On May 21, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice, for the second time, extended the date for compliance with sections 242 and 1009 of the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design as it relates to the provision of accessible entry and exit to existing swimming pools, wading pools, and spas. The new compliance date is January 31, 2013.
Regarding pools: The ADA new requirements are for newly constructed or altered pools. If you have an existing pool, then the ADA requires businesses to make existing pools accessible when it is "readily achievable" to do so. The 2010 Standards provide the benchmark, or goal, for accessibility in existing pools.
2010 Revised ADA Standards
When Does My Camp Have to Comply with the New Pool Regulations? The most important step is to examine your facility and develop a plan to remove accesibility barriers. Use these tools to assess your camp's situation and compliance requirements:
- Quick Answers from the Department of Justice
- ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities (This is the checklist to confirm if you are in compliance with the 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, and what you need to do for the future.)
The new date for compliance with the 2010 Standards is now January 13, 2013.
- "Element of Safe Harbor" – The rule includes a general "safe harbor" under which elements in covered facilities that were built or altered in compliance with the 1991 Standards or the UFAS would not be required to be brought into compliance with the 2010 Standards until the elements were subject to a planned alteration. Similar safe harbors were adopted for elements associated with the "path of travel" to an altered area. As some of the areas covered in the 2010 Standards were NOT included in the 1991 Standards, there is no element of safe harbor for things not specifically covered in the 1991 Standards. For more information, refer to the resources below.
Have questions? Need clarification?
Call the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY) to speak with an ADA Specialist. All calls are confidential.
New Rules Relevant to the Camp Community Include:
- Adoption of the Revised Design Standards – New accessible design standards are established for a variety of recreational facilities, including swimming pools, playgrounds, golf courses, recreational boating facilities, exercise machines and equipment, miniature golf courses, and fishing piers.
- Download the complete 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design .
- Link to specific requirements for:
- Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, and Spas (Sections 242 , 1009 )
- Revised ADA Requirements: Accessible Pools - Means of Entry and Exit  Updated May 2012
- Q&A: Accessibility Requirements for Existing Swimming Pools  Updated May 2012
- Recreational Boating Facilities (Sections 235 , 1003 )
- Exercise Machines and Equipment (Sections 236 , 1004 )
- Fishing Piers and Platforms (Sections 237 , 1005 )
- Golf Facilities (Sections 238 , 1006 )
- Miniature Golf (Sections 239 , 1007 )
- Play Areas (Sections 240 , 1008 )
- Saunas and Steam Rooms (Sections 241 , 612 )
- Residential Dwelling Units for Public Entities (Sections 233 , 809 )
- Assembly Areas (Sections 221 , 802 )
- Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, and Spas (Sections 242 , 1009 )
- Program Accessibility: "requires the public entity to take the necessary actions to make their programs, services, activities, when viewed in their entirety, accessible. This would include the completing an accessibility assessment of facilities, self-evaluation of policies and procedures, and development of a transition plan to remove physical and communication barriers to those programs, services and activities." Details 
- Removal of Barriers: "requires the private entity remove architectural barriers in existing facilities, including communication barriers that are structural in nature, where such removal is readily achievable, i.e., easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense" Details Barrier removal under Title II and Title III is an ongoing requirement. Similar to the Title II transition plan, but much less formal in nature, a best practice for a private camp covered under Title III, would be to identify all the physical and communication barriers to programs, goods, services and activities, and develop a timeline for removal of barriers that are readily achievable. And, of course, as renovations are made to existing facilities, or new construction commences, it should follow the most current standards.
- Wheelchairs and Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices – The amended rules provide a two-tiered approach under which wheelchairs and scooters must be permitted in all areas open to pedestrian use.
The ADA is a civil rights law and interpretation of the regulations is ultimately left to enforcement by Department of Justice and the courts.
Americans With Disabilities Act Revisions Links
The U.S. Department of Justice provides information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through a toll-free ADA Information Line. This service permits businesses, state and local governments, or others to call and ask questions about general or specific ADA requirements including questions about the ADA Standards for Accessible Design: 800 - 514 - 0301 (voice), hit #7 to bypass messages and talk with someone, 800 - 514 - 0383 (TTY)
- PowerPoint from January 26, 2011 Webinar, ADA Status Update: What Camp Directors Need to Know 
- ADA Fact Sheet 
- ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities (This is the checklist to confirm if you are in compliance with the 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.)
- Department of Justice - Questions and Answers - Existing Pools  Updated May 2012
- Title II: Final Rule amending 28 CFR Part 35:  Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services
- Title III: Final Rule amending 28 CFR Part 36:  Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities
- Appendix B:  Analysis of the 2010 ADA Standards
- Highlights of the Final Rule to Amend the Department of Justice’s Regulation Implementing Title II of the ADA 
- Highlights of the Final Rule to Amend the Department of Justice’s Regulation Implementing Title III of the ADA 
- Adoption of the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design 
- A tax credit  for small businesses that remove access barriers from their facilities, provide accessible services, or take other steps to improve accessibility for customers with disabilities.
- Small businesses with 30 or fewer employees or total revenues of $1 million or less can use the Disabled Access Credit (Internal Revenue Code, Section 44). Eligible small businesses may take a credit of up to $5,000 (half of eligible expenses up to $10,250, with no credit for the first $250) to offset their costs for access, including barrier removal from their facilities (e.g., widening a doorway, installing a ramp), provision of accessibility services (e.g., sign language interpreters), provision of printed material in alternate formats (e.g., large-print, audio, Braille), and provision or modification of equipment.
- A tax deduction  for businesses of all sizes that remove access barriers in their facilities or vehicles.
- Businesses of all sizes may take advantage of this tax deduction. Under Internal Revenue Code, Section 190, businesses can take a business expense deduction of up to $15,000 per year for costs of removing barriers in facilities or vehicles
Frequently Asked Questions
- Even with the "element of safe harbor" explained above, I'm still not sure which guidelines I am supposed to follow and when I need to comply with the new rules. Answer from the Department of Justice 
- How did these new rule changes come about? Was there a public comment period? Answer from the Federal Register 
- If I have more than one pool on my property, do they all have to be brought in compiance with the new rules? Answer from the national Center on Accessibility - it depends on whether each pool has a special unique use or not. Contact them to discuss details. 
American Camp Association Resources
- Resources for working with Special Populations 
- Americans with Disabilities Act Update , CampLine, February 2013
- ADA Checklist  for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal
- National Network – Information, Guidance, and Training on the American with Disability Act 
- American Association of People with Disabilities 
- National Center on Accessibility 
- National Recreation and Parks Association Webinars  regarding the rule changes.
Enroll in a Free ADA Webcourse
- ADA Basic Building Blocks , ADA National Network
- At Your Service: Welcoming Customers with Disabilities , ADA National Network
- Overview of Disability Rights Law , ADA National Network
- Americans with Disabilities Act Employment Course , ADA National Network
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act , ADA National Network
- Disability Awareness HR Management , WorkSupport.com
- ADAAG Course on Judicial, Legislative and Regulatory, Detention and Correctional Facilities and Building Elements Designed for Children's Use , U.S. Access Board
- Play Area Accessibility Guidelines , U.S. Access Board
- Tutorials on the Section 508 Standards for Accessible Electronic and Information Technology , U.S. Government