Public pools are regulated by Wisconsin ATCP76 and SPS390.
Pool Envy appreciates fixing pools the correct way. Any hotel, condo, a public facility that wants us to do service will have to provide a copy of their pool site plan before we will enter into any engagement of service. This is so we may verify if your pool was modified by someone else prior to our visit.
Pool Envy has professional engineers on our staff ready to help with compliance, and we can do drawings, site plans, and submittals, including sealed drawings. The DOE has banned the manufacturing of single-speed pool pumps. Swapping a pool pump in Wisconsin on a public pool does require a plan-submittal under VGBA. Each pump has a unique curve, and we must verify that the new curve works with your existing plumbing, drain grates, and frames. Yes, we understand that other pool companies will happily swap your pump without following the necessary process, we see it often, and that is why we choose not to walk into it. We care about the safety of guests and do not want to see anyone injured because of facility negligence.
The reason why you should have a site plan complete is simple: It protects you, and the public, and it can save you energy. By law, you have to keep a copy on site. Where it helps though is once we know the design parameters of your swimming pool, we can formulate a custom solution for your pool. Increasing your drain line to 4″ from 1-1/2″ may yield enormous energy savings for pump use. We might find out that your old filter is too small for your existing pump, this could help with water quality issues. You may have drain covers that are too small for your pump, and this could save you the headache of a lawsuit down the road.
There are things you can do that do not require a plan such as swapping like for like equipment. For example, if you have Brand-X filter TA12345 and swap it for a TA12345 you would not need a plan review. Since many public pool operators are not engineers, it is wise to have an engineer validate your pool design. For ownership exchanges, perhaps you don’t know what has changed but would like to validate your design to ensure compliance, we can update a plan submittal that reflects the facility as it is. This way, you can avoid a shutdown if you get reported, or if an inspector sends a referral.
The VGBA (Virginia Graeme Baker Act) was updated in 2021 and has new requirements for manufacturers of covers. Newer pumps are now variable speed and offer the ability to save your facility money. It is a great time to get your facility on the up and up and know that you are doing the right thing. We have found significant improvement in water quality after the plan review. Sometimes, we can safely increase the turn-over rate of the pool without significant upgrades. This is done by making calculations to validate what we have existing and where we would like to end up.
Under VGBA the drain frame, grate, sump, and plumbing all matter. Many older pools using 1-1/2″ plumbing are running dangerous velocities that can still result in hair entrapment despite existing updates. Most of the time this is with the equalizer below the skimmer. Did you know these can be disabled with an appropriate plan review submittal? We provide a submittal to the state, then we can fill them with concrete and abandon them, the state inspector takes a look and you are good to go. Thinking of switching to a cartridge filter from sand, a review is necessary.
Public pool operators have an extraordinary responsibility to serve the public with a duty of care to avoid being negligent. Drain frames that are broken can cause your facility to be shut down. There is no gray area with respect to VGBA. Your pool covers are either in good repair or not. Simply adding an additional screw to a loose drain cover does not make it compliant. It can make a facility negligent should an adverse event happen. Pool service companies should inspect every cover at every visit. Our belief is that the person who last touched it is responsible for it.
The myth of the health department. Your pool is examined under ATCP76 by a health sanitarian often. The purpose of these inspections is to check a few key points that the state of Wisconsin determined are important. The main concern of a health sanitarian is if the water contains bacteria and that your chemicals are correct. They are not pool builders, designers, or engineers. Many are not trained to look for all of the factors involved in VGBA. The operator of the pool is still responsible. The CPSC can enforce a fine of up to $250,000 for VGBA violations. If a patron is injured in your pool due to negligence, it can cost you. A current and validated engineering plan is a great way to ensure you are taking action to stay safe.
Pool Envy engineers have professional licensure and must validate any design before signing off. Our first design concept is safety first. Over the years we have found issues with public pools that cost operators money. Loose drain frames, cross-connected plumbing, and unsafe chemical venting. The other major issue we see is NO GFCI breakers and missing electrical bonding. Aside from the electrical safety aspect, missing bonding can cause major corrosion of your pool and result in rapid wear and corrosion of metal parts. Incorrectly installed chemical feeders can cause plastic in the plumbing to become brittle is a close second.
Pools age and not always gracefully. Many public pools are “patched” in Wisconsin. Likely because there are a lot of rules to navigate. Our goal is to get your pool to a level of confidence you can feel good about. One where you don’t have constant breakdowns, and one where you have a pool that is safe and clean, that guests will notice.
Pool Envy provides consulting to help you discover issues with your pool. Do you have SDS sheets? It’s required by law. We can help you with your written planning. Is your chemical system vented to the outdoors per the NFPA and NEC? If you don’t know the answer then it is time for a consult.