Natatorium Ventilation Code Changes Could Prove Costly | Athletic Business

Natatorium Ventilation Code Changes Could Prove Costly

The collaboration of various entities that will one day yield the Model Aquatic Health Code (chloramines in the air, the ventilation module naturally includes a call to increase the amount of makeup air required, with the amount of the increase depending on whether the pool contains flat water, agitated water or hot water, and bearing in mind the "venue or deck patron density" (meaning the square footage per person). But two aspects of the module have some observers shaken up:

1) The increase in makeup air would not replace the relevant standard set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), but be added to it; and

2) The new standard is intended "for new or modified construction," which could require an extraordinary retrofitting of HVAC equipment to every existing indoor pool. Scot Hunsaker, president of Counsilman-Hunsaker, a St. Louis-based pool engineering, planning and design firm, sits on the board of directors of the National Swimming Pool Foundation (as does AB's president, Peter Brown), so he can't say the ventilation requirements come as any surprise. Nevertheless, he doubts that the implications of the code's wording are fully understood.

"The ventilation module will probably have the most significant impact on the aquatics industry of any," he says. "This may represent the first time the health code addresses ventilation issues rather than deferring to ASHRAE, and the changes could have significant first-dollar costs and second-dollar costs for operations."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't make it extraordinarily obvious how you can make your voice heard. On the CDC's Modules for Review page, scroll down to Ventilation & Air Quality, and click on "Draft 4/13/11 for Public Comment" to download the PDF. A link in the 16-page document takes you to a Microsoft Word comment form, another link to which can be found farther down the modules page under "How Do I Submit Public Comments?" One-quarter of the 60-day window for public comment has already passed. On June 12, all public comments go to the Technical Committee for review before the module is officially released.

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