Newsroom for the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC)

This page houses a selection of news-related MAHC items, such as magazine articles and blog posts, organized by date. To suggest the inclusion of additional news items not listed on this page, please contact MAHC@cdc.gov.

2019

Title: Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code names new Executive Directorexternal icon (July 2019)

Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code welcomes Kristie Riester as its new Executive Director. Former Executive Director Douglas Sackett is transitioning to the role of Technical Director.

Title: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code announces new Executive Directorexternal icon (June 2019)

Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code welcomes Kristie Riester as its new Executive Director. Former Executive Director Douglas Sackett is transitioning to the role of Technical Director.

 

Title: New Study Will Help Pool Operators Understand How to Best Improve Indoor Air Quality at Public Poolsexternal icon (March 2019)

Summary: A CMAHC ad hoc committee is conducting a study in partnership with Purdue and Michigan State University to determine exact operating conditions for indoor pools to help prevent the buildup of volatile compounds in the air, which are harmful to swimmers.

Title: Make pool inspection information publicly available (opinion) (June 2019)

Summary: An opinion piece urges the Pennsylvania Department of Health to make pool inspection information publicly available and also recommends the commonwealth adopt the Model Aquatic Health Code, as required in state House Bill 1056.

 

Full text:

As LNP’s Dan Nephin reported last month, roughly 1 out of 3 state-regulated pools and hot tubs in Lancaster County experienced at least one failure because of unhealthy bacteria levels during last year’s swim season, which runs May 1 through Sept. 30. “That includes pools and hot tubs at community centers, hotels, campgrounds and water parks,” Nephin reported.

We are very pro-swimming. It’s a great exercise that puts little pressure on one’s joints. It’s also a whole lot of fun. We spent our childhood summers at municipal pools, swimming until we were prunes, emerging only reluctantly when the lifeguards’ whistles blew to signal an adult swim. We didn’t worry about coliform bacteria counts or pH and chlorine levels. And ignorance was bliss. Knowing now what we know, we feel compelled to heed reports of bacterial failure — which occur when two parts of coliform bacteria are found in a 100- milliliter pool water sample — in the local swimming pools. We prefer knowing the quality of the water into which we’re plunging. This is why we found it frustrating to read Nephin’s reporting, which revealed that while “some states make pool inspection data publicly available, only Allegheny County in western Pennsylvania does, and the information is fairly limited.” Nate Wardle, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, told Nephin that the department is considering making pool inspection information publicly available. But he was unable to provide a timeline or further information.

We’d urge health department officials to turn what seems to be a vague proposal into concrete action. Make pool inspection information publicly available — and soon. This pool season, if possible. People ought to be able to check — easily — the water quality of the pool they frequent. According to Nephin’s article, published in the May 26 Sunday LNP, the bacterial failures reported last pool season were at 10 of the 29 swimming pools run by local governments or community organizations in Adamstown, Hempfield, Leola, Lititz, East Petersburg, Ephrata, New Holland and southern Lancaster County. “The worst offenders are among privately run campgrounds, hotels and condominium associations,” Nephin wrote. “Privately run pools accounted for 116 of the 135 bacterial failures — or 86% — in 2018, according to the Department of Health.”

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park near Quarryville reported 11 bacteria failures at its pools from May through September. Comfort Inn in Lancaster and Comfort Suites in Manheim had seven and five, respectively, during that time (both are run by Choice Hotels). Eden Resorts had four failures. Tessa Wiles, marketing manager for Jellystone, told Nephin the camp resort had issues with a filtration system last year; it’s been replaced. Greg Greenawalt, manager at Eden Resorts, said the resort, which has two indoor pools open year-round and one outdoor pool, does chemical readings three times a day, one more than the state requires. Calls to Choice Hotels for comment were unsuccessful, Nephin reported. And efforts “to reach officials at several public pool facilities — Lititz Springs, Leola Community Pool and Park and Adamstown Community Swimming Pool — also were unsuccessful.”

Officials at municipal pools should be responsive to questions about water quality. Their lack of responsiveness just reinforces the need for the state health department to make pool inspection reports public. We want people to continue to make use of municipal pools. They are a great asset to a community, a place where children can gather in the summer and a spot where community residents can get to know their neighbors. So we decidedly do not want to instigate any kind of pool panic. As Nephin reported, most coliform bacteria — the bacteria present in feces, the most significant polluter of pools — are harmless. They just serve as a useful indicator of water quality. Some coliform bacteria, however, can sicken swimmers, as can cryptosporidium, giardia, Legionella, norovirus and shigella, all of which may be found in pools and hot tubs. So water must be regularly and scrupulously checked in accordance with state regulations. That means, at minimum, checking the water twice daily for disinfectant levels to ensure a pool’s disinfection system is working properly.

