Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

Design Requirements for Drain Covers, Drain Configurations and Anti-Entrapment Systems

What is the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act?

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is a federal law that establishes design requirements for drain covers (grates), drain configurations and anti-entrapment systems in public and semi-public swimming pools and spas. The Act is intended to reduce injuries and deaths associated with suction entrapment hazards in pools and spas.

When did the Act take effect?

The Act took effect December 19, 2008. This means that all public and semi-public pools and spas must now be in compliance with the law.

What must each Public and Semi-Public Swimming Pool and Spa do to comply with the Act?

All public swimming pools and spas must have drain covers that comply with ANSI/APSP-16-2011. In addition, single-drain public swimming pools and spas must have a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) that conforms with ASME standard A112.19.17-2010 or ASTM standard F2387.

The drain modification and cover replacement work done in 2008-09 to comply with VGB was required to be reviewed and approved by the Department of Health. The service life of these drain covers depends on the manufacturer and type of cover. It is the responsibility of the pool owner to replace covers when they reach the end of their service life. Any change in brand or model of drain cover requires that a new Aquatic Facility Review Form be submitted to the Department for review. If the cover is replaced with the same brand and model with the same flow rating as the prior cover, then no review is needed.

I have a pool or spa in my backyard. How will this Act affect me?

The drain cover replacement portion of the Act that took effect in 2008 applied only to public and semi-public pools and spas. Homeowners were not required to replace drain covers. However, all drain covers sold after December 2008 must comply with the Act. This includes covers for commercial, public and private pools and spas.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act also was designed to provide safety information to pool owners and users. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely program has many useful tips for enjoying the water while avoiding hazards.

Where can I find additional information about the Act?

For more information, contact: 
Anne Arundel County Department of Health 
Bureau of Environmental Health 
Public Swimming Pool and Spa Program 
3 Harry S. Truman Parkway 
Annapolis, MD 21401