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Updated Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Guidelines for Public Swimming Pools

On July 26, 2010, the US Department of Justice released updated ADA Standards for Accessible Design. One of the goals of these new standards is to expand accessibility for disabled people to public swimming pools. These regulations became law on March 15, 2012, but public confusion prompted the Justice Department to push back implementation for swimming pools until January 31, 2013. While new construction must conform to the ADA’s rules, this delay gave pool operators additional time to address misunderstandings regarding compliance. Under the law, districts operating public pools are required to install ramps and wheelchair lifts or face penalties over violating disability laws.

Pool lifts and sloped entry ramps are required means of access for swimming pools. The level of accessibility depends on the size and type of the pool:

  • Pools with under 300 linear feet of walls must provide one primary means of access, and must be either a pool lift or a sloped entry.
  • Pools with greater than 300 linear feet of walls must provide two means of access, one of which must be either a pool lift or sloped entry. The second means of access for large pools can be any of the following five designated means of access which are: pool lifts, sloped entries, transfer walls, transfer systems, or accessible pool stairs.
  • Wave action, lazy river, and other pools where user entry is limited to one area requires one means of access, either pool lift or sloped entry.
  • Spa must also have either a lift or a transfer system to help the disabled enter and exit them.

If your district has a pool that needs upgrading, this would be a perfect opportunity to spend your allocated funds from your Safety and Loss Prevention Grant Program.

If you would like more information on Revised ADA Compliance Rules for Accessibility in Public Swimming Pools, contact Ted Lindtveit at the Pool’s Loss Prevention team at County Technical Services, Inc. at (303) 861-0507.

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