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Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

Design Requirements for Drain Covers, Drain Configurations and Anti-Entrapment Systems

What is the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act?

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is a federal law that establishes design requirements for drain covers (grates), drain configurations and anti-entrapment systems in public and semi-public swimming pools and spas. The Act is intended to reduce injuries and deaths associated with suction entrapment hazards in pools and spas. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act can be found at http://www.poolsafely.gov/pool-spa-safety-act/read/.

When did the Act take effect?

The Act took effect December 19, 2008. This means that all indoor public and semi-public pools and spas must now be in compliance with the law.

What must each Public and Semi-Public Swimming Pool and Spa do to comply with the Act?

All public swimming pools and spas must have drain covers that comply with ASME/ANSI standard A112.19.8. In addition, single-drain public swimming pools and spas must have a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) that conforms with ASME/ANSI standard A112.19.17 or ASTM standard F2387.

Please note that a number of pools installed an SVRS in 2001-2002 to meet Maryland safety requirements as an alternative to installing double drains. These SVRSs will have to be replaced if they do not meet the new design standard. This requirement is in addition to installing a new drain cover in the pool.

Field-fabricated drain sumps and custom-made drain grates may be necessary for some public swimming pools and spas to comply with the Act.

I have a pool or spa in my backyard. How will this Act affect me?

For now, there will be no effect on homeowners who have a pool or spa (also known as a hot tub). The Act applies only to public and semi-public facilities. However, if you replace a drain cover in your pool or spa, you probably will not be able to purchase a cover that is identical to the one you have now. The Act requires that only drain covers that comply with the new standard may be sold.

Because suction entrapment hazards can also be present in home pools and spas, the Department of Health encourages owners to replace drain covers and to consider taking other measures specified in the Act to reduce these hazards.

Where can I find additional information about the Act?

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
http://www.poolsafely.gov/

For more information, contact:
Anne Arundel County Department of Health
Bureau of Environmental Health
Public Swimming Pool and Spa Program
3 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401
410-222-7217