New regulations on pool safety have been implemented in a new initiative.
July 17, 2013 - Centerport, NY – Anyone who owns a pool or spa knows just how much of a financial investment and potential liability their watery oasis can be. Against the backdrop of children blithely frolicking in a local homeowner’s swimming hole on a sweltering hot, summer’s day, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Legislator William Spencer announced today the implementation of a new, comprehensive pool safety and consumer protection program. The initiative will professionalize the pool/spa industry by requiring minimum standards for those seeking to do installations and maintenance for residential consumers. It also penalizes those unscrupulous businesses seeking to take advantage of residential pool customers.
The initiative authored by Spencer and signed by Bellone creates a registry for pool maintenance businesses and expands the current Home Contractor’s License to include the installation and servicing of swimming pools and spas in Suffolk County. Persons applying to be certified to work on pools must provide proof to the Suffolk County Department of Labor & Licensing that they have obtained the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals’ Certified Maintenance Specialist Certification, which is valid for 3 years.
“As part of my ongoing Healthy Communities Initiative, I worked with members of the swimming pool industry to enhance pool safety with regard to proper installation, service and maintenance of swimming pools and spas,” stated Legislator Spencer. “We are always teaching our children to be safe while in and around pools, but if the equipment isn’t up to code or maintained by someone who knows the intricacies of swimming pools and spas, we all remain at risk. This new licensing program, whole-heartedly supported by the industry, would ensure that those who work on our pools come with the right tools and training to keep us all safe.”
Contractors seeking certification must provide documentation that they have attended a minimum of 6 hours of continuing education on the building, installation and servicing of swimming pools or spas since their last license application or renewal. Current holders of a home improvement contractor’s license who engage in the building, installation and/or servicing of swimming pools and spas shall have one year to obtain the necessary certifications and provide documentation.
“This legislation is a win for pool owners and every honest contractor who services swimming pools in Suffolk County,” County Executive Steve Bellone said. “I applaud Legislator Spencer for protecting homeowners by making sure that every contractor servicing swimming pools has the certification to get the job done.”
Any person who operates a pool maintenance business without obtaining a registration certification, or continues to operate such business after having their registration suspended or revoked, could be found guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and or imprisonment for up to 1 year.
Violations would include:
Committing fraud in securing a registration certificate.
Making false statements on an application for a registration certificate.
Being previously found guilty of fraud, deceit or misrepresentation when providing services to a customer.
“I am grateful to Andy Levinson, a Director with the Long Island Pool and Spa Association and Mike Truehart the organization’s President, as well as Kyle Chaikin, the incoming President of the Northeast Spa and Pool Association for their tireless efforts and invaluable knowledge,” stated Spencer. “These individuals are hardworking, passionate industry leaders who have spent years educating their colleagues about how to keep pool and spa users safe. Working with them to craft this Consumer Protection Program was a pleasure. I would also like to thank my colleagues on the Suffolk Legislature for supporting my resolutions that created this new program, especially Legislators Muratore and Nowick who took the added step and co-sponsored the legislation. Their support means the world to me.”
As a result of these laws authored by Spencer and signed by Bellone, County pool owners can now be confident that the contractor working on their pool or spa has the necessary experience to do the job properly. They can also trust that unscrupulous, fly by night operations seeking to make a quick buck at the expense of consumers will be held accountable for their fraudulent practices.