In addition to making pool inspection reports public, the commonwealth should adopt — as state House Bill 1056 would require — the Model Aquatic Health Code, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is, the CDC website explains, “a voluntary guidance document based on science and best practices that can help local and state authorities and the aquatics sector make swimming and other water activities healthier and safer. States and localities can use the MAHC to create or update existing pool codes to reduce risk for outbreaks, drowning, and pool-chemical injuries.”

What’s not to like? We’d urge lawmakers to pass HB 1056. We all can do our part, too, to keep swimming pools clean. The CDC recommends that we shower before swimming; refrain from swimming if we have diarrhea or an open wound not covered by a waterproof bandage (we’ve never used the word “duh” in an editorial, but we’ll use it here); avoid swallowing pool water (another “duh” seems apt); and don’t urinate in a pool (seriously, just don’t). A survey released last month by the Water Quality & Health Council found that “more than half of Americans (51%) report using a swimming pool as a communal bathtub, either swimming as a substitute for showering or using the pool to rinse off after exercise or yardwork.” And “40% of Americans admit they’ve peed in the pool as an adult.” To anyone in that 51% or 40%, we’d say: Please stop. You’re not helping. When the lifeguards signal that it’s time for an adult swim, we’d like to jump in without trepidation.

Title: Breathing easy: Study targets improving air quality at indoor aquatic facilitiesexternal icon (June 2019)

Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code’s Indoor Aquatic Facility Ventilation Design and Air Quality Ad Hoc Committee has teamed up with researchers at Purdue and Michigan State University to determine the operating conditions for indoor pools that help prevent the buildup of volatile compounds in the air. The results of the study will be used to develop new guidance on the proper design and operation of indoor pools for acceptable air quality, which will be used to update CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code.

Title: Report: 49 cases of Legionnaire’s at Hampton Beach in 2018external icon (April 2019)

Summary: New Hampshire released its final report on the 2018 outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. The report recommends that hot tub owners and operators follow the operation and maintenance guidelines in the Model Aquatic Health Code.

2018

Title: Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code names new Executive Directorexternal icon (July 2019)

Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code welcomes Kristie Riester as its new Executive Director. Former Executive Director Douglas Sackett is transitioning to the role of Technical Director.

 

Title: Formal Committee Forms to Reconcile MAHC and APSP Swimming Pool Codesexternal icon (September 2018)

Summary: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals established a permanent committee to fix inconsistencies between the model codes produced by the two groups.

 

Title: New Model Aquatic Health Code Releasedexternal icon (July 2018)

Summary: The third edition of the Model Aquatic Health Code puts in place several changes regarding water quality, lifeguarding, chemical safety, indoor air quality and other aspects of commercial aquatics facilities.

Title: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code announces new Executive Directorexternal icon (June 2019)

Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code welcomes Kristie Riester as its new Executive Director. Former Executive Director Douglas Sackett is transitioning to the role of Technical Director.

 

Title: New Study Will Help Pool Operators Understand How to Best Improve Indoor Air Quality at Public Poolsexternal icon (March 2019)

Summary: A CMAHC ad hoc committee is conducting a study in partnership with Purdue and Michigan State University to determine exact operating conditions for indoor pools to help prevent the buildup of volatile compounds in the air, which are harmful to swimmers.

Title: Facility Manager Aquatics Appexternal icon (February 2018)

Summary: Counsilman-Hunsaker and the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) have partnered to provide the Facility Manager aquatics app. The application is based on the Model Aquatic Health Code and NSPF’s Pool & Spa Operator Handbook to ensure code compliance and makes daily operations easier and more efficient.

Title: What is the Model Aquatic Health Code?external icon (January 2018)

Summary: The Model Aquatic Health Code is a major change to how the float industry is likely going to be regulated in the future. This news podcast explains how float tanks will be included in the next edition of the code, what that means for float centers, and what to expect after it becomes implemented.

Title: Make pool inspection information publicly available (opinion) (June 2019)

Summary: An opinion piece urges the Pennsylvania Department of Health to make pool inspection information publicly available and also recommends the commonwealth adopt the Model Aquatic Health Code, as required in state House Bill 1056.

 

Full text:

As LNP’s Dan Nephin reported last month, roughly 1 out of 3 state-regulated pools and hot tubs in Lancaster County experienced at least one failure because of unhealthy bacteria levels during last year’s swim season, which runs May 1 through Sept. 30. “That includes pools and hot tubs at community centers, hotels, campgrounds and water parks,” Nephin reported.

