In The News: September 2006

Proposed Legislation Emphasizes Anti-Entrapment Drains 

Citing a long-standing commitment to water safety, the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals announced in late July its support for efforts underway in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to promote safety measures for swimming pools and spas.

Separate bills in the Senate and House, both entitled the "The Pool and Spa Safety Act," have been introduced, the Senate bill sponsored by Senator George Allen (R-VA), and the House bill by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

The Senate bill requires that drains for all pools and spas meet specified performance and design standards. Further, the legislation directs the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish recommended minimum state law standards for pool and spa safety, and to administer funding grants to states that both adopt the CPSC safety standards and establish an education and awareness program to inform the public of methods to prevent drowning and entrapment.

Specifically, the minimum safety standards to be adopted by states in order to become eligible for federal grants must provide for the "enclosure of the pool or spa by barriers to entry that will effectively prevent small children from gaining unsupervised access to the pool or spa; and devices and systems designed to prevent entrapment of children by pool or spa drains."

"Safety is a core belief of the pool and spa industry," says Bill Weber, APSP president and CEO. "Along with many others, APSP and its members promote safety in numerous ways, and very importantly, this legislation will both encourage common-sense approaches to safety and raise public awareness of appropriate safety precautions. We applaud the sponsors for proposing this legislation, and we look forward to supporting a blending of the two bills and final enactment in this session of Congress."

The APSP has worked with congressional staff to incorporate language into the proposed law that materially aligns with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) published standards for pools and spas. "We are pleased that the legislation provides for grant incentives to states to adopt safety standards of the kind that our industry association has been facilitating and promoting for decades," says Weber. "We have a long-standing relationship with the CPSC in encouraging water safety and welcome all opportunities to achieve the highest level of safety in pools, spas, hot tubs and all water venues."

The legislation allows the CPSC to either write its own standards or to adopt existing standards. Language from the Senate bill states that, "In promulgating standards under this Act, the Commission shall consider current or revised national performance standards on pool and spa barrier protection and entrapment prevention." The ANSI pool and spa standards meet the provisions for adopting applicable "national performance standards."

On May 3, APSP representative Mark Laven, president & CEO of Latham International, testified on pool safety on behalf of APSP and the industry before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee's subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Product Safety and Insurance, chaired by Senator Allen. Laven called upon the subcommittee to recognize that, "New ideas for safety products and features are being developed all the time. To mandate any one device or method has the potential to create a false sense of security and to 'freeze' one solution in place at the expense of new and better alternatives that may become available. Consumers must be allowed to benefit from safety innovation. Moreover, a safe pool environment involves many factors, in combination, and 'one size does not fit all' when it comes to responsible pool ownership."

A copy of both bills can be obtained by visiting, contacting APSP Member Services at 703/8380083 extension 301, or e-mailing [email protected].

Blue Hawaiian Opens New Plant

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley announced Blue Hawaiian Fiberglass Pools will open a manufacturing facility in Edgecombe County, creating 69 jobs and investing almost $3 million over the next three years.

"Blue Hawaiian's decision to expand its operations with a plant in North Carolina is a testament to our No. 1-ranked business climate and highly skilled workforce," Easley said. "We will continue to make the necessary investments in education, workforce development and infrastructure that make our state the best choice for manufacturing companies that are expanding or relocating."

Blue Hawaiian manufactures onepiece fiberglass swimming pools and spas with 200 distributors nationwide and in Canada. Nominations Sought For APSP Hot Tub Council

The Hot Tub Council of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals will hold elections this October for opening Council seats. At least two, and possibly five, Council seats are opening, including two vacant seats and three seats occupied by members whose first terms are ending.

Each Council member serves one three-year term and has the option to run for a second consecutive three-year term. A member may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. Companies are limited to one representative serving on the Council at any one time. No member can be represented concurrently on the governing body of any other APSP division that has a vote on the APSP Board of Directors. Terms begin Nov. 1.

The Hot Tub Council says its mission is to strive to increase awareness of the hot tub category among consumers by communicating the numerous benefits of hot tub ownership.

Candidates interested in serving must complete a willingness to serve form. For more information, contact Lauren Stack at [email protected] or 216/491.8977. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 30.

Polaris Pool Systems, Zodiac Pool Care Merge

Zodiac Group announced a merger between Polaris Pool Systems and Zodiac Pool Care, effective Sept. 1. The new company will be called Zodiac Pool Care Inc., with headquarters located in Vista, Calif. The merger follows the acquisition of Polaris Pool Systems by Zodiac Group in January 2005.

"Following a thorough investigation into the synergies between these two companies, it was decided that a full merger was best for our business and for our customers," says Kate Thielscher, president of the new company.

As part of the merger, a single sales force will come into effect immediately, with marketing, customer service and administrative functions relocated to Vista. Zodiac Pool Care will maintain an operations and warehousing facility in Pompano Beach, Fla., and will continue to manufacture and warehouse Nature2 and Baracuda products from this facility. The company will maintain separate identities for the Polaris and Zodiac brands.


Softub conducted its third annual international sales meeting in June in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dealers from Germany, the United Kingdon, Russia, the Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Iceland and the Netherlands attended.

Pentair Water Pool and Spa has entered into an exclusive sales and marketing agreement with LAARS Heating Systems Company. The move will enable Pentair to expand its commercial heater offerings, which also includes a broad line of pumps, filters and deck equipment for the recreational and waterpark industries.

WaterTech, East Brunswick, N.J., recently participated in the local American Cancer Society's Daffodil Relay For Life 2006 charity event, which has raised over $90,000. WaterTech won an award for being part of the best small fundraising team, according to company president Guy Erlich.

APSP will launch a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary with a gala event on Nov. 30 at the Hilton in Las Vegas. The event will include the presentation of the International Awards of Excellence and the Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Content Library
Dig through our best stories from the magazine, all sorted by category for easy surfing.
Read More
Content Library
Buyer's Guide
Find manufacturers and suppliers in the most extensive searchable database in the industry.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide