The first draft of the Model Aquatic Health Code may be ready by autumn 2009.

Written by aquatics professionals and health experts, the MAHC is designed to be a comprehensive standard for aquatics facility development and operation. Topics include design, water chemistry, air quality, equipment and filtration.

The first version of a key section on fecal response has been finalized, while additional segments will be posted online in the coming months, said Doug Sackett, assistant director, New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Community Environmental Health & Food Protection.

“The whole reason for creating the MAHC in the first place is to prevent recreational water illnesses. In prioritizing, we determined that the first section should be the one dealing with fecal accidents,” said Sackett, who’s also director of the Aquatic Health Code and Risk Reduction Program for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

He noted that as additional topics become available for review, interested professionals can participate in the public comment periods for each section.

Currently, there are 12 technical committees of approximately 10 members each, all in various stages of developing pieces of the code. Committee members include health officials, pool operators, designers and manufacturers.

The MAHC will be available to everyone free of charge.

An outline of the entire code was released late last year and is available online at