The recently concluded session of Florida’s legislature resulted in a new section of Chapter 514 of the Florida Statutes that substantially eases the financial burdens that would otherwise be faced by ROCs required to install anti-entrapment devices in community pools and spas as required by the Virginia Graeme Baker Act.

As many ROC managers and board members know, Florida’s Department of Health has taken the position that the only anti-entrapment device that would satisfy its requirements was the gravity drainage system which, unfortunately was by far the most expensive corrective measure.  Many communities were faced with the prospect of having to spend over $25,000 in order to bring pools and spas into compliance with the Department of Health’s standards.

Under proposed Florida Statute section 514.0315, owners of swimming pools and spas that must be brought into compliance by installing an anti-entrapment system or device can install any of the following:

  • A safety vacuum release system that ceases operation of the pump, reverses the circulation flow, or otherwise provides a vacuum release at a suction outlet when a blockage is detected and has been tested by an independent third party and found to conform to certain specified standards
  • A suction-limiting vent system with a tamper-resistant atmospheric opening
  • The gravity drainage system that uses a collector tank (which, again, is the most expensive alternative)
  • An automatic pump shut-off system
  • A device or system that disables the drain

Section 514.0315 clearly specifies that it is the owner of the pool or spa (and not the Department of Health or any other state or local governmental agency) that can determine which of these five anti-entrapment systems or devices is appropriate. 

The anti-entrapment system or device must be installed by a contractor licensed under Florida Statute Section 489.105(3)(j),(k), or (l).

The Florida Manufactured Housing Association testified in favor of this legislation and believes that Section 514.0315, if enacted, will result in substantial savings to the owners of mobile home parks in our state.

It’s anticipated that Governor Scott will have no objection to Section 514.0315 and, if approved, this new provision will become effective on July 1, 2011.