Briggs introduces legislation to update public pool safety regulations

KING OF PRUSSIA, May 10 – In recognition of May as National Water Safety Month, State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, has introduced legislation that would strengthen regulations for public swimming pools and bathing places in Pennsylvania.

House Bill 2056 would require the Department of Health to update regulations periodically to be consistent with the Model Aquatic Health Code prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I was shocked to learn that regulations affecting public pools in Pennsylvania haven’t been updated since the 1970s. It is hard to think of anything that hasn’t been updated in that long, let alone crucial public health standards," Briggs said. "Once enacted into law, my legislation will allow Pennsylvanians to once again enjoy a day at the pool without worry about what microbes or pollutants are lurking in the water."

The model code, which is updated about every two years, is intended to implement best practices and replace the patchwork of regulations that exists throughout the country. The code covers safety, preventive maintenance, health hazards and employee training for pools and public bathing places.

"Swimming pools may seem innocuous, but if they are improperly cared for they can be tainted with a variety of contaminants ranging from fecal matter to the bacteria that can lead to Legionnaires’ Disease," Briggs said. "The public has the right to expect safety and sanitary conditions from our community pools and the adoption of the Model Aquatic Health Code will ensure the state lives up to that expectation."