In what has already proved one of the most challenging years in living memory, PWTAG lost two founder members in the space of weeks. Phil Penny and Andy Elphick both died during the summer. Through more than 30 years of PWTAG membership, both made huge and uniquely valuable contributions to pool water standards.

Phil’s involvement in swimming went way back. As a young doctor, and throughout his life, he was a keen daily swimmer. His competitive career led to his becoming a medical officer to various water polo and swimming teams, and over many decades to the Amateur Swimming Association. In 1975 the Department of the Environment set up a sub-committee to pronounce on alternatives to chlorine gas as a disinfectant, and both Phil and Andy were recruited.

When in 1984 the DoE dismissed the sub-committee, Phil was the first chair of the independent Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group, established in the belief that there was more work to be done. That the next 36 years have proved PWTAG was right, is very substantially down to Phil and Andy’s contribution. Phil’s medical specialism, as an occupational health physician, combined with his close connections with the practicalities of operating pools, made his contribution very important. He even found time in 1983 to co- author an important BMJ article warning of the rashes sometimes associated with certain bromine disinfectants.

Andy was a chemist, heading up that speciality at Wallace & Tiernan, then becoming UK boss of Prominent Fluid Controls. These were big jobs, but Andy always made the time to lend PWTAG his huge expertise, in the pursuit of improving and maintaining standards. Andy was firm and uncompromising about how to operate a good pool. He became a PWTAG fellow in 2015 and stood down only when his health began to fail. Like Phil, Andy was a member of the the sub-committee set up in 1975 by the Department of the Environment to review disinfectant alternatives to chlorine gas. Andy represented the British Effluent and Water Treatment Plant Association. By the time PWTAG was established in 1984, with Andy a founding member that had become BEWA. Without his steadfast contribution to PWTAG’s research and publishing, the organisation would not have achieved the position it has. He was firm and uncompromising about how to operate a good pool. Andy chaired PWTAG from 1995 to 2000, during which time the industry’s bible, Swimming PoolWater, was first published.

Between them, they kept PWTAG on the straight and and narrow in a challenging industry. Even after they stopped attending PWTAG meetings, their wise counsel was frequently called on and in 2015 they were made fellows of the organization.


Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group