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State Closes Hundreds Of Pools Over Drain Covers

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(CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Hundreds of pools across Illinois have been closed by the state, after state inspectors found them in violation of federal drain regulations.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports, the regulations went into effect after a 7-year-old girl drowned, when she was sucked to the bottom of a hot tub nearly 10 years ago. Now, all licensed pools and hot tubs nationwide are required to install safety devices.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports

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The Illinois Department of Public Health has cited the owners of hundreds of pools all across the state. The state’s non-compliant swimming facility list includes 145 pools in Chicago and 186 in suburban Cook County.

The list included public pools, as well as swimming pools in schools, health clubs, private clubs, YMCAs, condo buildings, medical facilities, and hotels.

The federal requirements are outlined in the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool And Spa Safety Act, named after the 7-year-old girl who drowned in 2002 when a hot tub drain suctioned her to the bottom of a pool. Pools are now required to install mechanical devices that ease the vacuum seals or turn off motors when entrapment or blockage is sensed.

In some cases, upgrading the drains is a relatively cheap and easy fix – simply replacing drain covers.

In others, drains have to be re-built at considerable cost.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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