QUESTION: I have lived in my condo for decades and it seems that the board is constantly finding new ways to spend our money. Now they've decided that the pool drains need new covers. As far as I'm concerned, they are fine the way they were. The president says he's complying with the law. I say, "bologna!" Who is right?
ANSWER: I believe that your president is probably referring to the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. This is, indeed, Public Law 110-Title XIV. It was actually signed into law on Dec. 19, 2007 ,and became effective 12 months later.
The law is named after the daughter of Nancy and James Baker and the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker III. Graeme Baker died in a tragic incident in June 2002 when the suction from a spa drain entrapped her under the water. This act was first introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL) and was supported by the Baker family and Safe Kids Worldwide.
The repair is fairly simple and usually costs less than $3,000. It involves installing new valves and drain covers. Florida Administrative Code (64E-9) was also amended in 2009, effective May 24, 2009. This requires that all pools built without a main drain collector tank must be retrofitted with a properly sized and piped collector tank as described in the collector tank definition on or before the prescribed dates to eliminate direct suction through the main drain.
Also, all existing public pools with direct suction main drains had to install a main drain cover/grate that meets both the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 standard for drain covers/grates and the main drain cover/grate 1.5 feet per second water velocity requirement of this rule.
In other words, for the safety of the residents and anyone who uses the pool, especially children, the work had to be done. The board is fulfilling its obligation to maintain the assets of the association and to comply with the law, although a little late.
Attorney Sylvia Heldreth is a Certified Specialist in Real Estate Law. Her office is located at 1215 Miramar Street in Cape Coral.
This article is not intended as specific legal advice to anyone and is based upon facts that change from time to time. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting upon any matter involving the law.