We are very pro-swimming. It’s a great exercise that puts little pressure on one’s joints. It’s also a whole lot of fun. We spent our childhood summers at municipal pools, swimming until we were prunes, emerging only reluctantly when the lifeguards’ whistles blew to signal an adult swim. We didn’t worry about coliform bacteria counts or pH and chlorine levels. And ignorance was bliss. Knowing now what we know, we feel compelled to heed reports of bacterial failure — which occur when two parts of coliform bacteria are found in a 100- milliliter pool water sample — in the local swimming pools. We prefer knowing the quality of the water into which we’re plunging. This is why we found it frustrating to read Nephin’s reporting, which revealed that while “some states make pool inspection data publicly available, only Allegheny County in western Pennsylvania does, and the information is fairly limited.” Nate Wardle, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, told Nephin that the department is considering making pool inspection information publicly available. But he was unable to provide a timeline or further information.

We’d urge health department officials to turn what seems to be a vague proposal into concrete action. Make pool inspection information publicly available — and soon. This pool season, if possible. People ought to be able to check — easily — the water quality of the pool they frequent. According to Nephin’s article, published in the May 26 Sunday LNP, the bacterial failures reported last pool season were at 10 of the 29 swimming pools run by local governments or community organizations in Adamstown, Hempfield, Leola, Lititz, East Petersburg, Ephrata, New Holland and southern Lancaster County. “The worst offenders are among privately run campgrounds, hotels and condominium associations,” Nephin wrote. “Privately run pools accounted for 116 of the 135 bacterial failures — or 86% — in 2018, according to the Department of Health.”

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park near Quarryville reported 11 bacteria failures at its pools from May through September. Comfort Inn in Lancaster and Comfort Suites in Manheim had seven and five, respectively, during that time (both are run by Choice Hotels). Eden Resorts had four failures. Tessa Wiles, marketing manager for Jellystone, told Nephin the camp resort had issues with a filtration system last year; it’s been replaced. Greg Greenawalt, manager at Eden Resorts, said the resort, which has two indoor pools open year-round and one outdoor pool, does chemical readings three times a day, one more than the state requires. Calls to Choice Hotels for comment were unsuccessful, Nephin reported. And efforts “to reach officials at several public pool facilities — Lititz Springs, Leola Community Pool and Park and Adamstown Community Swimming Pool — also were unsuccessful.”

Officials at municipal pools should be responsive to questions about water quality. Their lack of responsiveness just reinforces the need for the state health department to make pool inspection reports public. We want people to continue to make use of municipal pools. They are a great asset to a community, a place where children can gather in the summer and a spot where community residents can get to know their neighbors. So we decidedly do not want to instigate any kind of pool panic. As Nephin reported, most coliform bacteria — the bacteria present in feces, the most significant polluter of pools — are harmless. They just serve as a useful indicator of water quality. Some coliform bacteria, however, can sicken swimmers, as can cryptosporidium, giardia, Legionella, norovirus and shigella, all of which may be found in pools and hot tubs. So water must be regularly and scrupulously checked in accordance with state regulations. That means, at minimum, checking the water twice daily for disinfectant levels to ensure a pool’s disinfection system is working properly.

In addition to making pool inspection reports public, the commonwealth should adopt — as state House Bill 1056 would require — the Model Aquatic Health Code, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is, the CDC website explains, “a voluntary guidance document based on science and best practices that can help local and state authorities and the aquatics sector make swimming and other water activities healthier and safer. States and localities can use the MAHC to create or update existing pool codes to reduce risk for outbreaks, drowning, and pool-chemical injuries.”

What’s not to like? We’d urge lawmakers to pass HB 1056. We all can do our part, too, to keep swimming pools clean. The CDC recommends that we shower before swimming; refrain from swimming if we have diarrhea or an open wound not covered by a waterproof bandage (we’ve never used the word “duh” in an editorial, but we’ll use it here); avoid swallowing pool water (another “duh” seems apt); and don’t urinate in a pool (seriously, just don’t). A survey released last month by the Water Quality & Health Council found that “more than half of Americans (51%) report using a swimming pool as a communal bathtub, either swimming as a substitute for showering or using the pool to rinse off after exercise or yardwork.” And “40% of Americans admit they’ve peed in the pool as an adult.” To anyone in that 51% or 40%, we’d say: Please stop. You’re not helping. When the lifeguards signal that it’s time for an adult swim, we’d like to jump in without trepidation.

Title: Breathing easy: Study targets improving air quality at indoor aquatic facilitiesexternal icon (June 2019)

Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code’s Indoor Aquatic Facility Ventilation Design and Air Quality Ad Hoc Committee has teamed up with researchers at Purdue and Michigan State University to determine the operating conditions for indoor pools that help prevent the buildup of volatile compounds in the air. The results of the study will be used to develop new guidance on the proper design and operation of indoor pools for acceptable air quality, which will be used to update CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code.

