About the MAHC
CDC, through an initial grant from the National Swimming Pool Foundation, is working with public health and industry representatives across the United States to prevent drowning, injuries, and the spread of recreational water illnesses at public swimming pools and spas by building a Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC). The MAHC will serve as a model and guide for local and state agencies needing to update or implement swimming pool and spa code, rules, regulations, guidance, law, or standards governing the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, and other treated or disinfected aquatic facilities.
In the United States, there is no federal regulatory authority responsible for disinfected aquatic facilities (e.g. swimming pools, water parks, etc.); all pool codes are developed, reviewed, and approved by state and/or local public health officials. As a result, there are no uniform, national standards governing the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of swimming pools and other treated aquatic facilities. Thus, the code requirements for preventing and responding to recreational water illnesses (RWIs) can vary significantly among local and state agencies. The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is intended to transform the typical health department pool program into a data-driven, knowledge-based, risk reduction effort to prevent disease and injuries and promote healthy recreational water experiences. The MAHC should ensure that the best available standards and practices for protecting public health are available for adoption by state and local agencies. It will provide local and state agencies with uniform guidelines for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of swimming pools and other disinfected aquatic facilities.
This effort stems from a CDC-sponsored workshop called "Recreational Water Illness Prevention at Disinfected Swimming Venues" that was convened on February 15-17, 2005, in Atlanta, Georgia. The workshop assembled persons from different disciplines working in state, local, and federal public health agencies and the aquatics industry to discuss ways to minimize recreational water illnesses spread through disinfected swimming venues. The main recommendation from this workshop was that CDC sponsor a national partnership to create a model guidance document that helps local and state agencies incorporate science-based practices into their pool programs without having to “recreate the wheel.” CDC has been working with public health and industry representatives across the United States to build this effort. Initial efforts have been focused on reducing the spread of recreational water illnesses and injuries at disinfected aquatic facilities.
For questions or comments about the Model Aquatic Health Code, please email MAHC@cdc.gov.
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