Recreational Water

Improve the capacity of your program to address health threats from recreational water using the resources below. This topic page contains links to resources produced by CDC’s Environmental Health Services Branch, our grantees, and other partners.

Featured Resources

Cover image of the Model Aquatic Health Code

CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) – guidelines to help government agencies and the aquatics sector make swimming healthier and safer at public pools and other aquatic facilities

Tools & Guidance

Council for the Model Aquatic Health CodeExternal – collects and votes on requested MAHC changes to recommend to CDC for final decision

Cryptosporidiosis Outbreak Response Evaluation (CORE) Cdc-pdf[PDF – 224 KB] – CDC guidelines for health departments, aquatics operators/managers, and child care program operators

Healthy Swimming/Recreational Water – CDC’s portal for information about swimming and recreational water illness prevention including brochures, posters, podcasts and more

Network for the Model Aquatic Health CodeExternal (National Association of County and City Health Officials [NACCHO]) – community of MAHC users, subject matter experts, and those hoping to learn about the code (includes regular webinars)

Recommendations for Preventing Pool Chemical–Associated Injuries – CDC recommendations, including a video, for preventing pool chemical-associated injuries

Statement of Policy on Recreational Water Safety Cdc-pdf[PDF – 325 KB]External (NACCHO) – policy statement emphasizing the importance of pool inspection and other recreational water safety activities at local health departments and encouraging use of the Model Aquatic Health Code

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act Cdc-pdf[PDF – 106 KB]External (Consumer Product Safety Commission) – requirements for swimming pool and spa drain cover performance


Environmental Public Health Online Courses (EPHOC) – comprehensive online courses for environmental public health practitioners on swimming pools and recreational facilities, among other topics (CDC in partnership with South Central Partnership)

Model Pool Code Video (Public Health Law Research) – short video featuring CDC staff on the Model Aquatic Health Code as a tool to prevent outbreaks, drowning, and chemical poisoning

Publications & Investigations

Health Hazard Evaluation Report: Investigation of Employee Symptoms at an Indoor Waterpark, Mason, OH Cdc-pdf[PDF – 1.3 MB] – results of a CDC investigation on the cause of symptoms reported at the Great Wolf Lodge indoor waterpark resort in Mason, Ohio (includes environmental assessment by CDC’s EHS)

Healthy Housing Reference Manual – CDC and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development manual addresses the impact of housing on health and safety and includes a chapter on swimming pools and spas

Immediate Closures and Violations Identified During Routine Inspections of Public Aquatic Facilities — Network for Aquatic Facility Inspection Surveillance, Five States, 2013.

Nonhygienic Behavior, Knowledge, and Attitudes Among Interactive Splash Park Visitors Cdc-pdf[PDF – 417 KB] (Journal of Environmental Health) – study of nonhygienic behavior among children at Idaho splash parks and the influences of signage and hygiene attendants

Ocular and Respiratory Symptoms Among Lifeguards at a Hotel Indoor Waterpark ResortExternal (Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine) – study to determine the cause of eye and respiratory irritation symptoms among lifeguards at an indoor waterpark

Outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis Associated with a Manmade Chlorinated Lake–Tarrant County, Texas, 2008. Cdc-pdf[PDF – 317 KB] (Journal of Environmental Health) – assessment of cryptosporidiosis cases associated with a manmade lake in Texas.

Preventing Recreational Water Illness OutbreaksExternal (National Swimming Pool Foundation) – article about a 2005 outbreak at a park linked to more than 3,000 illnesses and spread to 36 New York counties, 26 states, and two countries

Prevention and Control of Recreational Water Illnesses Cdc-pdf[PDF – 85 KB]External (Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists) – position paper concerning the prevention and control of recreational water illnesses

Recreational Water Publications – recreational water publications from CDC’s Environmental Health Services Branch

General Information & Other Useful Links

BeachesExternal (Environmental Protection Agency) – information about beaches, planning a trip to the beach, and beach protection

Center for Watershed ProtectionExternal – technical tools for protecting some of the nation’s most precious natural resources: our streams, lakes, and rivers

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week – educate your community about healthy and safe swimming during this annual health observance led by CDC

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Page last reviewed: August 1, 2016