A Texas senator has introduced a state bill aimed at raising awareness of suction entrapment.
S.B. 710 would require individuals, upon the sale of their home, to
document whether the pool or spa contains a “single blockable
main drain.” The home seller would be left to determine the
presence of a blockable main drain, or consult a professional. That
notification would be included in the state’s existing home
seller disclosure form.
The bill does not mention anti-entrapment backup devices or safety
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) filed the bill in the
Texas State Senate on Feb. 15. With the support of the Aquatic
Professionals Education Council, a statewide pool and spa industry
advocacy organization, and others, the senator hopes to see the
bill passed in the current legislative session.
“We’re going to work in that regard,” said Steve
Koebele, a government relations counsel for APEC. “We believe
this bill would enhance customer awareness, improve pool safety and
increase industry service demand.”
But supporters say the bill’s primary
purpose is to make
sellers and buyers aware of the legal ramifications a single
blockable main drain may present.
“[A disclosure notice] helps the seller because it reduces
any liability on their part,” said Jennifer Hatfield,
government affairs director for the Association of Pool & Spa
Professionals. “As with other items on the notice, the
responsibility comes back to the seller or the Realtor to hire an
inspector. The system’s already set up that way; this is just
one more item on the list.”
Once notified of the issue, the buyer would not be required to take
any action before purchasing the property. Still, the drain
disclosure would provide official documentation that the new
homeowner had been notified of the potential hazard.
“By common sense alone, a buyer should be informed of certain
things about the property that may not be readily
Koebele said. “Those buyers may not be aware of the
differences between a single main drain and dual drains, until
those distinctions are explained to them.”
The bill’s supporters hope this combination of seller
liability protection and buyer forewarning will prompt buyers and
sellers to address drain safety voluntarily.
“If a [disclosure notice] says your home has termites, for
example, you don’t have to get that fixed,” said Jake
Posey, a government relations counsel for APEC. “But what
happens in practice is [that] the seller may knock a little off the
price to pay someone to come out and fix the problem.”
As awareness of the bill spreads among industry professionals
throughout the state, response has been largely positive.
“I think it’s a smart bill,” said Charlie
Claffey, president of Claffey Pools in Southlake, Texas, a Pool
& Spa News Top Builder. “If there’s something
potentially dangerous in the pool, the homeowner needs to be made
aware of that so they can get it fixed.”
The lobbyists also expect a companion bill soon will be introduced
in the Texas House of Representatives, though a sponsor for that
bill had not been found as of press time.