Water Recreation Facilities - Potential Agency Request Legislation

What's Happening?

We are considering agency request legislation in 2025 to update the water recreation facilities law, Chapter 70.90 RCW. Agency request legislation is when agencies propose changes to current laws for the legislature to consider.

Review Proposed Amendments

Provide comments to the program by close of business on July 26, 2024.

Informational Pamphlets (April 2024)


The water recreation facility law gives authority to adopt rules to ensure public health and safety at pools across the state. We are currently updating these rules considering the CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) standards. To adopt sections of the MAHC into rule, we need to update the law to be consistent with the MAHC. Some of the changes we are proposing to make the law consistent with the MAHC include:

  • Aligning terms used throughout the law with terms used in the MAHC.
  • Removing the exemption for therapy pools. The MAHC deems therapy pools as “increased risk” venues, therefore we would like to adopt rules to ensure public health and safety is achieved to protect vulnerable populations who use these venues.

We are proposing to make additional changes to provide clarity within the law and ensure public health and safety are met. These changes include:

  • Expanding rulemaking authority to include swimming areas in natural waters without artificial boundaries.
  • Clarifying requirements for water recreation facilities in communities with less than 15 living units.
  • Clarifying roles and responsibilities for DOH, State Board of Health, and local health jurisdictions throughout the chapter.
  • Clarifying permitting timelines.
  • Reassessing insurance requirements.

Who May be Impacted?

The changes we are proposing to the law may impact or interested the following groups:

  • Owners/operators of therapy pools.
  • Users of therapy pools.
  • Apartment complexes, condominium complexes, rental housing units with less than 15 living units, and HOAs that have a pool.
  • Mobile home parks with a pool.
  • Owners/operators of natural areas like lakes and rivers were members of the public swim.
  • Local health jurisdictions.
  • Tribal owners/operators of facilities on fee lands.
  • Owners/operators of currently regulated water recreation facilities and recreational water contact facilities.

Get Involved!

Environmental Justice Assessment

Developing agency request legislation is a significant agency action that requires the completion of an environmental justice assessment. The purpose of an environmental justice assessment is to identify:

  • Who might be most impacted by an agency action.
  • Environmental benefits, harms, and health impacts of the action.
  • Ways to minimize or eliminate negative environmental impacts.
  • How to equitably distribute positive environmental impacts.

Visit the department’s environmental justice webpage for more information on assessments.

Proposed Timeline and Opportunities for Input!

January 2024 – Initiate environmental justice assessment. We’ll be identifying individuals and communities impacted by these proposed changes to the water recreation facilities law. Contact Ashlie Laydon if you feel you are in one of these groups and may be potentially impacted by this action.

February - May 2024 – Invite Tribal Consultation and engage with potentially interested or impacted parties to gain input on proposed changes to the water recreation law.

June 2024 – Complete our environmental justice assessment and finalize proposed changes to the law based on Tribal Consultation and community engagement and input.

September 2024 – Submit proposed changes to the law to the Office of the Governor and Office of Financial Management for their consideration and approval.

If accepted: January 2025 – The changes to the water recreation facilities law will be submitted to the legislature as a bill and will move through the legislative process.


Water Recreation Program