Supplement Feature - February 2020
Find a printable version here

A Deep Dive Into Aquatic Facility Trends

By Emily Tipping


Slightly more respondents—87.6%, up from 86.8% in 2018—reported that their facilities are currently in compliance with the ADA requirements for swimming pools. Another 6% said they are not in compliance, and 6.4% were unsure. (See Figure 27.)

Respondents from Ys were the most likely to report that they were in compliance with ADA requirements, while those from camps were the least likely to be in compliance. Some 93% of Ys said their aquatic facilities are currently in compliance with ADA requirements. They were followed by those from parks (91.1% were in compliance), schools (88.2%), colleges (87.7%) and rec centers (84.8%). By comparison, just two-thirds (66.7%) of camp respondents said their facilities are currently in compliance with ADA requirements.

MAHC Awareness & Participation

The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is a set of guidelines published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), bringing together the latest science and best practices in order to help state and local government officials develop and update their pool codes. Codes have historically been developed at the local government level to cover such things as how and how often water is tested for safety, how aquatic facilities are built and operated, how chemicals should be used to maintain safe water and more. The MAHC provides local officials with the ability to create a more standardized set of rules and regulations for aquatic facilities based on well-recognized and -researched industry practices.

First released in the summer of 2014, the MAHC is not a static code, but rather is updated regularly as new information and input is made available. The third edition of the code was published in 2018.

Created at the request of businesses, health departments, academics and others, the MAHC is meant to be a tool for government agencies to use as they develop their own pool codes. It is not a federal law, which means government agencies can choose whether to adopt it at all, whether to use all of the MAHC or just part of it, or whether to modify all or part of it to fit their needs.

Nearly six in 10 (57.5%) of respondents said they are familiar with the MAHC, virtually no change from 2018, but up from 53.2% in 2017. Some 22.3% are very familiar with the MAHC, while 35.2% said they are somewhat familiar with it. (See Figure 28.)

To ensure the MAHC is regularly updated, a nonprofit organization, the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) was created in 2013. The council serves as a clearinghouse for input and advice on improvements to the MAHC. CMAHC members can take part in the process of updating the MAHC and have their input heard by the CDC as it revises and releases the next edition. The next CMAHC Conference will be held in October 2020.

(To learn more about participating in the CMAHC, visit www.cmahc.org.)