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New Pool and Spa Rules Go Into Effect

Dec 16, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just published a release reminding public pool and spa owners and operators that the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which is aimed at preventing drain entrapments of children, becomes effective this week.  The CPSC notes that failure to comply with the Congressionally-enacted law can result in closure.  The reminder is meant for public pool and spa owners and operators nationwide and the Act becomes effective on December 19, 2008.

The CPSC notes that the law requires installation of anti-entrapment drain covers and other systems as outlined in the Act, which was enacted by Congress and signed by President Bush on December 19, 2007.  The Act is being implemented to prevent the tragic and hidden hazard of drain entrapments and eviscerations in pools and spas, said the CPSC, which notes that under the law, all public pools and spas must have ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 compliant drain covers installed; a second anti-entrapment system must be installed when there is only one, single main drain.  Congress allowed all affected pool and spa operators one year to comply with this law and public pools and spas that operate year-round are expected to be in compliance by December 19, 2008.  Also, CPSC staff has taken the position that seasonal public pools and spas, which are currently closed, must be in compliance with the law on the day that they reopen in 2009.

“Our mission at the CPSC is to keep American families safe,” said Nancy Nord, CPSC Acting Chairman, adding that, “CPSC will enforce the requirements of this pool and spa safety law with a focus on where the greatest risk of drain entrapment to children exists, such as wading pools, pools designed specifically for toddlers and young children, and in-ground spas, particularly where these types of pools and spas have flat drain grates and single main drain systems.”  Nord also said that, “State health and enforcement agencies share the responsibility to ensure this law is properly enforced.  I recommend these agencies take the same approach as CPSC concerning enforcement priorities.”

Pool and spa operators are encouraged to continue working as diligently as possible to come into compliance, as the agency and state Attorneys General are empowered to close down any pool or spa that fails to meet the Act’s requirements, said the CPSC.  The CPSC also lists additional information about the Pool and Spa Safety Act, how to comply with the act, and which companies have been certified to manufacturer drain covers and safety vacuum release systems at: www.cpsc.gov/whatsnew.html#pool.

The Association of Pool and Spa Professional notes that the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (Act) “promotes the safe use of pools, spas, and hot tubs by imposing mandatory federal requirements for suction entrapment avoidance.”  The Act, says the Association, also establishes a voluntary grant program for those states with laws that meet some of the Act’s certain minimum requirements.


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