In The News: September 3, 2009

APSP Introduces VGB Compliance Tool Kit

Apsp Test Kit090309Because questions remain abundant regarding Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act compliance, the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals recently introduced a new field checklist and drain safety test kit to help industry professionals and health officials verify that a pool or spa really is in compliance with the federal law.

"We were concerned that [drain] covers were being swapped out daily without any solid means of verification that the new cover brought the circulation system into compliance," says Carvin DiGiovanni, senior director, technical and standards. "This kit solves that problem."

The test kit allows users to quickly and accurately determine the hydraulic characteristics of pools and hot tubs using TDH (total dynamic head) and pump curves, and "it was produced as an extension of the ANSI/APSP-7 Entrapment Avoidance standard to help builders/installers/service professionals one, asses the pool, two, select the correct suction fitting, three, disable the drain or choose a backup, and then four, conduct field verification tests to confirm that the pool actually performs according to the requirement of the VBG," says DiGiovanni.

The Association also created a four-step inspection process field checklist to identify suction entrapment hazards, as well as verification procedures for suction outlet safety. An easy to follow flowchart walks through simple scenarios to determine what suction entrapment hazards, if any, exist. It also provides a number of formulas to determine suction outlet safety.

For more information, visit or call 703/838.0083, ext. 301.

Meet John Norwood, The New President Of SPEC

Norwood John090309AQUA recently spoke with John Norwood, the newly appointed president/CEO of California Spa and Pool Education Council. Join us in welcoming Norwood, and read on to find out a little bit more about him and his goals for the industry.

Q: What are you most excited about regarding this new position?

A: I really look forward to the prospect of representing this organization, which truly epitomizes everything positive about the entrepreneurial spirit. I am also excited by the challenge of expanding SPEC to include a larger cross-section of the pool and spa industry to create a more formidable advocate for the interests of this important industry before state and local public entities.

My expertise is in government relations and lobbying. The legislature is every business' unwanted partner. My job is to keep government from costing our clients and their customers' time and money.

Q: What did you do before you took this position?

A: I own and operate Norwood & Associates and have had my own lobbying business for over 30 years. We have a blue chip list of clients that we represent just like we will be doing for SPEC from here on out. We employ three lobbyists and support staff and our firm is very well known in the capital with legislators and staff.

Q: What are your goals as a leader of SPEC?

A: Besides expending our best efforts to represent the interests of SPEC members in Sacramento, my main goal is to expand the awareness of SPEC. The industry needs to know who we are, what we stand for and what we do to represent their interests. Literally the enactment of one bad law in California can cost this industry its future.

Spec Logo W Tag Side090309Also, SPEC probably represents less than 2 to 3 percent of all segments of the pool and spa industry. We need to expand the membership among pool builders, distributors, subcontractors, manufacturers, chemical companies and pool service personnel.

SPEC is the only organization in California legally registered to lobby on behalf of the pool and spa industry. There is a vast array of legislation that affects this industry relative to health and safety, unlicensed contractors, energy and water conservation, chemicals, employment issues, and much more. Additionally, we must broaden the industry's support of SPEC beyond California. Whatever happens legislatively in California will eventually be exported to other states. The pool and spa industry cannot afford to allow bad legislation or regulation to gain a foothold in the largest state in the country.

A Mossy Alternative

Creative Water Solutions090309Providing clients with environmentally friendly alternatives remains a hot topic in the industry. Between energy-efficient pumps, automatic pool covers, solar heating and overall best green building practices, builders and service technicians have a lot of options to choose from. This past May, AQUA profiled a company that created spa moss, a green alternative to spa cleaning chemicals. The company, Creative Water Solutions, was recently spotlighted in The New York Times on its Green Inc. blog.

While the company has sold its moss treatment system for residential pools and spas since 2007, it recently shifted gears into the commercial market, testing the system in its first public pool in St. Paul, Minn., this past summer.

According to Thomas Schaffer, a 35-year industry veteran hired by the city to monitor the treatment, chlorine demand for the pool declined by one-third immediately and the pool is now using two-thirds less chlorine.

St. Paul's supervisor of aquatics Lynn Waldorf also told the newspaper that since the two-month trial began, the city's chemical and pool maintenance bills had already seen a reduction thanks to the product.

"We weren't using as many chemicals, we weren't having to clean the pool as much, and the water quality was gorgeous," says Waldorf. She adds that they moved the test treatment to a large indoor pool and saw the same results.

Read more about Creative Water Solutions: Clean and Green.

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