Senator Saland's Legislation To Make Swimming Pools Safer Passes The Senate

Stephen M. Saland

June 19, 2006

Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced the New York State Senate passed legislation he sponsored that would make swimming pools safer and in turn, better protect children. The legislation would require notification to ensure proper inspections take place, and make certain that fencing around a pool construction site complies with state regulations or local law. (S.6290)

Under Saland's legislation, temporary enclosures must be replaced with permanent fencing within 90 days unless there is a valid reason not to do so. In such a case, the party responsible for the installation can apply for an extension waiver.

In addition, a new notification procedure will provide that a local building department is made aware of the installation of an in-ground pool by the pool contractor if a building permit has not already been secured by the owner. Once notification occurs, a municipality may follow through with inspections to the site to ensure that the owner complies with local and state code.

The legislation was drafted after the death of Matthew Lenz, a toddler from Craryville, Columbia County, lost his life after a tragic drowning accident in 2005. Matthew had wandered on to a neighbor’s property with an in-ground swimming pool which had no fence.

"If the pool had been properly secured by fencing, as required by the state residential code, Matthew’s life may have been spared," Senator Saland said. "Tragically, too many children lose their lives each year from drowning accidents which could be avoided if permanent fencing is installed in compliance with state regulation or local laws. Proper fencing, in a timely fashion, will reduce the number of drownings involving young children and spare additional families from having to experience the unfathonable loss that Matthew's family has suffered."