 

Title: CDC releases 2018 Model Aquatic Health Codeexternal icon (July 2018)

Summary: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released the 2018 Model Aquatic Health Code, which includes recommendations to help reduce risk for disease outbreaks, chemical injuries, and drownings at public aquatic venues.

 

Title: Waterplay Solutions, NC Brands announce new hiresexternal icon (February 2018)

Summary: The start of the New Year has seen many new hires, appointments, and promotions in the aquatics industry. Alvaro Mendoza, co-founder and president of Commercial Energy Specialists Inc. (CES) in Jupiter, Fla., has been elected as the newest member of the CMAHC Board of Directors.

Title: US push for Aquatic Health Code adoptionexternal icon (August 2018)

Summary: The US-based National Swimming Pool Foundation is spearheading a movement for widespread adoption of a Model Aquatic Health Code.

Title: Report: 49 cases of Legionnaire’s at Hampton Beach in 2018external icon (April 2019)

Summary: New Hampshire released its final report on the 2018 outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. The report recommends that hot tub owners and operators follow the operation and maintenance guidelines in the Model Aquatic Health Code.

2017

Title: Model Aquatic Health Code Votes Talliedexternal icon (December 2017)

Summary: The votes on proposed changes to the Model Aquatic Health Code have been tallied, bringing the 2018 edition just one step away from realization.

 

Title: Key Issues Surface as Model Aquatic Health Code Goes to Voteexternal icon (October 2017)

Summary: At the World Aquatic Health Conference in October, the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code held its bi-annual meeting to review and present many of the changes proposed for the upcoming edition. Several of the proposed changes surfaced as hot topics.

Title: Attend CMAHC Conference In Person Or Onlineexternal icon (September 2017)

Summary: Aquatics industry professionals are encouraged to join the CMAHC and urged to add their voice to the chorus of public health and industry experts at the second Vote on the Code biennial conference, October 17-18, 2017, in Denver, Colorado.

Title: Pool safety summit held last week in resortexternal icon (March 2017)

Summary: Local business owners, tourism officials, and state representatives discuss the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s consideration of the Model Aquatic Health Code.

2016

Title: What Do CSTE Members Need to Know About CDC’s Updated Pool Code Guidance?external icon (September 2016)
Summary: CDC’s Michael Beach and Jasen Kunz explain three things CSTE members should know about the MAHC & supplemental materials that were updated in July.

Title: Updated Model Aquatic Health Code Now Availableexternal icon (August 2016)
Summary: The second edition of the MAHC, which includes important updates to the first edition that was released in 2014, is now available from the CDC.

Title: Keeping Cool in the Poolexternal icon (July 2016)
Summary: With the release of 2016 MAHC, CDC is taking steps to ensure the public is safe in swimming pools and other water venues.

Title: Second MAHC Edition Releasedexternal icon (July 2016)
Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) announced that CDC released the 2016 MAHC on July 15. This second edition includes important updates to the first edition, which was released in 2014.

Title: MAHC Second Edition Releasedexternal icon (July 2016)
Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) has announced that CDC has released an updated second edition of the MAHC — the 2016 MAHC. The initial version was published in 2014.

Title: CMAHC Announces Release of the Second MAHC Editionexternal icon (July 2016)
Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) announced today that CDC released the 2016 MAHC on July 15, 2016. This second edition of the MAHC includes important updates to the first edition released in 2014.

Title: Smooth Sailing: Best Practices in Pool Maintenance and Renovationexternal icon (July 2016)
Summary: Aquatic facility operators, manufacturers, and staff should consider best practices in pool maintenance and renovation.

Title: Update from the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (and why you should join). pdf icon[PDF – 2 pages] (May 2016)
Summary: In this column, Douglas Sackett, Executive Director of the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC), discusses how the MAHC was developed to promote healthy and safe swimming, the first Vote on the Code conference, and planning for the next MAHC update cycle.

Title: CDC Issues New Model Aquatic Health Codeexternal icon (August 2016)
Summary: The second edition of the Model Aquatic Health Code has been released and includes a variety of changes, from minor to substantial.

Title: Secondary Sanitation Required in Delawareexternal icon (January 2016)
Summary: Among several changes to its commercial-pool code, Delaware will require a form of secondary sanitation in certain pools as of Jan. 2, 2016. The updated pool and spa code will require such systems on wading pools, treatment pools, spray pads and vessels designated to serve the differently abled. The requirements apply to new construction and renovations.

2015

Title: CMAHC welcomes eight new sponsorsexternal icon (September 29, 2015)
Summary: Organizations made donations to sustain the Model Aquatic Health Code.

