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Recreational Aquatic Health Data Standardization Model Now Available

Denver, CO – Today the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) released the Standard for Aquatic Facility Environments – Data (SAFE-D) model - a model to standardize aquatic facility inspection information. The model addresses the gap in consistent inspection data reporting of local recreational aquatic facilities, such as pools and hot tubs, from one jurisdiction to another.

The SAFE-D model is a uniform format for publishing aquatic facility inspection information across jurisdictions with clarity and consistency, while being adaptable to any change in internal technology or practices. The standard is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate diversity in aquatic facility inspection systems while publishing useful inspection information. The model, which uses the “SAFE,” (standard for aquatic facility environments) data standard, was developed and tested with demonstration jurisdictions from four states.

In the United States, regulations for public treated recreational waters are written and enforced at the local or state level. This national project aims to make aquatic inspection data consistent and available across jurisdictions to be shared, analyzed, and used to address illness associated with recreational waters, such as from the Cryptosporidium parasite.

Cryptosporidium is the most common contaminant in pools and can cause acute gastrointestinal illness including stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Cryptosporidium has a high tolerance to chlorine which allows the parasite to survive for long periods in chlorinated drinking and swimming pool water.

“Injury, illness, and death from most environmental hazards such as contaminated water or food, and exposure to hazardous or toxic substances are preventable. We are making a difference by developing open data standards and making data available and accessible to jurisdictions and the communities they serve,” said Jesse Bliss, PhD, NEHA Program and Partnership Development Director. “Using open data standards like these for environmental public health services data, enables jurisdictions across the nation to identify trends, learn from one another, prevent outbreaks, and improve health overall.”

Local environmental public health programs can begin standardizing data using the model then choose how to share the data in their jurisdiction, state, and with national organizations, such as the CDC Tracking Network, to provide a national picture of waterborne illness. App and web developers, businesses, and community organizations can also re-use and share the data to improve public health.


The Standard for Aquatic Facility Environments (SAFE-D) model project was supported by CDC cooperative agreement OT18-1802 Strengthening Public Health Systems and Services through National Partnerships to Improve and Protect the Nation's Health.