, on the Loughborough University campus. The hosts did us proud – a fine venue and great technical backup, including a live presentation from Barcelona. All the presentations are on pwtag.org. In January this year, PWTAG as usual hosted technical presentations at Spatex.
Our membership schemes continue to grow in strength and enable external bodies to have an involvement in setting PWTAG standards. This year saw a change in the expanded Industry Forum with Mark Abbott from Evoqua taking on the role of vice chair to assist Simon Whittingham who has remained as chair. This year we have agreed to research particle counting and the effectiveness of filtration. Pool Sentry will do the work, with assistance from members of the forum. We hope that research will start once the pools re-open. We welcome expressions of interest in this and other forms of membership.
The Training Forum’s new syllabuses for spa pools, hot tubs, paddling pools and pool water testing have now been completed, with interactive water features, equine and canine pools to follow shortly. These will be published on the website for trainers to use to achieve PWTAG approval.
We continue to have a presence and involvement with EU standards through BSI, and members attend the various swimming and spa pool committees on our behalf.
What does the future hold?
We do have two more publications in the pipeline – Domestic spa pools and Commercial spas. By the time they are launched our hydrotherapy pool publication will need reviewing. Clearly there are uncertainties in the light of the still active pandemic. But there is no doubt that PWTAG’s expertise will continue to be needed.
I would like to thank all the members and their organisations for the invaluable contributions they have made to the group this year.
Janice Calvert, PWTAG Chair; 12 June 2020