Title: CMAHC Welcomes Eight New Sponsorsexternal icon (September 24, 2015)
Summary: Leading organizations make substantial donations to sustain the Model Aquatic Health Code, striving for a higher aquatic health and safety standard.

Title: Update on MAHC Meetingexternal icon (September 30, 2015)
Summary: As the Model Aquatic Health Code undergoes its first revision, the committee charged with shepherding its development has made some changes to the development process and announced logistics for streaming of its October meeting.

Title: Group to Meet for MAHC Updateexternal icon (September 2, 2015)
Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code will take a vote among its members to determine which of the more than 150 proposed changes to adopt in the second edition. Before that, the group, which aids the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by shepherding the continual improvement of the first federal aquatics standard, will meet in October to discuss the revision requests.

Title: Model Aquatic Health Code to Undergo First Revisionexternal icon (September 1, 2015)
Summary: After receiving more than 150 requests for revisions, the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code will take a vote among its members to help determine which changes will be implemented.

Title: Problems at relatively new Smith pool persistexternal icon (August 24, 2015)
Summary: Five years after opening, an aquatics facility is closed as it undergoes renovations and repairs.

Title: Parasites immune to water treatment may still be lurking in poolsexternal icon (June 29, 2015)
Summary: Summer season has officially started and with this, pools and even hot tubs owners are starting to open their doors to the public. However, before you jump into the inviting water, a new report states that parasites are now immune to water treatment methods and can be the main cause for the wide-spread of swimming pool contamination incidents in the country.

Title: More treated pools and hot tubs are contaminated with parasites, and infecting peopleexternal icon (June 27, 2015)
Summary: Pools and hot tubs have always been known to be epicenters of infection. Despite the many attempts to kill bacteria and other assorted germs with chemicals like chlorine, certain unsanitary practices (like peeing in the pool, for instance) may undermine treatment methods and spread disease. But does that mean we should refrain from swimming altogether?

Title: Almost 1800 sickened: It’s summer (up north), but beware the waterexternal icon (June 26, 2015)
Summary: Outbreaks of illness associated with recreational water use result from exposure to chemicals or infectious pathogens in recreational water venues that are treated (e.g., pools and hot tubs or spas) or untreated (e.g., lakes and oceans).

Title: Swimming pool, hot tub water contamination increasing in the USexternal icon (June 25, 2015)
Summary: Outbreaks of illness in pools, hot tubs and lakes throughout the United States have been increasing in recent years as a result of a parasite called Cryptosporidium.

Title: Hlavsa MC, Kunz JM, Beach MJ. It’s all about the return on investment: the model aquatic health code. pdf icon[PDF – 2 pages] J Environ Hlth. 2015;77:34-35. (May 2015)
Summary: Now that the MAHC has been released, tracking the code’s impact is vital to its long-term success. In this column, CDC authors Michele Hlavsa, Jasen Kunz, and Michael Beach discuss tracking the MAHC’s impact in key areas with the top five public pool states and how the MAHC will be updated in the future. This article was published in the May 2015 issue of the Journal of Environmental Health. pdf icon[PDF – 1 page]

Title: CMAHC Announces Voting Is Open on MAHC Changesexternal icon (December 20, 2015)
Summary: The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) announced that voting on the 159 Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) Change Requests (CRs) is open for members through Dec. 20, 2015.

Title: NACCHO Recommends Best Practices for Recreational Water Venuesexternal icon (March 2015)
Summary: 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.

Title: Healthy and Safe Swimming Week Provides Local Health Departments with Tools to Kick off Summerexternal icon (May 19, 2015)
Summary: Local health departments are charged with keeping their communities protected through public swimming venue inspections, and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awareness initiative provides them with the tools and resources to do so effectively.

Title: Statement of Policy 15-01; Recreational Water Safety pdf icon[PDF – 4 pages]external icon (February 25, 2015)
Summary: Calls for an Increased Focus on Improved Recreational Water Safety

NACCHO, the national organization representing local public health departments across the United States, released a new policy statement calling for a renewed focus on improving recreational water safety. The statement emphasizes the importance of pool inspection and other recreational water safety activities and specifically mentions the Model Aquatic Health Code as a tool health departments can use to decrease waterborne injury and illness while promoting healthy swimming.

Title: While the Weather Outside is Frightful, Plan for Pools that are Delightful: Explore the Model Aquatic Health Codeexternal icon (January 6, 2015)
Summary: This winter is a great time for communities to get ready for the summer swim season with the first edition of the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC). The code is a valuable resource for states and localities committed to reducing health risks by updating or creating pool codes based on the latest science.

