Public Swimming Pools and Spas
A New Law in Texas That Affects all Public Pools and Spas
On December 19, 2008 the Federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGBA) became effective. The VGBA requires all pool drain covers manufactured or sold in the United States to comply with new entrapment standards. VGBA also requires owners of all new and existing public swimming pool and spa suction outlet systems to install safety equipment, including ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 certified suction outlets and covers, designed to prevent entrapment. Since the law took effect in December 2008 public pool and spa owners have been required to have their pools and spas in compliance with VGBA. While existing Texas requirements for public pools and spas are similar to the federal VGBA requirements, Senate Bill (SB) 1732, 81st Leg., R.S. (see below), which creates Health and Safety Code §341.0645, requires the Department of State Health Services to develop and implement safety standards and rules that are at least as stringent as those in VGBA. The process to adopt these rules in Texas is under way.
Information about compliance with VGBA can be found at: www.poolsafety.gov/. Questions concerning compliance with SB 1732 and the Standards for Public Swimming Pools and Spas in Texas (25 TAC §§265.181 – 265.208) should be directed by email to Katie Moore, or by telephone: 512-834-6788, ext. 2306, or by email to Andrea Garcia, or by telephone: 512-834-6788, ext. 2362.
S.B. No. 1732
relating to safety requirements for public swimming pools and other artificial bodies of water.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Subchapter D, Chapter 341, Health and Safety Code, is amended by adding Section 341.0645 to read as follows:
Sec. 341.0645. POOL SAFETY. (a) An owner, manager, operator, or other attendant in charge of a public swimming pool, wading pool, baby pool, hot tub, in-ground spa, water park, spray fountain, or other artificial body of water typically used for recreational swimming, bathing, or play shall comply with pool safety standards adopted under this section.
(b) The executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission shall adopt by rule pool safety standards necessary to prevent drowning. The standards must be at least as stringent as those imposed under the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (15 U.S.C. Section 8001 et seq.).
SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.
On December 19, 2007, the President signed into law the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, named after the daughter of James and Nancy Baker and the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker III. Graeme Baker died in a tragic incident in June 2002 after the suction from a spa drain entrapped her under the water.
The following is information related to the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act:
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Letter - May 6, 2008 (PDF 430KB)
Staff (CPSC) Interpretation of Section 1404: "Federal Swimming Pool and Spa Drain Cover Standard - June 18, 2008 (PDF 76KB)
REVISED CPSC Staff Draft Technical Guidance on Section 1406 on Minimum State Requirements for Grant Program Public Comment Period (Cover) (PDF 37KB)
CPSC Staff Draft Technical Guidance on Section 1406: Minimum State Law Requirements - September 2008 (PDF 78KB)
Suction Outlet Comparison Chart
Texas Standards for Public Swimming Pools and Spas and Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act
CPSC Guide to Complying with the Law (PDF 48KB)