The Catholic University of America

Summary of Federal Laws

Miscellaneous Laws Affecting Universities

Compliance Partners

Director of Athletics

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

15 USC 8001 et. seq.

This law specifies that on or after December 19, 2008, swimming pool and spa drain covers available for purchase in the US must meet specific performance requirements. Public swimming pools, wading pools, spas and hot tubs must meet requirements for installation of complianct drain covers. The goal of this new law is to prevent the drowning of young children who become trapped from the suction of a drain. This law mainly affects pools/spas where there is only a single main drain or a flat drain gate.

All covered pools and hot tubs need to be equipped with ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 compliant drain covers safely and securely installed and a 2nd anti-entrapment system installed where there is only a single main drain.

The definition of a public swimming pools includes a pool open exclusively to members of an organization and their guests, so universities are likely covered by this new law.

Relevant Portions of the Law

15 USC § 8002

(6) Swimming pool; spa

The term "swimming pool" or "spa" means any outdoor or indoor structure intended for swimming or recreational bathing, including in-ground and above-ground structures, and includes hot tubs, spas, portable spas, and non-portable wading pools.

§ 8003. Federal swimming pool and spa drain cover standard

(a) Consumer product safety rule

The requirements described in subsection (b) of this section shall be treated as a consumer product safety rule issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2051 et seq.).

(b) Drain cover standard

Effective 1 year after December 19, 2007, each swimming pool or spa drain cover manufactured, distributed, or entered into commerce in the United States shall conform to the entrapment protection standards of the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 performance standard, or any successor standard regulating such swimming pool or drain cover. If a successor standard is proposed, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers shall notify the Commission of the proposed revision. If the Commission determines that the proposed revision is in the public interest, it shall incorporate the revision into the standard after providing 30 days notice to the public.

(c) Public pools
(1) Required equipment
(A) In general
Beginning 1 year after December 19, 2007--
(i) each public pool and spa in the United States shall be equipped with anti-entrapment devices or systems that comply with the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 performance standard, or any successor standard; and
(ii) each public pool and spa in the United States with a single main drain other than an unblockable drain shall be equipped, at a minimum, with 1 or more of the following devices or systems designed to prevent entrapment by pool or spa drains that meets the requirements of subparagraph (B):
(I) Safety vacuum release system
A safety vacuum release system which ceases operation of the pump, reverses the circulation flow, or otherwise provides a vacuum release at a suction outlet when a blockage is detected, that has been tested by an independent third party and found to conform to ASME/ANSI standard A112.19.17 or ASTM standard F2387.
(II) Suction-limiting vent system
A suction-limiting vent system with a tamper-resistant atmospheric opening.
(III) Gravity drainage system
A gravity drainage system that utilizes a collector tank.
(IV) Automatic pump shut-off system
An automatic pump shut-off system.
(V) Drain disablement
A device or system that disables the drain.
(VI) Other systems
Any other system determined by the Commission to be equally effective as, or better than, the systems described in subclauses (I) through (V) of this clause at preventing or eliminating the risk of injury or death associated with pool drainage systems.
(B) Applicable standards
Any device or system described in subparagraph (A)(ii) shall meet the requirements of any ASME/ANSI or ASTM performance standard if there is such a standard for such a device or system, or any applicable consumer product safety standard.
(2) Public pool and spa defined
In this subsection, the term "public pool and spa" means a swimming pool or spa that is--
(A) open to the public generally, whether for a fee or free of charge;
(B) open exclusively to--
(i) members of an organization and their guests;
(ii) residents of a multi-unit apartment building, apartment complex, residential real estate development, or other multi-family residential area (other than a municipality, township, or other local government jurisdiction); or
(iii) patrons of a hotel or other public accommodations facility; or
(C) operated by the Federal Government (or by a concessionaire on behalf of the Federal Government) for the benefit of members of the Armed Forces and their dependents or employees of any department or agency and their dependents.
(3) Enforcement
Violation of paragraph (1) shall be considered to be a violation of section 19(a)(1) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2068(a)(1)) and may also be enforced under section 17 of that Act (15 U.S.C. 2066).


Consumer Product Safety Commission web page with Q and A and more


updated 6/27/13 CCR