Wading Through The Rules

  • Free chlorine level–10.7 percent
  • pH level–8.9 percent
  • Other water chemistry–12.5 percent
  • Filtration/recirculation system–35.9 percent
  • Water test kit–3.3 percent
  • Record keeping–10.9 percent
  • Licensure–2.7 percent. * 

*[CDC. Violations identified from routine swimming-pool inspections--selected states and counties,United States, 2008. MMWR Morbidity Mortality Weekly Rep. 2010; 59(19):582-587]  

In The Beginning

The first MAHC development workshop was held inAtlanta,Ga., in 2005. The group brought together experts from organizations and companies that represent all segments of the pool and aquatic disciplines. The mission was to create a uniform, model, aquatic health code. Technical committees were formed. Each committee appointed a chairperson, and defined the scope of work for that section of the overall model code. Through hundreds of hours of meetings, the MAHC was developed. Consisting of twelve modules, each has been in various stages of development by the technical committees, including review, public comment, and editing for uniformity by the steering committee. Industry members are urged to be involved, and to submit comments. When each module is released, it is available for 60 days for public comment. Once all the modules have been released, the entire code will again be posted for another public-comment period.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/pools/mahc/Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

ADA Compliance

Troubling most facility operators at this time are the new ADA-compliance standards. Even at the time of this writing, meetings are in process to clarify misunderstood parts of the regulation. Also, a number of states are implementing additional regulations or modifying theADAlaw to conform to their state’s particular building codes. Facility managers and operators should consult with their legal department for interpretation.


The Department of Justice broadened its reach to include a swimming pool, a wading pool, and a spa, defined as a “place of public accommodation” in theADAregulation. Signed into law onJuly 23, 2010, full compliance standards to the newADAfor public pools and spas are required onMarch 15, 2012. TheADAregulation is a comprehensive civil-rights law with specific accessibility guidelines for newly constructed and altered facilities. All pools and spas that serve the public must comply with the rulings, or the facility will face censure and fines for not providing appropriate means of access.

While many larger aquatic institutions have previously modified their pool and spa areas to accommodate people with disabilities, most of the smaller facilities, such as hotels and motels, have refrained from spending the resources. Thus, people who need assistance entering and exiting pools and spas have been shut out. The new law assures that all people, despite their disability, are to be able to enjoy what the water has to offer.

The new guidelines base the amount of required equipment on the number of perimeter feet of the pool/spa. Less than 300 perimeter feet mandates one means of access–either a lift or sloped entry. More than 300 perimeter feet requires two means of access. Detailed information on compliance requirements may be found by visiting deck-equipment and pool-lift equipment websites.

To learn more about the ADArequirements, go to www.access-board.gov/recreation/guides/pdfs/pools.pdf.                                                               

Energy-Efficiency Codes

A growing number of states are adopting new energy standards in response to pressure from consumer- and government-advocacy groups. The initial focus was on the residential-pool sector; however, aquatic-facility operators would be wise to review their state building codes because any modification to existing equipment may need to be reviewed and approved by the local building official prior to making any changes.

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