Arundel to vote on tougher rules for public pools Dome-shaped filters would be required on drains

November 23, 1997|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

The Anne Arundel County Council is considering tougher safety requirements for public swimming pools to prevent injuries such as those suffered by a toddler whose intestines were sucked out when he sat on the filterless drain of a wading pool in Glen Burnie.

William Boulay, now 5, nearly died in the accident at a Holiday Inn on Ritchie Highway on Aug. 16, 1995. Last November, his family won a $20 million settlement of its lawsuit against the motel operator and pool maintenance company.

The Boulays are using the money to cover the more than $20,000-a-month cost of medical care for William, who cannot eat solid food. A machine pumps nutrients into his body through a hose attached to his chest, according to family members. Someone must change the boy's colostomy bag every 15 minutes or so.

The council is to vote Dec. 1 on a proposal that would require owners of new public pools to install dome-shaped filters over drains and have more than one exit for water.

Multiple drains are believed to be safer because the suction pressure is lower when someone's body blocks one of the drains, said Robert Webber, director of community health for the county.

Gary Boulay, William's father, said he strongly supports the additional safety requirements, which also would apply to some private pools used by large numbers of people.

"If that had been a double-drain pool, my son would not have been injured," said Boulay, a 37-year-old carpenter from Glen Burnie.

The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in February toughened its regulations for pools used by more than four people, also requiring multiple drains. This change served as the model for Anne Arundel County's proposed law.

Pub Date: 11/23/97

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