Californians who Comply with the Pool Spa & Safety Act Now –Don’t have to Worry


WASHINGTON, DC – October 14, 2009 –—Though he vetoed many of the 700 bills on his desk, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger showed safety is a top priority when he signed a key piece of pool safety legislation into law over the weekend. The law, which was sponsored by Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, and Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, provides a framework for local officials to enforce the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act at the state level.

Assembly Bill 1020 makes pool safety easier than ever for Californian public pools by making it clear that it is not necessary to drain pools, install split or unblockable drains or embark on expensive upgrades. The law states that all existing public single-drain pools must be outfitted with an anti-entrapment device, such as a safety vacuum release system. All public pools regardless of how many drains must also be fitted with approved safety drain covers, regardless of how many drains the pool has.

Complying with the federal law can be done for as little as $1,500 now.

“We commend Governor Schwarzenegger for passing this bill and hope other states will follow suit,” PSC spokesman John Procter said. “AB1020 makes it easier and underscores how minimally inexpensive it is for public pool and spa owners to comply with the federal law.”

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety (VGB) Act became mandatory December 19, 2008. Thus, there should be no delay in complying to the federal and state law. “We strongly suggest installing the necessary safety equipment right away,” Procter said. “Those who comply by January 1, will not have to retrofit their pools to meet the new California law.”

Pools that fail to comply with the VGB Act Federal face up $100,000 fines per infraction, up to $15 million for any related series of violations. Drain entrapment occurs when a swimmer becomes trapped by the suction power of a pool or spa drain, and often results in horrific injuries or death. To learn more about pool safety, contact us at or (800) 970-8420.

The Pool Safety Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of child drowning nationwide. For additional information, including guidance on Pool and Spa Safety Act guidance requirements, please visit our website at:

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Pool Safety Tips

  • Use the Water Watchdog System to make sure children are always closely supervised in the pool area.

  • Remind kids to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.

  • Never dive into water less than 9 feet deep.

  • Keep gates to the pool area latched.

More water safety tips