Summer is just around the corner. Many families will be taking their children to the local public swimming pool. Public pools are required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means they must have permanent lifts or underwater ramps to provide accessibility.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA is a series of regulations that public places are required to meet. The purpose is to make stores, banks, restaurants, and all other places that are open to the public accessible for people who have disabilities. Often, this means that a business must have at least one bathroom stall that is large enough to adequately accommodate a person who uses a wheelchair. It can also means that ramps or elevators must be installed in places where there are stairs.
Public swimming pools are also required to adhere to the regulations set up in the ADA. Now that Summer is almost here, there will be a lot of families who want to take their children to the local public pool. People will be traveling and enjoying the swimming pools at the hotels and motels that they stay at. These pools need to be accessible to people who have disabilities.
Federal laws required the owners of pools that are open to the public to install permanent lifts or underwater ramps to provide access for people who have disabilities by January 31, of 2012. This deadline got pushed back to March 15, 2012. The new deadline was set for May 21, 2012. That deadline has now been extended.
The federal Justice Department issued an interpretation of part of the law that is in the ADA. It decided that this year, public swimming pools must have permanently affixed lifts. In the past, pool owners were allowed to have portable lifts, instead. These lifts were less expensive than the permanent ones, and could be removed from the pool when not in use. The lifts are designed to safely lift a disabled person into a swimming pool and to lift that person back out again when he or she is done swimming.
The entire reason why there has been a delay in implementing this part of the ADA requirements is due to the cost of the lifts. The biggest complaints are coming from hotel owners, who do not feel as though they should have to spend the money on the permanent lifts. The permanent lifts cost up to $10,000, plus the cost of installation. The portable lifts cost up to $3,000.
Image by Alan Levine on Flickr