Some Public Pools Struggle With Budget to Stay Open

In December 2007, Congress and President Bush passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (VGB). Inspired by the tragic drowning of a seven-year-old girl, the law required all public spas and pools to install VGB-compliant drain covers, properly separated or unblockable drains or anti-entrapment systems such as a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) – by December 19, 2008.

In 2011, many public swimming pools still don’t meet the law’s requirements.

Many community pools simply don’t have the funds to make the mandated changes. Facilities serving under-privileged children, senior citizens, physically or mentally disabled citizens, or other facets of the community with special needs do not run on large budgets, and economic conditions have cut many public pools’ budgets.

However, there are resources that can help non-compliant pools improve their safety and go back to serving their communities. For example, Hayward Pool Products, the largest manufacturer of residential swimming pool equipment in the world, created its “Safe Swimming Initiative” to aid public pools who are struggling to meet VGB’s requirements due to budgetary issues.

The initiative will run through July 1 or until $1 million in Hayward Stratum Safety Vacuum Release Systems have been given to public pools in need. Hayward will refer facility operators to registered installers.

To submit a request for consideration in Hayward’s Safe Swimming Initiative, go to and click on the “Hayward Pledges up to $1 Million for Pool Safety” button. Products will be awarded with special consideration for public or non-profit facilities serving populations that are under-privileged or have special needs.

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