Creating the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC)

NOTICE: This web page was archived for historical purposes once the MAHC was completed. The content is no longer maintained and might be out of date. For current information about the Model Aquatic Health Code, visit the Model Aquatic Health Code homepage.

The effort to create the MAHC stems from a CDC-sponsored national 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, the aquatics industry, and academia to discuss ways to minimize the spread of recreational water illnesses at disinfected swimming venues. The major recommendation from this workshop was that CDC lead a national partnership to create an open-access model guidance document that helps local and state agencies incorporate science-based practices into their swimming pool codes and programs without having to “recreate the wheel” each time they create or revise their pool codes. The attendees also recommended that this effort be all-encompassing so that it covered the spread of illness but also included drowning and injury prevention. Such an effort was intended to increase the evidence base for aquatic facility design, construction, and operation while reducing the time, personnel, and resources needed to create or improve pool codes across the country. Beginning in 2007, CDC worked with public health, industry, and academic representatives from across the United States to create this guidance document called the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC). Although, the initial workshop was responding to the significant increases in disease outbreaks at swimming pools, the MAHC is a complete aquatic facility guidance document developed with the goal of reducing the spread of disease and occurrence of drowning and injuries at public disinfected aquatic facilities.

A national consortium of public health officials, aquatics sector experts, and researchers worked for 7 years to create the 2014 MAHC (1st edition).

Process & Organization