Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

March 2015

NACCHO Recommends Best Practices for Recreational Water Venues

A recent report conducted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and Axiall Corp., "Looking for Trouble" surveyed health departments about practices at aquatic venues, and turned up some disturbing trends. Violations and unsafe practices are common, leading to many preventable pool closings. In addition, a 2012 NACCHO study found that budget cuts in environmental health services in local health departments were having a negative impact as well—with 13.6 percent of local health departments saying they had reduced or eliminated recreational water services.

The NACCHO, in a policy statement on recreational water safety, asserts that when public health resources are used to support water safety, preventable illness and injury can be decreased. For these and other reasons, the association is urging "… national, state and local health departments and related agencies to engage policymakers, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses and communities to produce and support policies, legislation, regulations, programs, research and resources to promote healthy and safe swimming."

Some of the specific activities to help boost water safety recommended by the NACCHO include:

  • Incorporating the Model Aquatic Health Code into local health department policies and practices.
  • Improving regulatory oversight of recreational waters—everything from public pools, spas and splashpads to lakes, rivers and oceans, and even private pools when possible.
  • Implementing standardized water testing guidelines.
  • Increasing funding for local health departments to ensure adequate oversight of recreational water venues, and to help investigate incidents.
  • Promoting communication between pool owners and operators and local health departments.
  • Encouraging owners and operators to earn certifications, such as Certified Pool/Spa Operator or Aquatic Facilities Operator.

By adopting these and other suggestions contained in the policy statement, local, state and national agencies, as well as pool owners and operators, can help ensure safer swimming and water fun for all patrons.

For more information, on the "Looking for Trouble" report, visit:

For more information, on the MAHC, visit:

For more information on the Certified Pool/Spa Operator and Aquatic Facilities Operator certifications, visit: or

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