Hotels and other public facilities across the nation are rushing to bring their swimming pools up to 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) pool standards that mandated the installation of chair lifts to enable disabled swimmers to enter the water.

Complicating the scene is a backlog of orders at the lift manufacturers; for owners of the public pools, another problem is cost. The lifts, which resemble mini-cranes with seats, cost anywhere from $3,500 to $6,500 apiece, with installation doubling that investment. The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals estimates that between 235,00 and 310,000 pools need to be retrofitted at a total cost of more than $1 billion.

As a result of the backlog in orders, some hotel owners say they may close their pools if they can't meet the deadline and then may reopen when and if they get the lifts installed.

The deadline was originally set at March 16 but was pushed back to May 21 at the urging of the pool owners. The ADA mandate does not cover private clubs or pools, only those open to the public.