2014

Title: The First Edition of the Model Aquatic Health Code Is Now Available: What’s Next? pdf icon[PDF – 3 pages] (December 2014)
Summary: Authors Jason Kunz and Michael Beach describe the expected implementation impact of the Model Aquatic Health Code and the plan for keeping the code current and relevant.

Title: Update on the Model Aquatic Health Code pdf icon[PDF – 3 pages] (May 2014)
Summary: Author Rob Blake discusses the proposed operational guidelines for the Model Aquatic Health Code and progress to date.

Title: A Decade after CSTE’s Call to Action, a New Voluntary Model Health Code Launchesexternal icon (October 2014)
Summary: What began with strong surveillance and epidemiologic data supporting a CSTE position statement has spurred a national, multidisciplinary model pool code development process, a multi-thousand-person public dialogue, and the creation of a new non-profit organization to ensure the model code remains up to date. By Douglas Sackett, executive director of the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Codeexternal icon.

Title: CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code, First Edition (September 2014)
Summary: The first edition of the Model Aquatic Health Code was released on August 29, 2014, and is now available from CDC.

Title: CDC Issues Guidance to Improve Health and Safety at Public Pools (August 2014)
Summary: CDC advisory to media on the launch of the Model Aquatic Health Code 1st Edition.

Title: Model Aquatic Health Code Updateexternal icon (July/August 2014)
Summary: Author Dale McFarland, General Manager of the KeyLime Cove Water Resort, discusses the upcoming MAHC First Edition due for release this summer. Note: Click “skip” on the next page; there is no need to sign in.

Title: How ‘Bout that MAHCexternal icon (October 2014)
Summary: The MAHC will help us all to kick it up a notch at our aquatic facilities, whether they are brand new, or old and out of date. Most of all, it will assist those states and municipalities that have been without adequate and up to date pool codes.

Title: MAHC Releasedexternal icon (October 2014) See page 11 of the online publication for more information.
Summary: After seven years in the making, the first edition of the Model Aquatic Health Code has been released.

Title: The MAHC is Now Availableexternal icon (September 2014)
Summary: Nearly 10 years in the making, the first federal Model Aquatic Heath Code has been officially released.

Title: As MAHC Moves Forward, A Look Backexternal icon (May 2014)
Summary: After nearly 10 years, the first comprehensive version of the Model Aquatic Health Code is almost complete.

Title: Blind Spotexternal icon (March 2014)
Summary: Article discussing why HMAC aquatics facilities are giving the industry a bad name and what can be done to change it.

Title: Federal Model Code Hits Final Stretchexternal icon (March 2014)
Summary: Article discussing the remaining steps in development and release of the full MAHC in 2014.

Title: Public Comments Being Taken for MAHCexternal icon (March 2014)
Summary: The Model Aquatic Health Code, the federally created health and safety code covering all areas of public pools and aquatics facilities, from water chemistry to lifeguard training, is up for public comment for the last time.

Title: This Month’s Feature Profile in Public Health Law: Interview with Robert G. Blake (May 2014)
Summary: Robert Blake, CDC health scientist, discusses his role in the development of the Model Aquatic Health Code and its impact on public health.

Title: Progress on the Model Aquatic Health Codeexternal icon (March 2014)
Summary: Article previewing the release of the first full draft of the MAHC and its effects on aquatic facility operators.

2013

Title: Healthy and Safe Swimming: Pool Chemical–Associated Health Events pdf icon[PDF – 3 pages] (May 2013)
Summary: Column discussing prevention of health events associated with pool chemicals. The article includes examples of pool chemical posters as well as information on how the MAHC can be a beneficial tool in preventing accidents involved with pool chemicals.

Title: Clearing Up Something About the MAHCexternal icon (May 2013)
Summary: A blog post discussing the concept of a “model code” and what it means for those considering adopting it.

2012

Title: It’s Time to Adopt the CDC Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) for Pools and Hot Tubsexternal icon (September 2012)
Summary: A blog post showcasing the importance of the Model Aquatic Health Code for local and state agencies.

Title: What’s the Latest on the CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC)?external icon (August 2012)
Summary: A blog post announcing three MAHC modules open for public comment and detailing the MAHC development process and upcoming events.

Title: Bringing Science to the Poolsideexternal icon – NPHIC News, page 10 (September-October 2012)
Summary: An article introducing the Model Aquatic Health Code and describing its goals, development process, and what it can achieve.

Title: Don’t Tread Water, Make a Splash: Promoting Public Health and Safety Through the Model Aquatic Health Codeexternal icon (August 2012)
Summary: A blog post highlighting the history, organization, and goals of the Model Aquatic Health Code, as well as the development process and incorporation of public comments.

