“The ISO 147 committee meets once every 18 months, with member countries taking turns to host,” Silvia said. “It is an important international meeting to work on the development of international standards for water sampling and analysis.
“It was the first time the committee meeting had been held in Australia and I’m pleased to say we received very positive feedback on all aspects of the gathering.”
ISO is an independent not-for-profit, non-governmental international organisation with a membership of 161 national standards bodies. Standards Australia, as Australia’s representative on ISO, plays a key and strategic role in developing international standards.
Water quality standards cover a wide range of water uses, including drinking water, industrial use, environmental use, groundwater, and waste water. ISO and Standards Australia also set sampling protocols and sample preservation methods.
Standards Australia participates on ISO’s Technical Committee 147: Water Quality through its National Mirror Committee, EV-008 Methods for Examination of Waters, which Silvia chairs.
“My involvement with Standards Australia and ISO is primarily through my work on cyanide sampling and testing. As well as chairing the Water Quality Committee, I’m a member of the Soil Quality Committee and act as a liaison between the two, along with leading the Australian delegation in its dealings with ISO on water testing,” Silvia said.
“It is important for Australia to have input to international standards and to ensure that they are aligned with our national requirements, given the array of global companies that operate in Australia.”
Silvia’s work with Standards Australia and ISO is part of ChemCentre’s mandated community service obligations. As an extension to that, ChemCentre was also a coordinator of the recent international meeting. Other organisations supporting the event were Skalar, Sydney Water, Walker Scientific, OI Analytical, Shimadzu Scientific and Thermo-Fisher Scientific.
“The actual meeting is very heavy on detail – working through standards, reaching agreements, and agreeing on wording that can be translated into various member countries’ legislation – so the networking program is where a lot of important connections are made and collaborations begun.
“The meeting is not open to everyone – only the representatives nominated by the National Member Bodies can attend – but the social functions enable others to also attend. I was very keen for Standards Australia committee members to be able to make the most of the opportunity to network with international experts. I know several future collaborations were begun, including one between Sydney Water and South Africa’s CSV Water,” Silvia said.
“I think we really made the most of the opportunities that hosting provided, but it was a lot of work by a lot of people, and I’m grateful for their efforts.”
Photo caption: Silvia Black, ChemCentre, (right) with Simona Tomevska, Standards Australia Project Manager at the Sydney meeting.