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PSC Exclusive

Pool Safety Council Investigation Reveals New Drain Covers Easy To Obtain
February 2009

Recent reports claim that Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act-compliant drain covers are hard to purchase. However, an investigation by the Pool Safety Council found manufacturers' backlogs have been short-lived, improving, or non-existent.

“Everybody’s starting to step up,” Wade Arens, co-founder of major drain manufacturer Aquastar Pool Products, said of himself and his colleagues. “It’s getting better daily.”

The Virginia Graeme Baker Act is named after former Secretary of State James Baker’s granddaughter, who died after becoming entrapped on a residential spa’s drain. Before opening in 2009, all public pools must install approved safety drain covers.  All single drain public pools must also install an anti-entrapment device, such as a Safety Vacuum Release System.

A rash of stories, including one in the Wall Street Journal, have surfaced around the country about public pool owners and operators having great difficulty finding drain covers that comply with the law. But over the course of two weeks, the Pool Safety Council spoke with top manufacturers of VGB-complaint drain covers who said they are experiencing either minor delays on orders or none at all.

Arens admitted his company, which makes an assortment of VGB-compliant drain covers, was hit hard when the law when into effect Dec. 18. But while demand was so high at one point orders were backlogged six to eight weeks, Aquastar has already slashed their turnaround time. “If an order comes in [now,] we’re getting it out in two-and-a-half weeks,” Aren said. Aquastar has manufacturing facilities working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet demand, and the company has hired more than 40 new employees in the last month to help churn out the drain covers.


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