Title: Wading Through the Rulesexternal icon (July 2012)
Summary: A summary of the four initiatives currently shaping the aquatics sector including the 1) Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC), 2) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance, 3) Energy-Efficient Codes, 4) The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (VGB).

Title: Will MAHC Kill Competitive Swimming?external icon (October 2012)
Summary: Concern has arisen over a provision in one section of the Model Aquatic Health Code that’s now up for public comment.

Title: Key MAHC Modules Up for Reviewexternal icon (October 2012)
Summary: Individuals from across the industry have been working with experts at the Centers for Disease Control to develop a Model Aquatic Health Code.

Title: Agencies Sign Code Agreementexternal icon (July 2012)
Summary: The National Environmental Health Association, the International Code Council, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance collaboration and recognize the co-existence of the International Swimming Pool & Spa Code and the Model Aquatic Health Code.

Title: Tools of the Tradeexternal icon (June 2012)
Summary: Operators are the heart of any aquatics facility.

Title: Access for Allexternal icon (June 2012)
Summary: With the recent spate of government regulations and codes — VGB, ADA, MAHC, ISPSC — the aquatics industry has just about had it with the feds.

Title: MAHC Proposes CYA Restrictionexternal icon (May 2012)
Summary: The recommendation in the latest working draft of the MAHC to recommend cyanuric acid (CYA) only in outdoor pools has caused concern among some in the aquatics industry.

Title: Federal Mandatesexternal icon (May 2012)
Summary: A look at 2012 laws, regulations and guidelines. What you need to know to operate an aquatics facility this season.

Title: RISK MANAGEMENT Safety Factors, The chair of the MAHC Risk Management/Safety Module explains what went into its development and how it might affect youexternal icon (March 2012)
Summary: Discussion on the MAHC Risk Management Module by MAHC Technical Chairperson Amy Duck.

Title: Safety Factorsexternal icon (March 2012)
Summary: In April 2009, a committee was formed to develop the Risk Management/Safety Module for the CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code.

Title: Built on Evidenceexternal icon (January 2012)
Summary: The goal of the Model Aquatic Health Code is to codify scientifically proven data in the aquatics industry.

Title: Chuck Neumanexternal icon (January 2012)
Summary: From the time he started his first business, a pool construction company, in 1973, Chuck Neuman has never been afraid to dig into a new project.

Title: 2011 Industry Newsexternal icon (January 2012)
Summary: Embattled red cross launches a new guard program.

Title: International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials to Work With Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to Ensure Swimming Pool Safety pdf icon[PDF – 1 page]external icon (May 2012)
Summary: The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have signed a Memorandum of Intent to strengthen understanding and eliminate conflicts between CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) and IAPMO’s Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa and Hot Tub Code® (USPSHTC).

Title: ICC, CDC and NEHA Unite to Enhance Public Safetyexternal icon (May 2012)
Summary: Representatives from the International Code Council, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Environmental Health Association have entered into a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance the safety of aquatic facilities.

Title: Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) and International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC) pdf icon[PDF – 4 pages] (May 2012)
Summary: Discussion of the partnership interactions between the MAHC and the ICC Building Code.

Title: All Together Now: New Code Aims at Standards for Nation’s Poolsexternal icon (Jan 2012)
Summary: An in-depth look at the inception of the MAHC and its subsequent progress; includes quotes from various MAHC committee members.

2011

Title: Model Aquatic Health Code Promotes Safe Swimming and Pools pdf icon[PDF – 1 page] (May 2011)
Summary: Description of the MAHC and explanation of its many benefits to local boards of health.

Title: Healthy Swimming and Recreational Watersexternal icon (Spring 2011)
Summary: NEHA encouraging members to review and comment on the MAHC modules.

Title: MAHC Moving Forwardexternal icon (November 2011)
Summary: Those charged with developing the Model Aquatic Health Code anticipate that all but three modules are likely to be ready for public comment by the end of the year.

Title: MAHC Module Up for Public Commentexternal icon (June 2011)
Summary: Individuals from across the industry have been working with experts at the Centers for Disease Control to develop a Model Aquatic Health Code.

Title: Nothing But Airexternal icon (June 2011)
Summary: Have you ever calculated how much urine and sweat are in the average pool? The number might surprise you

Title: Training Requiredexternal icon (March 2011)
Summary: Are you a certified operator? Does your facility have one on staff? If not, you may be running afoul of the first set of MAHC guidelines.

Title: Up to Codeexternal icon (March 2011)
Summary: Have you ever worked at a public pool and felt a degree of panic not knowing if your pool was in compliance with the requirements of public health code?

