AB 1726, a bill sponsored by National Pool Safety Foundation, was heard in the California Assembly Health Committee last week.
According to SPEC, which supports the measure, this bill seeks to establish the Public Pool Health and Safety Act of 2012, which requires an owner of a public swimming pool to contract with or employ a qualified pool operator for pool maintenance. More specifically, AB 1726 would require a pool operator training course to be registered with and approved by the local enforcing agency and sets forth requirements for the training course, including 14 hours of training relative to a specific list of pool maintenance subjects.
As introduced, AB 1726 applied to all public pools. However, the bill was opposed by a number of apartment and condominium associations, bed and breakfast operators, hotels, resorts, and campground facilities. In order to minimize the opposition, proponents of the bill reduced the scope of the measure to pools operated by lodging facilities such as hotels, motels, campgrounds and resorts, as well as public pools such as those operated by the YMCA and other similarly situated organizations.
SPEC lobbyist John Norwood appeared before the Assembly Health Committee and encouraged the members to support this legislation as the most cost effective way to reduce illness and injuries as well as minimizing unscheduled closures and costly repairs of these public pools. Other supporters of this bill included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF), National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), Foundation for Pool and Spa Industry Education (FPSIE), Independent Pool and Spa Service Association (IPSSA), state and local health departments, industry, academia, and pool operators.
“We are pleased with this modest start,” commented John Norwood President of SPEC, “but more work is needed to ensure passage through the legislature. Despite being the state with the largest number of public pools, California has yet to adopt the provisions of the Model Aquatic Health Code that establishes a standardized public pool operator training program. This bill is a good start down that path.” AB 1726 will proceed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for its next hearing sometime in May.
Scott Webb has been with AQUA magazine in one capacity or another since April 2001; he now serves as executive editor. Scott has a degree from University of Cincinnati in Aerospace Engineering and lives in Madison, Wisc.