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Healthy Swimming

Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC)

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In the United States, all pool codes are reviewed and approved by state and/or local public health officials. As a result, there are no uniform national standards governing design, construction, operation, and maintenance of swimming pools and other treated recreational water venues. Thus, the code requirements for preventing and responding to recreational water illnesses can vary significantly among local and state agencies. The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is intended to transform the typical health department program into a data-driven, knowledge-based, risk reduction effort to prevent disease and injuries and promote healthy recreational water experiences. This MAHC should ensure that the best available standards and practices for protecting public health are available for adoption by state and local agencies. It will provide uniform guidelines for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of swimming pools and other disinfected swimming venues to prevent recreational water illnesses and promote healthy recreational water experiences. There is no federal regulatory authority for disinfected recreational venues. As a result this Model Aquatic Health Code will serve as a model and guide for local and state agencies needing guidance to update or implement a MAHC in their jurisdiction.

This effort stems from a CDC-sponsored workshop titled "Recreational Water Illness Prevention at Disinfected Swimming Venues" convened on February 15-17, 2005, in Atlanta, Georgia. The workshop assembled persons from different disciplines working in state, local or federal public health agencies and the aquatics industry to discuss ways to minimize the public health risks associated with recreational water illnesses spread through disinfected swimming venues. CDC, through an initial grant from the National Swimming Pool Foundation, is working with public health and industry representatives across the United States to build this effort. Initial efforts will be focused on reducing the spread of recreational water illnesses at treated swimming venues.

Model Aquatic Health Code Outline and Vision (Draft 11/2007) PDF icon (PDF, 57 KB)


Steering Committee

Technical Committees

Information and Assistance

If you are interested in providing input into this process as a member of a technical committee, please contact Doug Sackett via email at

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