Virginia Graeme Baker Act: Deadline Looms Near

by Myles McMorrow, May 5, 2009

Virginia Graeme BakerWith the swim season gearing up in the United States, more pools are finding out very late that they must comply with the new federal law. A lot of swimming pools are facing budget cuts in this economy and many are finding out that they do not have the money to make the upgrades to comply with the law.

Sad but true, many community pools will not open this year due to estimates of up to $20,000 to install a complete new drain system in the pool.  

 Older pools cannot simply replace the drain covers because covers are not made for older drain types. Veterans in the pool industry are still having a hard time finding the drain covers and SRVS systems due to the high demand.

States are adopting the VGB act in their legislature in order to cut red tape when it comes to inspections and enforcment of the VGB Act and to qualify for the federal funding to do so. Florida this week saw it clearing the House with a 115 to 2 vote, and does not expect opposition in their Senate. We will be seeing many more states following Florida's lead in the next few weeks.

Many insurance companies are canceling policies, or hiking rates for commercial pools that are not making the changes for the law. Most pools need to have a 1 million to 3 million dollar insurance policy to operate a public pool.

 A lot of states are going to apply for stimulus money that was granted to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for enforcement and education. As a part of President Obama's stimulus package, there is also funding set aside to take the law to the residential level - if a state decides to make it a law for their homeowners. This will affect all new pool construction as well as requiring the retrofitting of older pools.

 This law is a good law that will save many lives and prevent a lot of injuries, but may have come at the wrong time during this economic slowdown we are having. It's gonna be a Hot summer!