The Food and Drug Administration?s national codes revolutionized the restaurant industry, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is hoping a national code for commercial aquatics facilities will have a similar effect.

As planned, the code will tackle training and certification for pool operators and health inspectors. Municipalities that already have a code in place will be able to adopt the new standards or cite them as reference.

An unusually high number of cryptosporidium outbreaks this summer brought urgency to the CDC project. However, the problems are more deep-rooted.

?A large number of outbreaks are from pathogens that are susceptible to chlorine. This suggests that if a pool is properly operated and maintained, the problem should not occur,? said Douglas C. Sackett, director of the Aquatic Health Code and Risk Reduction Program for the CDC.

Code creation will be overseen by a steering committee, which is now in the process of establishing technical committees. As part of developing the code, those committees will review existing standards.

?We don?t want to reinvent the wheel, but also don?t intend to just regurgitate existing practices,? Sackett explained. ?We want to use the expertise that?s out there pool designers, operators, health departments and academia.?

The National Swimming Pool Foundation provided funding for the project?s first year. The model code will be available on the CDC Web site in increments. The first part, a document on proper pool contamination protocol, is expected to be available before the 2008 summer season, Sackett said.

In addition, the CDC plans to issue regular ongoing updates to its aquatic standards as the industry continues to evolve. For information and updates, and to offer your comments, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming and click on the ?Model Aquatic Health Code.? If you are interested in joining a technical committee, contact Doug Sackett at dcs02@health.state.ny.us.