For most people, chemistry is just another class they took in high school, but Ellen Meyer sees it as much more.
“I’ve always been interested in chemistry and using that chemistry to do some good,” says the technology manager at Arch Chemicals, a global biocides company headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., that supplies water-treatment chemicals to the recreational aquatics industry.
A graduate of William & Mary with a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, Meyer spent 11 years at Betz Laboratories (now part of G.E.), where she was responsible for developing treatments for industrial waste water.
Meyer left industrial water treatment when she came to Arch Chemicals in 2001. Now she deals exclusively with recreational water treatment. While there are many similarities in terms of equipment, she says one big difference is that the customers (end users) are completely different.
“On the industrial side, they’re well-trained. It’s their job to know what they’re doing, but at Arch, in recreational water, many end users are just folks with backyard pools,” she notes.
When it comes to public pools, proper chemical storage and handling is one area that Meyer says is “near and dear to my heart.” She has learned about the importance of safe storage and handling in her work performing safety testing on Arch products.
Meyer first learned about the Model Aquatic Health Code project through work on a team developing APSP 11, a new Association of Pool & Spa Professionals standard covering water quality parameters such as sanitizer residuals, water balance and water clarity.
“I think it was extremely helpful to have gone through that process, learning how to work together as a team and trying to figure out how to write things in code language,” Meyer says.
She became chair of the MAHC Contamination Burden Technical Committee in August 2009 and also participates as a member of the Risk Management/Safety Committee.
The Contamination Burden Committee is responsible for providing annex material — research on contamination that will support recommendations in various sections of the code. “In the beginning, our committee had some issues determining scope and direction,” Meyer says. “Once we established that, things have fallen into place.”
For her part, Meyer says that as leader, she’s tried to be persistent in keeping everyone on track. In the end, she sees the value of the MAHC as twofold. On a macro level, it will be valuable to the industry because it will help achieve more consistent requirements across the different state, county and municipal codes throughout the United States.
For her personally, “it’s been really helpful to come in contact with the range of public health officials that I’ve come in contact with,” she says. “It’s given me a much broader perspective. ...”