The City of Chula Vista may be closing its two municipal pools---Parkway and Loma Verde—December 19, the same day a tough new federal law aimed at drowning prevention takes effect. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act mandates stringent new requirements for public and residential pools and spas. One section of the law requires that new anti-entrapment drain covers be installed. Those covers are not yet on the market for purchase. Since entities that violate the law face criminal prosecution and a fine of $15 million per day, city attorneys have advised Recreation officials to close the pools. Public Works staff is attempting to find a solution that allows the pools to remain open to the public.
Since the law affects all pools in the United States, many facilities in the region are faced with the same dilemma and the same deadline. The San Diego Aquatic Council has been working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to delay implementation of the new rules.
Chula Vista’s Recreation Department is in constant communication with equipment vendors and manufacturers to ensure the City will have access to the required equipment as soon as it becomes available. An extended closure of the pools would affect thousands of Chula Vista residents and a long list of revenue generating programs for the city. Elementary and high school students, Olympic athletes, dive teams and two USA swim teams use the pools regularly.