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S. 1771 (110th): Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

The text of the bill below is as of Jul 11, 2007 (Introduced).



1st Session

S. 1771


July 11, 2007

(for himself, Mr. Dodd, Mr. Stevens, Mrs. Hutchison, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Warner, Mr. Durbin, Mr. McCain, and Mr. Coleman) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


To increase the safety of swimming pools and spas by requiring the use of proper anti-entrapment drain covers and pool and spa drainage systems, to educate the public about pool and spa safety, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.



Congress finds the following:


Of injury-related deaths, drowning is the second leading cause of death in children aged 1 to 14 in the United States.


In 2004, 761 children aged 14 and under died as a result of unintentional drowning.


Adult supervision at all aquatic venues is a critical safety factor in preventing children from drowning.


Research studies show that the installation and proper use of barriers or fencing, as well as additional layers of protection, could substantially reduce the number of childhood residential swimming pool drownings and near drownings.



In this Act:



The term ASME/ANSI as applied to a safety standard means such a standard that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute and published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.



The term barrier includes a natural or constructed topographical feature that prevents unpermitted access by children to a swimming pool, and, with respect to a hot tub, a lockable cover.



The term Commission means the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


Main drain

The term main drain means a submerged suction outlet typically located at the bottom of a pool or spa to conduct water to a re-circulating pump.


Safety vacuum release system

The term safety vacuum release system means a vacuum release system capable of providing vacuum release at a suction outlet caused by a high vacuum occurrence due to a suction outlet flow blockage.


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.


Unblockable drain

The term unblockable drain means a drain of any size and shape that a human body cannot sufficiently block to create a suction entrapment hazard.


Federal swimming pool and spa drain cover standard


Consumer Product Safety Rule

The requirements described in subsection (b) 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.).


Drain Cover Standard

Effective 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, 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.


State swimming pool safety grant program


In General

Subject to the availability of appropriations authorized by subsection (e), the Commission shall establish a grant program to provide assistance to eligible States.



To be eligible for a grant under the program, a State shall—


demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that it has a State statute, or that, after the date of enactment of this Act, it has enacted a statute, or amended an existing statute, and provides for the enforcement of, a law that—


except as provided in section 6(a)(1)(A)(i), applies to all swimming pools in the State; and


meets the minimum State law requirements of section 6; and


submit an application to the Commission at such time, in such form, and containing such additional information as the Commission may require.


Amount of Grant

The Commission shall determine the amount of a grant awarded under this Act, and shall consider—


the population and relative enforcement needs of each qualifying State; and


allocation of grant funds in a manner designed to provide the maximum benefit from the program in terms of protecting children from drowning or entrapment, and, in making that allocation, shall give priority to States that have not received a grant under this Act in a preceding fiscal year.


Use of Grant Funds

A State receiving a grant under this section shall use—


at least 50 percent of amounts made available to hire and train enforcement personnel for implementation and enforcement of standards under the State swimming pool and spa safety law; and


the remainder—


to educate pool construction and installation companies and pool service companies about the standards;


to educate pool owners, pool operators, and other members of the public about the standards under the swimming pool and spa safety law and about the prevention of drowning or entrapment of children using swimming pools and spas; and


to defray administrative costs associated with such training and education programs.


Authorization of Appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission for each of fiscal years 2009 and 2010 $2,000,000 to carry out this section, such sums to remain available until expended.


Minimum State law requirements


In General


Safety Standards

A State meets the minimum State law requirements of this section if—


the State requires by statute—


the enclosure of all residential pools and spas by barriers to entry that will effectively prevent small children from gaining unsupervised and unfettered access to the pool or spa;


that all pools and spas be equipped with devices and systems designed to prevent entrapment by pool or spa drains;


that pools and spas built more than 1 year after the date of the enactment of such statute have—


more than 1 drain;


1 or more unblockable drains; or


no main drain; and


every swimming pool and spa that has a main drain, other than an unblockable drain, be equipped with a drain cover that meets the consumer product safety standard established by section 4; and


the State meets such additional State law requirements for pools and spas as the Commission may establish after public notice and a 30-day public comment period.


Use of minimum State law requirements

The Commission—


shall use the minimum State law requirements under paragraph (1) solely for the purpose of determining the eligibility of a State for a grant under section 5 of this Act; and


may not enforce any requirement under paragraph (1) except for the purpose of determining the eligibility of a State for a grant under section 5 of this Act.


Requirements to reflect national performance standards and commission guidelines

In establishing minimum State law requirements under paragraph (1), the Commission shall—


consider current or revised national performance standards on pool and spa barrier protection and entrapment prevention; and


ensure that any such requirements are consistent with the guidelines contained in the Commission’s publication 362, entitled Safety Barrier Guidelines for Home Pools, the Commission’s publication entitled Guidelines for Entrapment Hazards: Making Pools and Spas Safer, and any other pool safety guidelines established by the Commission.



Nothing in this section prevents the Commission from promulgating standards regulating pool and spa safety or from relying on an applicable national performance standard.


Basic Access-Related Safety Devices and Equipment Requirements To Be Considered

In establishing minimum State law requirements for swimming pools and spas under subsection (a)(1), the Commission shall consider the following requirements:



A safety pool cover.



A gate with direct access to the swimming pool that is equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device.



Any door with direct access to the swimming pool that is equipped with an audible alert device or alarm which sounds when the door is opened.


Pool alarm

A device designed to provide rapid detection of an entry into the water of a swimming pool or spa.


Entrapment, Entanglement, and Evisceration Prevention Standards To Be Required


In general

In establishing additional minimum State law requirements for swimming pools and spas under subsection (a)(1), the Commission shall require, at a minimum, 1 or more of the following (except for pools constructed without a single main drain):


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.


Suction-limiting vent system

A suction-limiting vent system with a tamper-resistant atmospheric opening.


Gravity drainage system

A gravity drainage system that utilizes a collector tank.


Automatic pump shut-off system

An automatic pump shut-off system.


Drain disablement

A device or system that disables the drain.


Other systems

Any other system determined by the Commission to be equally effective as, or better than, the systems described in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of this paragraph at preventing or eliminating the risk of injury or death associated with pool drainage systems.


Applicable standards

Any device or system described in subparagraphs (B) through (E) of paragraph (1) 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.


Education program


In General

The Commission shall establish and carry out an education program to inform the public of methods to prevent drowning and entrapment in swimming pools and spas. In carrying out the program, the Commission shall develop—


educational materials designed for pool manufacturers, pool service companies, and pool supply retail outlets;


educational materials designed for pool owners and operators; and


a national media campaign to promote awareness of pool and spa safety.


Authorization of Appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission for each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2012 $5,000,000 to carry out the education program authorized by subsection (a).


CPSC report

Not later than 1 year after the last day of each fiscal year for which grants are made under section 5, the Commission shall submit to Congress a report evaluating the effectiveness of the grant program authorized by that section.