Pool Code Updates

Below is a summary of the DATCP 76 Code update taking effect September 2023. 

There have been a number of changes in this revision of the Aquatics Code. This article highlights some. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the changes. Please see the full code here to determine whether your pool will require different changes. If you have questions, please reach out to the Sanitarian in the Health Department of your county or city. You may also contact the State Technical Specialist for Pools at [email protected]. All the forms or logs mentioned in this article are available here.

Interlock Testing
In the pump room, interlocking means to connect chemical feed equipment to the circulation pump. Interlock testing is a means to make sure that when you turn off the main pump turns off or it loses power, so do the chemical pumps. This is important because if the chemical feed pumps don’t turn off, they could continue to pump chemical, potentially leading to a release of chlorine gas. In pools built since February 2009, flow interlock is also required. When the health inspector (Sanitarian) visits your pool, they will be looking for a monthly log showing evidence of testing and for the operator to demonstrate knowledge of the interlock. The Interlock Template has been developed to assist the Pool Operator and Sanitarian in the case a contractor or staff person who is not often onsite is the person available during inspection. The following must be demonstrated to the inspector or covered on the Interlock Template with a contractor completing the form.  The monthly log is required, the Interlock Template is optional. The template covers responsibility #1-5 below. Pool operators should know:

  1.     Location of chemical feed connections and system flow sensing interlocks.
  2.     Describe how the chemical feeder electrical interlock functions.
  3.     Describe how the system flow sensing interlock functions.
  4.     Describe how your monthly tests are performed.
  5.     Describe what safety measures are employed during the monthly test.
  6.     Discuss with the Sanitarian how to recognize when the recirculation pump has stopped or when there is a chemical leak.

Please click here for a copy of the states monthly log. Please note that there are different logs for pools and whirlpools with controllers  and without 

Click here for a copy of Carrico Aquatic’s bullet points.

Combined Chlorine Management
In the previous code, when combined chlorine hit 0.5ppm in an outdoor pool, or 0.8ppm in an indoor pool the water should be treated to breakpoint chlorination. In the new code, there is no enforced limit for combined chlorine. Rather, corrective action such as breakpoint chlorination or water replacement (or a combination) should be implemented once the chlorine reaches a chosen level.  DATCP recommends 0.4ppm.  This depends on the pool and what the combined chlorine management plan prescribes.

Click here for a copy of the state’s management template.

No Breath Holding Games
Added into the rules that pool patrons must follow includes a rule about breath holding. Signage may be posted stating that activities involving prolonged breath holding are prohibited. Other means of communicating the rule are allowed, such as including the language in sign-in agreements.

Click here to download a copy of a sign you may find helpful.

Lifeguard Staffing Plan
All pools with lifeguards or attendants should already have a staffing plan that you use daily and has been sent to your county. In this new code they would like everyone to update their staffing plan using their new template. The new template requires one diagram for each use of the pool, to make review more efficient and clearer.

Click here to view the template.

Lifeguards and CPR Certification
According to the DATCP, “for all approved Lifeguard courses other than American Red Cross and Anderson 360, the CPR component of the Lifeguard certificate is renewed annually. In Red Cross and Anderson 360 there is only a requirement for CPR training to be completed every two years. This two-year expiration is not in compliance with the 2018 Model Aquatic Health Code, which the revised ATCP 76 refers to.” Pools using American Red Cross or Anderson 360 will soon need to have their guards renew their CPR certification annually, through a Professional CPR course listed on the DATCP’s website.

The state recognizes the operational challenge this imposes on Aquatics Professionals. To assist in the change, the state will accept an American Red Cross certificate earned in 2023 as valid until the certification expires in 2025. For Lifeguard certificates issued beginning January 1, 2024, the CPR certification must be completed annually. Please continue to follow this portion of the state code as there may be another policy released about in-house in-services to recertify CPR.

Please click here for a list of approved Professional CPR courses. There is also more information and the full policy on the DATCP Pools webpage.

Please click here for a copy of the 2018 Model Aquatic Health Code.

VGBA Records
Nothing has changed regarding VGBA laws, but they have issued a new log they would like everyone to use. At a minimum keep this log and the pump curves for all pumps. Other documents you may also want to keep include blueprints, engineer compliance statement, and invoices.

Click here to view the template.

pH Testing
If testing with Taylor reagents, it is recommended to use a Taylor Light Box.  This is due to the margin of error Taylor Technologies has cited for pH readings.  Also, its recommended to operate with a target pH of 7.4-7.6.  If using a Palin instrument, whose margin of error is very low, the target range can be 7.2-7.8.

Pool Closing Criteria Additions
Additional reasons that a pool needs to close include,

  1. The pool is undergoing maintenance or repair. Maintenance is defined as anything that shuts down the circulation system or any part of it. As for the pool deck, if it is not posing any danger to patrons, it is okay. 
  2. The pool gate or door is not equipped with a self-closing and latching mechanism, except when staffed by a lifeguard or attendant.
  3. Cyanuric acid level reaches above 300 ppm.

3-Hour Response Time
The Certified Pool Operator must respond to an issue at the pool within 3 hours. Issues may be handled over the phone as appropriate.

If you havent already read through the new code, it is recommended that you do so. Sanitarians will be kindly reminding operators of the changes they need to implement as they come through for their annual inspections. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the professionals in your county.

American Red Cross Lifeguard Update
The Red Cross has released some updates for the new Lifeguard program starting February 6, 2024. Most updates at the time of writing are vague, but key updates include a merge of the 300-yard swim and treading skills into a 200-yard swim by swimming 150 yards, treading for 2 minutes and then swimming another 50 yards with out rest. Another update adds a final assessment scenario of Rotation and Scanning. Participants will rotate into a lifeguard station and surveille the water for 1-minute and then rotate out of the station. For the most recent updates please go to the American Red Cross Learning Center: https://www.redcrosslearningcenter.org/s/