Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Using the MAHC

This page contains 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 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 2016 MAHC,
  • Key MAHC recommendations for existing facilities, and
  • Key MAHC recommendations for newly constructed facilities or those being substantially altered.

Key Changes in the 2016 MAHC (2nd Edition)

  • Lifeguarding and Bather Supervision
    • Lifeguard zones of patron surveillance are required in aquatic facility plans submitted for review. (
  • Risk Management and Safety
    • Slip resistance is now testable and must meet requirements of new ANSI standard. ( and and and
    • For unguarded aquatic venues, requirements for self-latching mechanisms have been raised from 3.5 feet to 4.5 feet to reduce risk of young children entering without an adult. (
    • Underwater lighting branch circuits now require GFCI as per NEC if operating at higher voltages. (
  • Ventilation and Air Quality
    • Carbon monoxide detectors, with local alarming, shall be installed in all equipment rooms and rooms adjacent to spaces containing fuel-burning equipment or vents carrying the products of combustion. ( and
  • Disinfection and Water Quality
    • Sets maximum bromine level to 8ppm for all aquatic venues. (
    • When performing diarrheal/Cryptosporidium decontamination in aquatic venues, maximum allowable cyanuric acid concentration has been lowered from 50 ppm to 15 ppm. (

Key MAHC Recommendations for Existing Facilities

Note: all MAHC Section numbers have been updated to reflect 2016 MAHC section numbers.

  • Recirculation Systems and Filtration
    • Improved flow meters (accurate to +/- 5%) (MAHC &
    • Interlocks between chemical  feeders and recirculation system upon adoption (MAHC;; &
    • Automatic feeders upon adoption (MAHC;; &
    • Automated controllers within 1 year from adoption (MAHC &
  • Hygiene Facilities
    • Required diaper-changing stations (sink, etc.) (MAHC &
  • Disinfection and Water Quality
    • Combined chlorine reduction (MAHC
    • Cyanuric acid prohibited in spas and therapy pools for years after adoption (MAHC
    • Requirements for existing gaseous chlorine disinfection systems (MAHC
    • Check disinfectant/pH levels
      • prior to opening aquatic facility (MAHC
      • every 4 hours for automated controllers (MAHC;
      • every 2 hours for disinfectant feeders with no automated controller (MAHC
    • Body fluid contamination response (MAHC 6.5)
  • 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
  • Operator Training
    • Delineates operator training  qualifications (MAHC and course essential topics (MAHC 6.1.2)
    • Required on-site (MAHC, off-site (MAHC operator staffing requirements by venue type upon adoption.
  • Lifeguarding/Bather Supervision
    • Lifeguard training course content (MAHC
    • Required CPR training every year (MAHC
    • 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
    • Lifeguard supervisor required (MAHC
  • Risk Management/Safety
    • Required preventive maintenance plan (MAHC
    • Employee illness (MAHC
    • Daily or other inspection checks (MAHC
    • 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
    • Hardwired phone or system for emergency (MAHC
    • Enhanced signage requirements (MAHC
    • Swimmer empowerment requirements (MAHC
    • Posting pool inspection scores (MAHC

Key MAHC Recommendations for Newly Constructed or Substantially Altered Facilities

  • Facility Design and Construction
    • Prohibition of wood, earth, or sand as an interior finish on aquatic venues (MAHC
  • Recirculation Systems and Filtration
    • Incorporation of water type (flat, agitated, hot) in aquatic venue design for “Theoretical Peak Occupancy” (MAHC
    • 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 &
      • No more than 12 gallons/min/ft2 of surface area for bed depth of less than 15 inches (MAHC &
    • Increased backwash rates to no less than 15 gallons/min/ft2 of surface area (MAHC &
    • Interlocks between chemical feeders and recirculation  system upon adoption (MAHC;; &
  • Disinfection and Water Quality
    • Secondary disinfection on increased risk venues (MAHC
    • Interior chemical storage spaces must be under negative pressure and must exhaust to exterior (MAHC
    • Prohibition of gaseous chlorine disinfection systems (MAHC
  • 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)
    • Fencing to 6 ft. (MAHC, chain link fence with 1.75 inch mesh (MAHC
    • Eye wash stations required near chemical storage area (MAHC
  • 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
  • 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