The nation’s federal aquatics code is about to get its first update.
After receiving more than 150 requests for revisions, the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code will take a vote among its members to help determine which changes will be implemented.
The CMAHC, charged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to compile and review input for updating the code, will meet Oct. 6-7 at the World Aquatic Health Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., to discuss the possible changes.
“We want as broad a base from all different sectors to bring their knowledge and expertise to the table and have a say on the code,” said Douglas Sackett, CMAHC’s executive director.
At the sessions, CMAHC’s Technical Review Committee will address some proposals, indicating whether it believes they are supported by available documentation. Some who suggested more significant changes also will be onhand to present.
“The conference is to inform members and attendees of the more significant items that need discussion,” Sackett said.
Proposals are accessible to CMAHC members on the organization’s website. Reports from the Technical Review Committee regarding some of the suggestions are expected to be posted at least two weeks before the meeting.
To vote, an individual must be a CMAHC member. Polling will take place electronically over a two-week period, starting during the meeting. It will be weighted so public health officials and industry professionals have equal influence. “So you can’t have one sector maybe get together ... so that the pure numbers overwhelm everybody else,” Sackett said.
After the results are tallied, the CMAHC will send its recommendations to the CDC for consideration. The code, first published in summer 2014, will be updated every other year.
Some suggestions certainly stand to carry more impact than others. One would change the sizing of chlorinators. The CMAHC has identified this issue as a major one, assembling a group to collect and evaluate available data. In the proposed multi-step process for figuring chlorine dosages, operators would calculate a base number from the pool’s gallonage, number of bathers and whether it is indoors or outdoors. That figure then would be adjusted for factors such as high temperatures, heavy dust and dirt load, and aeration from features such as waterfalls, wave pools, water slides and kiddie pools.
Changes to target cyanuric acid levels also have been proposed. One would reduce the cap from 100 parts per million to 20. Another would remove the requirement for CYA in indoor pools that are never in direct sunlight.
CMAHC also will consider whether to remove handhold requirements for lazy rivers. When users grab on, a submission stated, it will force those behind to stop, causing a backlog on crowded rivers and potentially spurring some to force their way past or get into confrontations.
One aquatics professional proposed making surf pools its own category to account for the different ratio of users to water surface. Another wants to add language stating that features and items not specifically mentioned in the MAHC must be made to a nationally recognized standard.
If another proposal is approved, water slides would have to be installed with a scale when more than one person can ride on a raft or tube. This way, the submitter said, riders will not have to be relied upon to calculate their combined weight and determine whether it falls within posted maximums.
Like other model codes, the MAHC only applies to areas that adopt it.
The Scottsdale meetings will be streamed via the Internet.
CMAHC membership costs $40 for two years.