You won’t find many environmental health professionals as dedicated to aquatics as Colleen Maitoza.
“For most environmental health agencies, recreational health
is the stepchild to food safety,” says the supervising
environmental health specialist with the Sacramento County (Calif.)
Environmental Management Department. “Aquatics has always
been my love. It’s a program I’ve always really had a
A 26-year veteran with Sacramento County, Maitoza also spent a
couple of years working for the state. A native Californian, she
graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelor’s
degree in microbiology. She discovered environmental health working
summers doing swimming pool inspections in Santa Clara County,
“I’ve spent most of my career in the plan review part
of environmental health, reviewing new construction on new pools,
waterparks and restaurants,” Maitoza says.
When the Model Aquatic Health Code project came up, she was invited
to participate as a member of the Operator Training Technical
Committee and then as part of the Steering Committee.
“The whole MAHC process has been enlightening for me,”
she says. “It was eye-opening to look at codes from a more
performance-based approach, and I like the fact that we’ve
got so many parties that come to the table and work within the
As a member of the Steering Committee, Maitoza represents the
concerns of other environmental health professionals.
“I’m able to look at the proposals and give input as to
whether its enforceable or not,” she says. “I think I
bring that perspective.”
Beyond that, Maitoza says she’s tried to listen.
“Everyone has their opinions, but everybody is very
respectful, and I think that’s a really positive
thing,” she says. “I haven’t always experienced
that in other meetings or arenas that I’ve been involved
So will the MAHC be a help to all those environmental health
officials and others who, unlike Maitoza, don’t have a strong
commitment to aquatics? That is her hope.
“Because recreational health is traditionally the stepchild,
providing money and manpower to create aquatics programs and update
codes just doesn’t happen,” she says. “Having the
MAHC where it’s already done saves a tremendous amount of
time and money.”