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  • The MAHC: Evolution or Revolution for the Future?

    Blog by:  Tom Lachocki


    I heard a thought leader, a friend, take issue with adoption of the CDC Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) since it’s being positioned as an “evolution” in design and operations rather than a needed “revolution.”

    Half of the United States is not united on requiring that the person operating the public pool have any verifiable training.  Designers, architects, engineers and builders create pools that minimize risk, but if they are driven by uneducated operators, then the kids playing in the pool are at greater risk. 

    Like many "mass" phenomena, they can be represented by a bell curve (normal distribution). On one end are fabulous state of the art facilities that are ideal to protect against acute illness (RWIs) and against chronic illness (DPBs). On the other end of the bell curve are cesspools disguised as swimming pools with dated engineering and ignorant operations. What seems "evolutionary" to a leader is “revolutionary” to the low end of the bell curve.

    Don't be discouraged by the word or thought of "evolution" versus "revolution." Which end of the bell curve poses the greatest risk to people? If a MAHC is adopted and it raises the bar a little for the top half of the bell curve and a lot for the bottom half of the bell curve, wouldn’t that be a good thing?  If you agree with my logic, then become a champion for adoption of the MAHC.  

    What we have been doing, has not been working. Having 80-90+ codes around the country is a fabulous waste of time for government, industry, and aquatic facilities. Having operators with no verifiable training is reckless. A MAHC unadopted is a MAHC undone.  A MAHC unadopted is a future undone. Help get it adopted. It will be the best kind of revolution, one that can evolve. 

    To learn more about the MAHC, watch the five 50-minute video seminars in the RWI track from the 2012 World Aquatic Health Conference.

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  • It’s time to adopt the CDC Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) for pools and hot tubs

    Blog by:  Tom Lachocki


    The National Swimming Pool Foundation has links to 78 state, county and city codes posted on our website.

    Typical Health Code Process

    The typical health code process involves having a group of local stakeholders from government and industry taking substantial time to update the local code. The draft usually goes through a public comment period, where people can challenge the health code if they don’t agree with it. Then, the health code gets edited or a diplomatic response goes back to the commenter.  Depending on the changes, the health code goes through another public comment period and, eventually, it gets approved and becomes official. 
    By now, the good-hearted health official has developed gray hair (or it falls out like in my case). Those in the pool and spa industry develop higher blood pressure because now they have to make sure they are compliant with the new health code.

    Let’s Adopt a Standard Code

    How much time do you think we waste every five years updating and trying to comply with 78+ health codes? Isn’t it about time we all started working with, and ultimately adopting, the CDC Model Aquatic Health Code.

    The bonus is that we get to give people in the federal government gray hair (sorry Michael Beach).  But the FACT is, there is no federal authority for disinfected recreational venues. As a result, the MAHC, a model code, will serve as a guide for local and state agencies to update or implement a pool and spa code in their jurisdiction. It’s not another mandate, it’s a model that will be user-friendly, knowledge-based, and scientifically supported.


    To learn more about the MAHC, join the live stream of the MAHC seminars from the World Aquatic Health Conference on October 11.  Click here to check out the agenda and to register.


    Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D. is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Swimming Pool Foundation® that hosts the annual World Aquatic Health™ Conference and the Step Into Swim™ Campaign.  He earned his B.S. from Lock Haven University in Chemistry, and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Louisiana State University. Prior to joining NSPF, he was responsible for product development with a $600 million per year recreational water treatment and consumer product business. 

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  • What’s the latest on the CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC)?

    Blog by:  Tracynda Davis

    Most of us have heard about the MAHC. Many have provided comments and participated in one or more technical committees. If you have not heard, the MAHC provides the most comprehensive guidelines on public swimming pool safety. Not only does it cover swimming pools, but also spas, waterparks, and other aquatic facilities.
    The CDC has recently posted three more modules on the MAHC for public comment:

    • Facility Design and Construction
    • Contamination Burden
    • Lifeguarding/Bather Supervision

    This leaves two left, which are currently in final review by CDC. Once all the modules are posted, they will be combined into one document and open for one last 60 day public comment period. The deadline for public comments for the three modules above is 10/14/12.

    To review the modules and submit comments please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/pools/mahc/structure-content/

    This week, the Network for Public Health Law is hosting a free webinar on the MAHC on August 16 from 1-2:00 PM EST. The first 30 minutes will cover the MAHC, while the second half will cover the legal standard of care. To register go to: http://www.aslme.org/webinar-model-aquatic-health-code

    The NSPF hosts the World Aquatic Health™ Conference on October 10-12th. On October 11th, there will be five sessions on specific MAHC modules. For more information and to register for the conference visit:  http://nspf.org/en/Conference/Conference2012.aspx

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