As the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act deadline neared, many aquatics facilities were left assessing their options amidst widespread confusion.

The federal law mandates that all public pools and spas must have certain entrapment-prevention measures in place as of Dec. 19. To comply, some pools need repairs reaching into the tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Additionally, aquatics directors have received mixed messages on enforcement. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which administers the law, doesn’t have the manpower to perform inspections, and wants state and local officials to take on the task.

But health and building departments vary in their commitment. Some plan to stay out of it, while others will inspect and even fine pools in their jurisdiction.

But if an accident or complaint is filed, CPSC will become involved. No facility wants to break a federal law. On the following pages, read about some of the problems that facilities and repair technicians are facing.