Title: Viewpoint: Training Requiredexternal icon (March 2011)
Summary: Are you a certified operator? Does your facility have one on staff? If not, you may be running afoul of the first set of MAHC guidelines.
Note: The current version of the MAHC Operator Training Module does not include a specified length of time required for an operator training course.

Title: Keepers of the Codeexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: The Model Aquatic Health Code is coming.

Title: 2011 POWER 25: Keepers of the Codeexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: Get to know the professionals leading the creation of CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC).

Title: Capt. Charles Otto IIIexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: He hasn’t found a cure for cancer or put an end to the common cold, but the United States is a healthier nation thanks to Capt. Charles Otto III, U.S. Public Health Service.

Title: Power 25: Doug Sackettexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: Doug Sackett has worked in aquatics since he came to the New York State Health Department more than 30 years ago, and in that time he’s been responsible for a lot. But not even an investigation of a major 2005 crypto outbreak that has resulted in the industry’s first class action lawsuit compares with his work overseeing the Model Aquatic Health Code.

Title: Michael Beach, Ph.D.external icon (February 2011)
Summary: Anyone in aquatics who doesn’t already know the name Dr. Michael Beach soon will. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s associate director for healthy water, Beach is one of the nation’s foremost experts on recreational water illnesses.

Title: Joe Hunsakerexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: Joe Hunsaker has spent a lifetime making his mark in aquatics, first as a national level competitive swimmer, and later as a founder of one of the nation’s leading aquatic design firms, Counsilman-Hunsaker.

Title: Frank Guidoexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: As assistant Commissioner at the Westchester County (N.Y.) Bureau of Public Health Protection, Frank Guido was responsible for 600 public pools and more than 40 public bathing beaches.

Title: Colleen Maitozaexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: You won’t find many environmental health professionals as dedicated to aquatics as Colleen Maitoza.

Title: Franceen Gonzalesexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: Franceen Gonzales was proud when Great Wolf Lodge opened in Mason, Ohio, in 2006. She was the corporate director of aquatics at Madison, Wis.-based Great Wolf Resorts, overseeing operations and maintenance of the company’s nine waterparks.

Title: Lee Tateexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: Lee Tate may have retired from his job as an environmental engineer for the state of Georgia, but he’s not relaxing in a rocking chair or hitting the golf course just yet.

Title: Sung Choeexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: Until Sung Choe became part of the recreational water program at NSF International in 2004, he had very little to do with aquatics.

Title: Bob Vincentexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: There are approximately 38,000 public pools in Florida, and Bob Vincent is one man overseeing them all.

Title: Hero with a Thousand Facesexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: Our Power 25 issue is full of examples of people who are giving of themselves in a benevolent fashion. They are the men and women who have taken on the mighty task of crafting the Model Aquatic Health Code.

Title: John Linnexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: Just as Walt Disney was the man behind the mouse, you might say John Linn is the man behind the whale.

Title: Disney Experts Help Establish National Pool Safety Code (March 2011)
Summary: Two Disney employees, Amy Duck and Michael Beatty, have joined the MAHC effort to offer their expertise and insight.

Title: Model Health Code Making Waves in the Aquatics Industryexternal icon (February 2011)
Summary: Learn about the development and efforts behind the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC).

2010

Title: The Model Aquatic Health Code: Cracking the Code (November 2010)
Summary: Seven exclusive and free sessions focused on explaining the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC).

Title: The Model Aquatic Health Code: Cracking the Codeexternal icon (October 2010)
Summary: A massive new aquatic code with the potential to revolutionize the industry is in the works. Here’s a sneak peek at the code — and how to prepare for what’s coming.

Title: VGB x 1,000?external icon (October 2010)
Summary: For the aquatics industry, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act confirmed the worst fears about government regulation: It was carelessly crafted, poorly communicated, arbitrarily enforced and blindly implemented.

Title: Clarifying the Codeexternal icon (October 2010)
Summary: In the United States, there is no federal regulatory authority for disinfected recreational venues; all pool codes are developed, reviewed and approved by state and/or local public health officials.

Title: Coded Languageexternal icon (October 2010)
Summary: In the development of the Model Aquatic Health Code, one of the more challenging technical committees has been the group tackling lifeguarding/bather supervision.

Title: Cracking the Codeexternal icon (October 2010)
Summary: When officials in Charleston, S.C., heard that their state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control was going to start enforcing its lifeguard standard this year, they immediately closed half of the Martin Luther King Jr. Pool.

Title: Environmental Health: Model Aquatic Health Code in Development pdf icon[PDF – 1 page] (October 2010)
Summary: Local boards of health and their communities will benefit from the establishment of the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC).

Other Resources

Healthy Swimming newsroom: Additional information on healthy swimming and recreational water topics.

Page last reviewed: July 25, 2019