Was six months enough time for public pool operators to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act?

Depends on who you ask.

Though House sponsor Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., has maintained that “a year was enough time to come into compliance,” the federal agency in charge of carrying out the law didn’t release any guidelines until June 18, 2008 — only half a year before VGB would take effect.

That gave manufacturers a tight window in which to research, design, send and receive for testing, and then mass-produce and distribute approved drain covers.

“It’s to the extent where they probably got a little over their skis on the deadline,” says Vic Nolting, president of Coney Island Inc. in Cincinnati, a theme park that houses the gigantic, historic Sunlite Pool.

The situation created an unusual experience for at least one other public pool operator.

According to Rick Miller, design manager with the Recreation and Parks Department in Columbus, Ohio , a handful of the companies that could provide covers required payment up-front.

“There was such a demand for the product that they could afford to do that,” he says. “They needed you to be tied in, to know that you wouldn’t cancel an order.

“I think some were afraid that if you did a little research you might be able to find someone who could do it cheaper.”

So despite Wasserman Schultz’s claim that “there was no concern over the availability of compliant drain covers,” during the law’s conception, the scenario that played out in Columbus and elsewhere suggests that perhaps there should have been.


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Find a variety of resources on the VGB Act ? from archived articles and news headlines to multimedia presentations and related links.