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Using the MAHC

This page has information to help you compare the MAHC with your jurisdiction’s existing pool codes. This is often a first step jurisdictions take when considering using or adopting the MAHC. To see how different groups can play a role in implementing the MAHC, see Information for Specific Groups.

Comparing the MAHC with Existing Pool Codes

Are the practices at your aquatic facility or the facilities in your jurisdiction up to date with the latest science? Compare your pool code and practices to those the MAHC recommends to reduce risk of drowning, outbreaks, and pool chemical injuries in your jurisdiction or facility. The examples below are for comparison purposes and are not intended as a replacement for full comparison with, or implementation of, the MAHC. The following practices are categorized as MAHC recommendations and MAHC Section numbers for:

  • Key changes in the 2018 MAHC,
  • Key MAHC recommendations for existing facilities, and
  • Key MAHC recommendations for newly constructed facilities or those being substantially altered.

Key MAHC Recommendations for Existing Facilities

Note: all MAHC Section numbers have been updated to reflect 2018 MAHC section numbers.

  • Recirculation Systems and Filtration
    • Improved flow meters (accurate to +/- 5%) (MAHC 4.7.1.9.1 & 5.7.1.8)
    • Interlocks between chemical feeders and recirculation system upon adoption (MAHC 4.7.3.2.1.3; 5.7.3.5.1.2; & 5.7.3.7.1.2)
    • Automatic feeders upon adoption (MAHC 4.7.3.2.7.1; 5.7.3.5.1; & 5.9.2.4.1)
    • Automated controllers within 1 year from adoption (MAHC 4.7.3.2.8 & 5.7.3.7.1)
  • Hygiene Facilities
    • Required diaper-changing stations (sink, etc.) (MAHC 4.10.4.5 & 5.10.4.5)
  • Disinfection and Water Quality
    • Combined chlorine reduction (MAHC 5.6.2.8)
    • Specifies that numerous pool chemicals must meet NSF/ANSI Standard 50 or 60 or EPA FIFRA registration (MAHC 5.7.3)
    • Sets maximum bromine level to 8ppm for all aquatic venues. (MAHC 5.7.3.1.2.3)
    • Cyanuric acid prohibited in spas and therapy pools to take effect 1 year after adoption (MAHC 5.7.3.1.3)
    • Requirements for existing gaseous chlorine disinfection systems (MAHC 5.7.3.1.4.1)
    • Check disinfectant/pH levels
      • prior to opening aquatic facility (MAHC 5.7.5.1)
      • every 4 hours for automated controllers (MAHC 5.7.5.3);
      • every 2 hours for disinfectant feeders with no automated controller (MAHC 5.7.5.2)
    • Body fluid contamination response (MAHC 6.5)
    • Guidance for responding to Legionella contamination (MAHC 6.5.3.6)
  • Facility Maintenance and Operation
    • Water replacement of 4 gallons/bather/day for control of organic/inorganic contaminants, which is generally met by backwashing losses(MAHC 5.6.7.4.2)
  • Operator Training
    • Delineates operator training qualifications (MAHC 6.1.1.1) and course essential topics (MAHC 6.1.2)
    • Required on-site (MAHC 6.3.1.1), off-site (MAHC 6.3.1.2) operator staffing requirements by venue type upon adoption.
  • Lifeguarding/Bather Supervision
    • Lifeguard zones of patron surveillance are required in aquatic facility plans submitted for review. (MAHC 4.1.2.3.11)
    • Lifeguard training course content (MAHC 6.2.1.1)
    • Required CPR training every year (MAHC 6.2.1.3.5)
    • Required lifeguard supervisor training course content (MAHC 6.2.2)
    • Delineates facilities requiring lifeguards (MAHC 6.3.2)
    • Required Safety Plan including staffing, zones of patron surveillance, rotation, supervision, emergency action plan (MAHC 6.3.3)
    • Lifeguarding zones of patron surveillance now performance-based with performance criteria (MAHC 6.3.3.1.1)
    • Lifeguard supervisor required (MAHC 6.3.4.4)
  • Risk Management/Safety
    • Slip resistance must meet requirements of ANSI standard. (MAHC 4.2.1.9 and 4.5.16.1 and 4.8.1.4.2 and 4.10.3.1)
    • For unguarded aquatic venues, self-latching mechanisms must be at 4.5 feet to reduce risk of young children entering without an adult. (MAHC 4.8.6.3.7)
    • Underwater lighting branch circuits require GFCI as per NEC if operating at higher voltages. (MAHC 5.6.1.1.3.1)
    • Required preventive maintenance plan (MAHC 5.4.2.1.1)
    • Employee illness (MAHC 6.3.4.7)
    • Daily or other inspection checks (MAHC 6.4.1.3)
    • Defined imminent health hazards for closure (MAHC 6.6.3)
    • Starting platforms must be removed, covered, or blocked from use during all recreational or non-competitive swimming activities (MAHC 5.8.3.1.2)
    • Hardwired phone or system for emergency (MAHC 5.8.5.2.1.2)
    • Lifeguards required if alcohol served in aquatic venue (MAHC 6.3.2.1)
    • Enhanced signage requirements (MAHC 6.4.2.2)
    • Swimmer empowerment requirements (MAHC 6.4.2.3)
    • Posting pool inspection scores (MAHC 6.4.2.3.2)

