CDC's Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC)

General Overview:

The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is a set of guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This voluntary guidance document is 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 the MAHC to create or update existing pool codes to reduce risk for outbreaks, drowning, and pool-chemical injuries. The MAHC guidelines are all-inclusive and address the design, construction, operation, maintenance, policies and management of public aquatic facilities.The first edition of the MAHC was published at the end of 2014. A second edition was released on July 15, 2016. A third edition was released on July 18, 2018.

Because the MAHC is based on scientific data and best practices gathered through a strong partnership between public health and aquatics industry experts, it is easier to adopt and implement. Unlike legislation, the MAHC is voluntarily adopted wholly or in part and driven by your expertise. It is free, accessible to all, and backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The MAHC is unique in that it is kept sustainable, current and complete because the people who use it vote on its content every 3 years via membership in The Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC).

Background Information:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked for 7 years with public health, academic and aquatics industry representatives across the United States on guidance to prevent drowning, injuries and the spread of recreational water illnesses at public swimming pools and spas. The resulting Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) is voluntary guidance based on science and best practices that can help local and state authorities make swimming and other water activities healthier and safer. 

The CMAHC is a conduit for funneling advice to CDC as well as data-driven, science-based information from public health and aquatic industry experts committed to keeping the MAHC current, sustainable and easily understood and implemented.

Every three years, The CMAHC will invite public health and industry leaders to gather at the Vote on the Code Biennial Conference for discussion and member voting on new language and content for the MAHC. The next CMAHC Vote on the Code Biennial Conference will be held October 2020.

Previous Updates:
In early March 2017, the CMAHC announced 179 change requests were submitted for CMAHC member voting at the 2017 CMAHC conference. Of these, 122 change requests (68%) were passed by CMAHC vote. CDC reviewed the change requests and accepted 115 change requests (94%) of the 122 submitted by the CMAHC membership. The CDC also released a summary of the seven change requests not accepted by the CDC, including those that relate to safety vacuum release systems (SVRS), flow meters on slides and scales on slides. To review this summary, click here and scroll to the bottom of the screen.

In November 2016, the CMAHC requested applications for people to join their Technical Committees (TC's). The TC's are comprised of subject matter experts and serve as a technical resource to the Technical Review Committee (TRC) as they review and process the submitted Change Requests (CR's) for the 2017 MAHC update cycle. The seven TC's are: Design and Construction; Disinfection and Water Quality; Injury Prevention, Risk Management and Safety; Lifeguarding and Bather Supervision; Operation and Maintenance; Recirculation and Filtration and Ventilation and Air Quality.
 
On July 15, 2016, the CDC released the Second Edition of the MAHC. For the 2016 edition, 159 change requests were submitted for CMAHC member voting at the 2015 CMAHC biennial conference. Of these, 92 (58%) change requests were passed by CMAHC vote. CDC reviewed the change requests and accepted 84 (91%) of the 92 MAHC change requests that the CMAHC membership passed plus one editorial CR that was not passed.

On December 20, 2015, voting closed on 159 change requests submitted for the second version of the MAHC. Voting opened in mid-November, at which time WWA began notifying members via Member Alert emails to start submitting their vote. To assist waterpark owners, operators and suppliers in voting, members of WWA's Government Relations Committee and Safety Committee reviewed all of the submitted CRs and provided a set of recommendations for WWA members to use when voting on each CR. CDC will use the input gathered during the CMAHC voting window to revise the MAHC and plans to post the MAHC 2nd Edition for the summer swim season 2016.

Latest News:

In July 2018, the third edition to the Model Aquatic Health Code was released. See below for links to the latest version of the MAHC.

Call To Action:

The MAHC is a consensus document. While WWA was actively involved in the final draft of the first MAHC and WWA continues to be actively involved in the CMAHC process to revise and release revised editions, some of the MAHC provisions may not reflect best practices for waterparks. WWA strongly encourages all members to work closely with their local or state jurisdictions that are considering adopting the MAHC to make appropriate amendments or exceptions for waterparks.

WWA also encourages all waterpark professionals to join CMAHC so that they may ensure that they have a vote on future MAHC editions. There is no limitation on the number of people that can join CMAHC from any one facility. All members of your management staff are encouraged to join. CMAHC has announced that it is modifying the membership area to allow institutions to sign up multiple members with one payment. 

In addition, WWA asks that any member whose local health department or governing body has adopted, or is considering the adoption of the MAHC, in part or wholly, to please inform the WWA Office by calling +1-913-599-0300. If you have questions or concerns about the MAHC, please email WWA's Government Relations Committee or the Safety Committee

Useful Links:

Download MAHC Third Edition released in July 2018 [Download PDF]

Download the Annex to the Third Edition to the MAHC released in July 2018 [Download PDF]

Download MAHC Second Edition released in July 2016 [Download PDF]

Download the Annex to the MAHC released in July 2016 [Download PDF]

 Join CMAHC to ensure voting rights [http://cmahc.org/membership.php]

Review the CDC's page on MAHC [http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/pools/mahc/]

Review resources on MAHC from the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) [http://www.nspf.org/en/resources/mahc.aspx]