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For Release:
April 20, 2009

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Department of Health and Senior Services Proposes to Readopt N.J.A.C. 8:26 Governing Public Recreational Bathing


The Consumer and Environmental Health Services of the Division of Epidemiology, Environmental and Occupational Health of the Public Health Services Branch of the Department of Health and Senior Services (Department) is proposing to readopt N.J.A.C. 8:26, which governs Public Recreational Bathing.  The notice of proposal appears in the April 20, 2009, issue of the New Jersey Register.

N.J.A.C. 8:26 establishes sanitary and safety standards for public recreational bathing facilities, which are non-private bathing beaches, hot tubs and spas, swimming and wading pools, and lake fronts.

The Federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, Pub. L. 110-140 (approved December 19, 2007) (“Baker Act”), establishes entrapment prevention standards that require, under specified conditions, the installation of anti-entrapment drain covers and recirculation systems to prevent drowning, near drowning, and eviscerations in pools and spas.  The Department has had anti-entrapment standards in place in N.J.A.C. 8:26 since 2000.  The Department is reviewing the Baker Act technical standards and comparing them to the existing anti-entrapment and other standards at N.J.A.C. 8:26, to determine whether rulemaking and/or the recommendation of legislative action are appropriate to ensure that State standards meet or exceed, and are not inconsistent with, the Baker Act requirements.  The Department has determined, in consultation with the Public Health Council, to propose the readoption of existing N.J.A.C. 8:26 without change to ensure the continued effectiveness of the existing chapter and the public health protections it provides until the completion of this review process.  The Baker Act charges the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission with the administration and enforcement of that Act.  The notice of proposal provides references to technical information to assist the regulated community in complying with the Baker Act.

The Department will convene a public hearing on the proposed readoption of N.J.A.C. 8:26 at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 7, 2009, at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, First Floor Board Room, Health and Agriculture Building, 369 South Warren Street (at Market Street), Trenton, NJ 08608.  Persons wishing to testify at the public hearing who wish to be placed on the list of speakers are requested to telephone Loel Muetter, Environmental Scientist, at (609) 588-3124 by April 30, 2009, and to bring an extra written copy of their remarks for submission to the public record.  Speakers will be limited to three minutes.

The public has until June 19, 2009 to comment on the proposal.  Persons wishing to comment on the proposal must submit their comments in writing by regular mail to Ruth Charbonneau, Director, Office of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Office of the Commissioner, NJ Department of Health and Senior Services, P O Box 369, Trenton, NJ 08625-0369.  Written comments must be postmarked on or before June 19, 2009, which is the close of the 60-day public comment period.  The Department will not accept telefacsimiles or electronic mail messages as official comments on the notice of proposal.

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