New Rules and Regulations for Aquatic Facilities in the District of Columbia

Date: July 11, 2017

As of June 9, 2017, new rules and regulations for Aquatic Facilities, including Swimming Pools, Spa Pools, and Saunas, went into effect in the District of Columbia for the purpose of updating existing regulations to reflect new industry standards and District regulations.  Most significantly, the proposed rulemaking incorporates industry standards that are included in the second edition of the “Model Aquatic Health Code” published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other industry standards.  

There are a variety of new requirements including changes to required signage, reasonable accommodations, and allowing individuals the right to use gender-specific restrooms and other gender-specific facilities that are consistent with their gender identity or expression.  Other important changes require having quickly accessible Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and other first aid safety equipment at specific locations near the pool as well as new requirements for the placement of water fountains or water coolers.  All community associations with aquatic facilities, including swimming pools, spa pools, or saunas, in the District of Columbia, should review these new rules and regulations to ensure that all aquatic facilities remain compliant.  Violations of these new rules or regulations may subject an association to civil fines or penalties.  Below are some of the changes to the Rules and Regulations:

  • Section 203 allows an aquatic facility to designate eating areas and to allow the public to use non-glass and non-breakable water bottles.
  • Section 203 requires an aquatic facility to close swimming pools and pool deck areas to the public during competitive swimming practices and/or swimming competitions. 
  • Revisions to the child safety plan age of expected bathers are included in Subsections 305.2(e) and (f):
    • (e) The expected number of bathers who are over the age of fourteen (14) when the spa is open (daily average for the operating months);
    • (f)  The percentage of the expected bathers who are under the age of fourteen (14) when the spa is open (daily average for the operating months);
  • New water fountain requirements for existing aquatic facilities are included in Subsections 400.2 and 400.3:
                400.2: Existing aquatic facilities shall have at least one (1) drinking fountain directly plumbed and maintained in good repair or shall have at least one (1) water cooler inside the facility.
                400.3  If a drinking fountain cannot be provided inside the aquatic facility, it shall be provided in a common use building or area adjacent to the aquatic facility entrance and on the normal path of bathers going to the aquatic facility entrance.
  • New depth marker tile requirements are included in Section 402.
  • Revisions to chemical levels used to treat waters in swimming pools, spa pools, and saunas are included in Section 404.
  • Updated regulations regarding the use of specific water quality test kits and new requirements for blood borne pathogen control kits are included in Sections 405 and 406.
  • New requirements for spa pool and sauna turnover rates, plumbing system guidelines, and new circulation system charts for all different pool categories are included in Sections 408, 409, 410, and 411.
  • New standard operating procedures for accidents involving bodily fluid are included in Subsection 412.7.
  • New equipment room size, minimum ceiling height, and lighting requirements are included in Subsection 503.5. 
  • New requirements for first aid and safety equipment for public and semi-public swimming pools are included in Section 505.
  • New requirements for pool safety covers including installation and weight capacity are included in Subsections 505.5, 610.9 and 610.10.
  • New requirements for recordkeeping storage, access, handling, and prohibited use of chemicals for new and existing facilities are included in Section 608.
  • New requirements for the installation of an eye wash station are included in Section 609.
  • New requirements for the issuance of licenses, registrations, certifications, certificates of occupancy, and applications are included in Sections 700, 701, 702, 703, 704, and 706.
  • New Department of Health access and inspection requirements are included in Subsection 710.1.
  • Updated requirements for public record retention and disclosure are included in Section 714.
  • New imminent health hazard provisions are included in Subsections 715.1 and 715.2.
  • New informal conference requirements are included in Chapter 8.
  • Updated requirements for service of process are included in Chapter 9.
  • Updated administrative and civil penalties and judicial review provisions are included in Chapter 10.
  • The public pool classifications (categories) have been revised and new definitions have been added.

The full set of Rules and Regulations can be found by clicking here.