Frequently Asked Questions

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act and Florida’s Public Pools and Spas Factsheet

What is the new Federal Public Pool and Spa Safety Act?

In December, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Virginia Graeme Baker Act. This new law requires safety improvements at public swimming pools and spas to prevent drowning and entrapment.

When does this law take affect?

December 19, 2008

What does this mean for Florida Public Pools/Spas?

All Florida swimming pools and spas will be required to replace the existing main drain grate/cover.

Florida’s newer public swimming pools (since 1977), and spas (since 1993), built with gravity drainage to a collector tank would only need to replace the main drain grate/cover to comply with this Act. This is about 80% of all swimming pools in Florida.

Some older spas were built with a suction-limiting vent system with a tamper-resistant atmospheric opening. These facilities, also, will only need to replace their main drain grate/cover to be in compliance with the federal Act.

The older direct suction pools and spas would need to replace the main drain grate/cover and provide suction mitigation as mentioned above. There are about 7,000 swimming pools and spas that will require both modifications to be in compliance with the federal act.

What are the basic requirements of this law?

The Act requires three basic things for all public pools and spas.

  • The first requirement is that the main drain grate/cover be replaced with one that meets the requirements of the new ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 performance standard, “Suction Fittings for Use in Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs”.
  • The second requirement is that the direct pump suction drainage system entrapment hazard be mitigated by one of six methods, i.e., changes to the recirculation system.
    • Safety Vacuum Release System conforming to ASME/ANSI standard A112.19.17 or ASTM standard F2387
    • Suction-Limiting Vent System with a tamper-resistant atmospheric opening
    • Gravity Drainage System with a collector tank (required in Florida)
    • Automatic Pump Shut-Off System
    • Drain Disablement device or system, or
    • Other Systems that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approves.
  • Grates/covers manufactured, distributed, or entered into commerce in the United States shall conform to the new federal standard.

Who can perform the work?

Only a Florida licensed pool contractor.