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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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Comments  2

  • Dennis Ashworth 19 Nov

    Tom is to be congratulated for his comments.  The Model Aquatic Health Code is the beginning so that future generations can raise the requirements to maintain healthy buildings healthy employees healthy bathers and a healthy community.   The Model Aquatic Health Code is the minimum guideline not an opeartional guide of how to operate a swimming pool or spa.  Hopefully as each month passes by someone will suggest improvements.  From my position it is an incredible start.  It is the beginning of a fabulous future.  Everyone that spent thousands of hours writing and preparing the Code for others to read and copy to improve everyone who is involved in aquatics. Congratulations Tom.
  • Tom Lachocki 26 Nov

    Thanks for the kind words, Dennis.  NSPF deserve limited credit.  Our Board had the foresight to recognize that our current system for creating codes, city by city, county by county, state by state was not working. It is a tremendous waste of time duplicating effort in each jurisdiction.  Thus, gave about $ 90k to the CDC to get the MAHC process started. Dozens of volunteers stepped up and invested thousands of hours to create the dozen modules and their associated annexes - which contain the scientific justification for the code levels.  

    Having a science-based model code with the references and justification contained in the annex is fabulously valuable. I just hope that authorities having jurisdiction begin reviewing and adopting the MAHC.  It is time to start using tax dollars wisely. Updating 100+ codes in the US is irresponsible and wasteful.
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