The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2007 established U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards for pool and spa safety, including suction drain safety requirements and recommended state pool fence standards.

One of the suction drain safety requirements is that all public swimming pools must install anti-entrapment drain covers meeting the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 standard on all suction drain outlets by Dec 19, 2008. There are no enforcement provisions in the federal law, which leaves it up to the states to begin enforcement.

The Division of Environmental Health is beginning the process to adopt the drain safety standards into the United States Rules Governing Public Swimming Pools. It will take about one to two years before enforcement of these provisions on public swimming pools with multiple drains, takes place. It is unlikely any state or local enforcement will begin before the 2010 swimming season.

What this means for public swimming pool owners is that new anti-entrapment drain covers will need to be installed on all pool suction drains. Very few drain covers installed prior to 2009 meet the new standards. Disabling existing pool drains is not an option, since that would violate current state rules resulting in denial or suspension of a public swimming pool operation permit.

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