Two new national codes for pools and/or spas are being developed. Though their focuses are different, the possibility of overlapping and confusion is a concern for both sponsoring groups.
The Model Aquatic Health Code, spearheaded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would transform the various commercial pool regulations used by health departments around the nation into a uniform national code to ensure the health and safety of the swimming public.
Meanwhile, the Swimming Pool and Spa/Hot Tub Code (a joint effort of the International Code Council and the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals) is set to wrap up initial draft phases later this year. The ICC-APSP code will focus on installation of commercial and residential pools and spas.
“Standards for swimming pool design construction have typically been under the purview of the health department, so there’s a large body of expertise there,” said Doug Sackett, who is overseeing the project for the CDC.
Sackett, who’s also assistant director of the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Community Environmental Health & Food Protection, noted, “[Having two codes] is just adding an increased level or burden of regulatory overlap, and creating confusion and inconsistent requirements for regulated entities.”
Carvin DiGiovanni, senior director, technical and standards at APSP, agreed there’s potential for overlap. But, he said, efforts are in place to reduce any duplication of work. “We don’t want two codes that are going to conflict with each other,” DiGiovanni noted.
By this summer, all the remaining modules planned in the MAHC will have been put up for a public comment period, Sackett said.
The ICC-APSP partnership started approximately two years ago, with a goal of getting the code fully in place by 2010, Carvin DiGiovanni said.
“It’s not the purpose of the code to get into operations and management,” he added. “When it comes to healthy water, we need to defer to the CDC and what’s coming from health agencies.”
Beth Hamil, vice president of corporate compliance/market development at DEL Ozone in San Luis Obispo, Calif., was involved in creating the codes. She hopes similar language is adopted in areas that apply to both codes.
“In the interest of public health, we [must] look at how pools are being operated and bring them into ... the 21st century,” Hamil said.