Pool Code Updates and Use of the Model Aquatic Health Code in Local Jurisdictions

Dec 23, 2019 | Michelle Shapiro

Discover the main barriers preventing local jurisdictions from updating their pool codes in a new report from NACCHO.

Local public health agencies work hard to reduce the risk for outbreaks, drowning, and pool chemical-related injuries in their communities. NACCHO examined the regulatory successes and challenges these agencies encounter.

Through key informant interviews, respondents shared the status of their pool codes and process for updating pool codes, as well as their knowledge and use of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) and corresponding resources.

Here are a few of the key findings:

  • Process for Pool Code Updates: The authority of local public health agencies to update pool codes depends on state and local regulations, with the majority required to keep rules at least as strict as the state’s rules. Pool codes updates often lack set schedules, and they require complex legislative processes that may involve local agencies and stakeholders.
  • Barriers and Catalysts for Pool Code Updates: The main barriers that prevent local jurisdictions from updating their pool codes include competing interests of stakeholders and partners; prioritization of other public health policies; and the time, effort, and costs associated with pool code changes. Catalysts for updating pool codes include public pressure following recreational water-related injuries and drownings and state-level commitment to code improvements.
  • Use of the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC): While local jurisdictions appreciate the MAHC as an evidence-based, comprehensive tool with consistent standards, its length, perceived strictness, and complexity can make it challenging to understand and implement.

Learn more about how jurisdictions are updating pool codes and using the MAHC: http://bit.ly/MAHCBrief.

This assessment was supported by a cooperative agreement awarded to NACCHO and funded by the CDC.


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About Michelle Shapiro

Michelle Shapiro was formerly a communication specialist for the Environmental Health & Disability team at NACCHO.

More posts by Michelle Shapiro

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