The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week that it has extended the deadline for pool operators to comply with certain sections of the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design to Jan. 31, 2013.

The original deadline of March 15, 2012, was extended by 60 days. The DOJ says the extension is for existing pools and does not affect the March 15, 2012, date for newly constructed or altered pools.

Operators of pools at fitness centers and hotels, among other locations, were to have complied by March 15 with new ADA requirements to have a lift or other method for disabled people to access pools in their facilities.

Earlier this year, the DOJ did note that the pool deadline could be extended further, as the DOJ also issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that sought comments on whether the compliance deadline should be extended for another six months. The DOJ had originally proposed a four-month extension to Sept. 17, 2012, before settling on the Jan. 31, 2013, date, mainly because of the misunderstandings and concerns outlined in the comments.

According to the DOJ, it received 1,915 comments in response to the proposed extension—1,420 comments in support of the extension and 495 opposed. The DOJ says 520 of the comments were anonymous form letters.

Organizations representing the hotel industry and individual owners and operators of hotels and campgrounds provided the largest number of comments in support of postponing the compliance date, the DOJ says. Other commenters who supported the proposed extension included homeowners associations, pool lift manufacturers and individual owners and operators of pools and spas.

Commenters opposed to the proposed extension included many organizations representing people with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities and numerous other individuals with disabilities, the DOJ says.