Feature Article - January 2012
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All Together Now

New Code Aims at Standards for Nation's Pools

By Wynn St. Clair

There has been some confusion about the role MAHC will play, with some mistakenly believing that it will be a federal mandate, much like the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The new code, however, will not be a federal requirement and could actually help with federal laws because it will be a repository of the latest science on recreational water, while some federal codes clearly are not.

"The Virginia Graeme Baker Act is a law. Once you get a new pool code in a state it can be another 20 years to get it updated," said Dr. Michael Beach, the CDC's associate director for healthy water. "The MAHC is a model. It's a renewable process. Every couple of years, the model can be taken and updated with the latest data."

Given the issue's importance, Beach strongly encourages recreation managers and other aquatic industry workers to become involved in the health code's creation.

"This is going to work for you if you give input. If you don't like something, or you do, get involved in the project," he said. "We read everything. Most of the time we agree with the comments, and if we don't, we'll address why we don't. We want those comments. We want to change things based on the comments."

Indeed, the published public comments show industry experts from across the country have taken a deep interest in the codes. The input has led to rewording of the codes, as well as additional requirements. When suggestions are rejected, the committee explains why it does not agree with the idea. Thus far, the published comments have been notable for their constructive nature, thoughtfulness and support for a national code.