The Delmarva Condominium Managers Association welcomed Dr. Cliff Mitchell Director of the Environmental Health Bureau, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to the monthly meeting on February 12, 2019.
Dr. Mitchell reviewed changes in pool operating procedures and pending updates to COMR 10.17.01 Public Swimming Pools and Spas. As presented, the changes would allow for expedient replacement of some equipment with the same specifications without prior approval of the health department. Currently, replacement of like equipment requires a replacement permit which takes time to issue.
There will also be changes to what constitutes a critical violation and a major violation. Critical violations shut down the pool if not corrected immediately. Once the pool is shut down, the pool operator must contact the health department to reinspect prior to reopening. Worcester County has a limited number of inspectors and the response time is based on inspector schedules. The owner/operator of the pool is held to specific standards of how quickly they must appear and respond. The health department is under no response requirement to inspect after the correction occurs. There has been relative success in handling closures and getting pools reopened in the past and Dr. Mitchell was certain he could emphasize the need for adequate staffing levels in Worcester County health department and the response time of this department.
Dr. Mitchell reviewed the prior history with trying to change the construction and operating requirements of pools and spas and how his department had been asked to make changes slowly and in smaller parts. These latest proposed revisions are the first of a series of more comprehensive changes in the next few years. The new draft regulations can be found here.
The Worcester County Health Department is required to enforce the Maryland regulations and provide feedback and input during the process of updating the codes. The effort to make community pools and spas safer for all users is a noble undertaking. DCMA appreciated that Dr. Mitchell came to discuss the issues and allow comments about the issues facing pool owners and operators in our area.
The next meeting of the DCMA is on March 21, 2019 at 12:30 at the Princess Royale. Congressman Andy Harris is scheduled to speak. Hope to see you there!