The Value of Standards

In case you were wondering, yes, this is still Robert writing this column and not Duncan.  We regularly provide space in our CWWA e-Bulletin and at our conferences for Duncan Ellison to provide updates on several standards committees and their initiatives. Duncan is still considered a member of our CWWA team as our Standards Coordinator, but I thought it a perfect time to add my voice on the importance of standards to our industry. 

I recently attended a celebration of International Standards Day organized by our partners at the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). The best part of this event was seeing our colleague, and my mentor, Duncan Ellison, receiving the first ever Hugh Krentz Award, recognizing his tremendous contributions to international standards as a dedicated volunteer. I was honoured to speak in praise of Duncan – of his tireless efforts, his guidance to others and his enthusiasm to get others involved. 

On behalf of the CWWA, I want to thank Duncan as well as other CWWA members such as Tony VanRossum, Ian McIlwham, Roland Richard, Dwayne Kalynchuk, Daniel Lessard and Barry Orr for their volunteer work on several ISO Technical Committees.  These volunteers are providing valuable Canadian input to the development of international standards on topics such as wastewater operations, compliance, sludge recovery, water reuse and more. Again, with Duncan’s guidance, Canada is the lead on a new ISO Technical Committee on Flushable Wipes. 

What you may not know is that these individuals use their own vacation time and a lot of their own personal funds to participate at meetings around the world.  We thank the SCC for their financial support of these volunteers too.

So why would these guys spend their own money and time on standards committees? There must be something in it for them. Yes, there is some interesting travel involved, but more importantly, these are water professionals that are passionate about their work. They tell me they receive immeasurable professional development, sharing their expertise while learning from industry leaders from around the world. But this handful of volunteers cannot represent us on the many technical committees out there. It is critical that Canada be a part of these international processes and we really need more of you, our members, to help us on this front.

Standards make us all better. Standards make our communities safer and strengthen public trust in what we do. Standards are good for business - ensuring quality products that are marketable to the world. Standards have a tremendous impact on what we do in our water and wastewater industry and we should be at the table providing valuable Canadian input.    

Canadian Water and Wastewater Association