ADA and Government Regulations
The federal government has an active role in ensuring everyone’s safety at swimming pools, both public and private. The EPA has put in place guidelines regarding swimming pool chemical usage and discharge. There are also building code requirements, both local and national, addressing swimming pool construction and safety. In the past few years Congress has enacted new government regulations stemming from the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Virginia Graeme Baker Act that also impact the swimming pool industry directly. A brief explanation of these laws, as well as links to more information on them is offered below.
ADA Accessible Guidelines
The deadline for existing pool and spa compliance with sections 242 and 1009 of the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standard for Accessible Design was January 31, 2013. Pools built or renovated since March 15, 2012, are currently required to meet the ADA requirements. PHTA urges facility operators and owners of pools and spas that fall under the requirements to work with a PHTA member company to provide a barrier removal analysis if they have not already done so. For additional information on the ADA requirements for pools and spas, visit the DOJ’s Technical Assistant Document, and the ADA’s 2010 Accessibility Standards. Costs vary on the ADA-approved lifts, but generally start at about $6,000.00, including installation. If you have questions regarding this act or how it may affect your specific water facility, contact us and we will be happy to discuss it.
Due to the Virginia Graeme Baker Act (VGBA) that Congress passed into federal law in December 2007, main drain covers are still a hot topic. The intention of the law is to prevent accidental drowning and injury due to entrapment on the suction grates of all swimming pools, spas, and fountains. You can read more about the act on the U.S. Government page of the Consumer Product Safety Commission at this link:
What does this mean? If you are a commercial operation such as a hotel or health club, the local health department may close your facility down until you are in compliance with the law. Compliance may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as local laws may go beyond the minimal regulations established in VGBA. However, at the minimum, the main drain grates on your water facility probably need to be changed to the newly approved grates.
If you are a home pool owner and your pool was built before 2008, your pool is probably not in compliance and you may run the risk of accidental entrapment in your pool. Please call us if you would like us to assess your pool for this risk.