Jul 27, 2016

CDC Releases 2016 Model Aquatic Health Code

Second edition includes important updates

pool, health code, updates, swimming

The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2016 Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) July 15, 2016. The second edition includes important updates to the first edition, which was released in 2014.

MAHC is a voluntary guidance document based on science and best practices that can help local and state authorities and the aquatics sector make swimming and other water activities healthier and safer. States and localities can use MAHC to create or update existing pool codes to reduce risk for outbreaks, drowning and pool chemical injuries. MAHC guidelines are all-inclusive and address the design, construction, operation, maintenance, policies and management of public aquatic facilities. It is free, accessible to all and backed by CDC. MAHC is updated every two years.

"For the 2016 edition, the CDC accepted 84 (91%) of the 92 MAHC change requests (CR) that the CMAHC membership passed, plus one editorial CR that was not passed," said Doug Sackett, executive director of the CMAHC. "We are thankful for the thoughtful and detailed suggestions of our members during the review and voting process, which continue to strengthen the MAHC. We are pleased that our membership, in partnership with the CDC, is improving the use and importance of the MAHC, thereby helping to improve the health and safety of guests and staff at public aquatic facilities across the U.S."

The 2016 MAHC includes structural changes, clarifying edits and new or revised recommendations in the areas of disinfection and water quality, lifeguarding and bather supervision, risk management and safety, and ventilation and air quality. 

Resources on the MAHC website include:

  • The 2016 MAHC including two documents—the model code language with the scientific rationale for recommendations;
  • A summary of key changes and a track changes version with line-by-line edits;
  • A MAHC-based inspection form;
  • An updated MAHC infographic, factsheet and other health promotion materials; and
  • An updated tool to help users compare their pool code and practices to those MAHC recommends.

Authorities can get involved by:

  • Exploring the MAHC website to check out the 2016 edition and supporting materials;
  • Joining the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code, which collects and votes on requested MAHC changes to recommend to CDC for final decision;
  • Joining the Network for the Model Aquatic Health Code, a community of MAHC users, subject matter experts and those hoping to learn about the code (it includes regular webinars); and
  • Helping spread the word about the 2016 MAHC by sharing this information with colleagues through email, newsletters and social media.