Key MAHC Recommendations for Newly Constructed or Substantially Altered Facilities

  • Facility Design and Construction
    • All plans shall be prepared by a design professional who is registered or licensed to practice their respective design profession as defined by the state or local laws (MAHC 4.1.1.4)
    • Incorporation of water type (flat, agitated, hot) in aquatic venue design for “Theoretical Peak Occupancy” (MAHC 4.1.2.3.5)
    • The layout for zones of patron surveillance shall be included (MAHC 4.1.2.3.11)
    • Prohibition of wood, earth, or sand as an interior finish on aquatic venues (MAHC 4.2.1.10)
    • Acoustic criteria for natatorium design to reduce noise levels (MAHC 4.6.11)
    • Guidance for regulation of floatation tanks (MAHC 4.12.10/5.12.10)
  • Recirculation Systems and Filtration
    • Decreased filtration flow rate used in design
      • No more than 15 gallons/min/ft2 of surface area for bed depth of 15 inches or more (MAHC 4.7.2.2.3.1 & 5.7.2.1.1)
      • No more than 12 gallons/min/ft2 of surface area for bed depth of less than 15 inches (MAHC 4.7.2.2.3.1.1 & 5.7.2.1.1.1)
    • Increased backwash rates to no less than 15 gallons/min/ft2 of surface area (MAHC 4.7.2.2.3.2 & 5.7.2.1.2)
    • Interlocks between chemical feeders and recirculation system upon adoption (MAHC 4.7.3.2.1.3; 5.7.3.5.1.2; & 5.7.3.7.1.2)
  • Disinfection and Water Quality
    • Performance-based criteria for disinfectant feeder sizing using stated chlorine demand factors (MAHC 4.7.3.2.2.2-0003/4.7.3.2.2.3/5.7.3.5.1.5)
    • Secondary disinfection on increased risk venues (MAHC 4.7.3.3.1.2)
    • Interior chemical storage spaces must be under negative pressure and must exhaust to exterior (MAHC 4.9.2.5)
    • Prohibition of gaseous chlorine disinfection systems (MAHC 4.9.2.11)
  • Risk Management/Safety
    • Design needs to include consultation with owner/aquatic risk manager and address the layout of zones of patron surveillance (MAHC 4.5.1)
    • Slip resistance must meet requirements of ANSI standard. (MAHC 4.2.1.9 and 4.5.16.1 and 4.8.1.4.2 and 4.10.3.1)
    • For unguarded aquatic venues, self-latching mechanisms must be at 4.5 feet to reduce risk of young children entering without an adult. (MAHC 4.8.6.3.7)
    • Underwater lighting branch circuits require GFCI as per NEC if operating at higher voltages. (MAHC 5.6.1.1.3.1)
    • Fencing must be 6 ft. (MAHC 4.8.6.2.4.2), chain link fence with 1.75 inch mesh (MAHC 4.8.6.2.1.2)
    • Eye wash stations required near chemical storage area (MAHC 4.9.2.1.4)
  • Hygiene Facilities
    • Hygiene facility distance from pools; 300 ft. for general venues, 200 ft. for kiddie pool (MAHC 4.10.2)
    • Rinse showers required at aquatic venues (MAHC 4.10.4.3)
  • Lifeguarding/Bather Supervision
    • Any new pool over 5 feet in depth at any point will require a lifeguard from the date of acceptance of the code (MAHC 6.3.2.1)
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