Community center seeking drain covers

Despite the frigid temperatures December has brought upon residents in Central New York, many communities are thinking about swimming pools. In particular, grates that cover drains in the bottoms of pools.

In Skaneateles, the town board met early Monday morning to discuss the Skaneateles Community Center's drains in response to national legislation requiring swimming pools to be equipped with grates to cover drains that could potentially harm facility users. The deadline to install drain covers that are ANSI/ASME compliant was Dec. 19, which many were unaware of, said Director Matt Major.

According to Major, while the community center has not had any incidents of injury to pool users because of the drains, the facility needs to comply.

Regardless of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which was enacted following the death of Virginia Graeme Baker when she became trapped in a spa drain in Florida, there are several size drain grates that have not been manufactured or are in the stages of manufacturing which makes them unavailable to those who are required to have them.

According to Major, the ones needed at the community center have not been manufactured yet.

"They're forcing something without really having things lined up," Major said.

Once the correct grates are manufactured, they would have to be approved by Onondaga County and then reviewed by an engineer.

Deputy Supervisor Ellen Kulik said the town and facility need to make a good faith effort to comply with the legislation because she and others do not want to have a small child wander into the pool area and get injured if their hair or a part of their body gets pulled into the drain.

"I think we need to document our efforts to find the grates," said town attorney Patrick Sardino.

He suggested the town have different companies come out to talk about the grates needed. As of right now, there is no estimate on the cost per grate or labor to have them installed, though labor alone could cost up to $30,000, Major said.

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