ADA Requirements for Swimming Pools
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has special requirements for public swimming pools that ensure accessibility to all individuals, including those with disabilities. These requirements cover newly constructed swimming pools, wading pools and spas, and there are also certain requirements for existing pools. Review the requirements overview below to ensure your facility is in compliance:
The ADA emphasizes the importance of equal accessibility by requiring that facilities offer activities that are open and accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. This means that activities like pool-related special events, swimming classes and open swim periods must be accommodating. Exceptions to this rule include programs that by nature require certain physical or mental demands, or when the financial and administrative burdens placed on an institution for altering a program are too great.
Pool walls can be a barrier for those with disabilities. While pool walls cannot be removed, pool lifts and entrances can be installed to allow for equal access. The ADA’s Title III instructs facilities to install these accommodations, unless doing so would involve too much difficulty or expense. Portable lifts purchased before March 15, 2012 are acceptable; however, any lifts purchased after that date must be fixed. This is due to the fact that Title III standards require pool lifts to be fixed to a surface. Manufacturers of portable pool lifts that were purchased after March 15, 2012 are working with customers to provide kits to adhere the lift to an outside surface around the pool’s exterior, thus making them ADA compliant.
It’s not enough for a pool to just have accessibility equipment. The equipment must be maintained and available to individuals during all open pool hours. Limiting the use of a pool lift to only certain hours of the day, for example, would be a violation as disabled individuals would not have the same access as their non-disabled peers. Make sure your standards for frequent, quality maintenance are consistent between your standard equipment and equipment for individuals with disabilities.
In addition to providing accessibility features, pool staff and employees are required to be adequately trained in order to assist in their operation. This includes operating pool lifts and related accessibility equipment, as well as understanding any unique safety considerations.
Is your swimming pool ADA compliant? Learn more about these revised requirements including requirements for existing pools.