Justice Department delays swimming pool rule until after election

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it had again delayed implementation of a new regulation requiring existing public-access pools to be accessible to people with disabilities.

Implementation of the new Americans with Disabilities Act rule, which was set to take effect Monday, has been delayed to Jan. 31, after the election. The rule was originally scheduled to take effect on March 15, 2012.

“Newly constructed and altered pools must be fully accessible to people with disabilities as of March 15, 2012, by providing pool lifts, sloped entries, or other specified accessibility features. However, many pool owners had misunderstandings about how to apply the new accessibility requirements to pre-existing pools,” the department explained Thursday. “Therefore, the department has extended the compliance date for existing pools to Jan. 31, 2013.”

Failure to comply with the new regulations would result in a fine of at least $100,000.

DOJ also issued a technical assistance document addressing 19 common questions about the requirements, emphasizing the removal of accessibility barriers.

The department added, “significant tax credits and deductions are available to help businesses of all sizes offset any costs of ADA compliance.”

South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint introduced a bill in March, co-sponsored by South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, “to prohibit the Attorney General from administering or enforcing certain accessibility regulations relating to pools at public accommodations or provided by public entities.”

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