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Suffolk County enacts stricter standards for installing and maintaing backyard pools

Mackenzie Issler

Legislation requiring new standards for those who install and maintain residential pools and spas and mandating stiffer penalties for those who break those regulations was signed into law Wednesday by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Bellone was joined with Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport) at a Halesite home to announce the county’s pool safety and consumer protection program, which include two resolutions passed by the county legislature in April.

“This represents a great model for how we should be operating in government: A partnership between industry and government to come up with commonsense regulations that help protect the safety and the health and welfare of constituents,” Bellone said.

The law will create a registry for pool maintenance businesses and expand the current Home Contractor’s License to include the installation and servicing of swimming pools and spas in the county. People applying to be certified to work on pools must provide proof to the Suffolk County Department of Labor and Licensing that they have received the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals’ Certified Maintenance Specialist Certification, which is valid for three years.

Contractors seeking certification must provide documentation proving they have attended a minimum of six hours of continuing education on the building, installation and servicing of swimming pools or spas since their last license application or renewal.

Anyone operating a pool maintenance business without obtaining a registration certification, or continuing to work after having a registration suspended or revoked, could be found guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a prison term of up to 1 year.

“This is a situation where the industry came to us so we are not imposing overregulation,” Spencer said.

Michael Truehart, president of the Long Island Pool and Spa Association, said the initiative has been in the works for several years.

“We are extremely pleased that Suffolk County has now adopted this licensing initiative,” said Truehart, of Northport. “It is a win-win for everyone.”