Thursday, March 12, 2009

Federal Law Imposes New Requirements on Community Pools

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. § 8001 (the "Act"), which regulates the safety of public pools and spas, went into effect on December 19, 2008. The Act regulates "public" swimming pools and spas, including privately owned community pools and pools owned or operated by a homeowners association, condominium association, apartment building, or other residential real estate development.

As of December 19, 2008, all public pools and spas must have drain covers that meet the American National Standards Institute and American Society of Mechanical Engineers A112.19.8-2007 standard on every drain and/or gate. If the pool or spa does not have these drain covers, it must close immediately. A list of drain cover manufacturers can be found at the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website:

In addition, if the pool has a single main drain (other than an unblockable drain), the operator must either disable the drain or install a second anti-entrapment device or system. This can take the form of an automatic shut-off system, gravity drainage system, Safety Vacuum Release System, or suction-limiting vent system. If a pool has dual or multiple main drains more than three feet apart, it may be exempt from this second requirement. Pools and spas with single main drains that are unblockable are also exempt from this requirement. A list of SVRS manufacturers can be found at

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued technical and legal interpretations of Act, which can be found at

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