After nearly a decade of work, the industry’s first-ever set of uniform standards now are in place for aquatic play features, covering water quality, placement and durability.

The ASTM International Committee F24.70 on Amusement Rides and Devices in July officially approved the standard. It is called ASTM F2461, Practice for Manufacture, Construction, Operation and Maintenance of Aquatic Play Equipment. It covers design, manufacturing and materials, performance requirements and operator responsibilities, said Andreas Tanzer, chair of F24.70, who’s also director of innovation, research and standards for Proslide Technology Inc. in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

“[Operators] can ask, ‘Does mine meet the standard?’ And when they’re shopping they can look for something that meets and exceeds the standard,” Tanzer said. “Similarly, manufacturers can tell their clients that they’re ASTM-compliant.”

Specifically, the standard pertains to “climbable and climb-resistant aquatic play components, composite aquatic play structures, user controls, water sprays, fountains and slides [6 feet in height or smaller].” It covers equipment located in and around recirculated and potable water.

It excludes equipment lacking entry or an exit to a wet deck, wading pool, swimming pool or aquatic recreation pool, water flotation devices, aquatic fitness equipment, residential play features or special access equipment such as a lift chair.

The standard applies to new construction only, according to F24.70 committee member Franceen Gonzales, risk management and aquatics vice president at Great Wolf Resorts Inc. in Madison, Wis. She said the standard’s three key components (available online from ASTM and free to all members) focus on water quality, placement of multiple interactives and equipment durability.

Added Tanzer: “The standard covers subjects like surface finishes and how younger children interact with the attraction so entrapment can be avoided. Materials used to construct the attractions also are covered, and we’re in the process of starting to define durability and levels of quality, to help determine the minimum shelf-life of equipment.”

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