After years of inconsistent and out-of-date codes, a new standard for water slides is available to aquatics facilities and health departments around the nation.

The standard was developed by the ASTM International Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices? subcommittee F24.70, Water Related Rides and Attractions. Installation, classification, design and operation are all addressed under the new standard. Slides installed as of Jan. 1, 2006, must adhere to the new standard if adopted by the state. If the state has already accepted the F24 standard for amusement rides, the new water-slide standard is automatically adopted.

Operators should check with their state health departments to find out if the new standard applies.

In addition, further guidelines will be developed regarding children?s slides and structures that fall under jurisdiction of other subcommittees, such as F24.60 on Special Rides/Attractions. Future proposals include guidelines for resorts as well.

The standard is available for all manufacturers and state regulatory agencies to follow. ?By having a good foundation for the layout and design of the rides, the industry will be able to gain consistently safe products that will be designed and installed for the public,? said Andreas Tanzer, subcommittee chair and manager of product development at ProSlide Technology Inc. in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Industry members applauded the new standard. ?It?s about time,? said Alison Osinski, president of Aquatic Consulting Services in San Diego, who said other standards are out of date and not fitting to current needs.

The standard for the United States can be purchased online at www.astm.org.