Be thorough: Check pool drain covers
The primary purposes of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is to prevent serious injury or death caused by drain entrapment.
In its role as the lead agency implementing and enforcing the VGB Act, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) works with the pool and spa safety community to encourage the use of multiple safety steps, such as fencing around pools, constant supervision of children, and a requirement for the installation of anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices as needed.
As such, drain cover manufacturers are required to provide consumers with information that tells them when the drain cover must be replaced before it begins to crack or show other signs of failure. Many manufacturers have designated a lifespan of 5 years, others up to 10 years. Because numerous fittings were installed between 2008 and 2009, these have reached the end of their stated life expectancy and need to be replaced.
The VGB Act mandated the following changes in federal regulations for public pools/spas: ▪ All pool drain covers manufactured, distributed or entered into commerce on or after Dec. 19, 2008, must meet the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 standard, or the successor standards ANSI/ APSP-16 and ANSI/PHTA/ICC-7 2020.
▪ All public pools and spas must be equipped with VGB-compliant drain covers.
▪ Pools and spas operating off of a single main drain (other than an unblockable drain) must also add one or more of the following options: ▪ A safety vacuum release system (SVRS).
▪ A suction-limiting vent system. ▪ A gravity drainage system. ▪ An automatic pump shut-off system.
▪ A disabled drain. ▪ Any other system determined by the commission to be equally effective as, or better than, the others listed above.
1. Safety vacuum release system (SVRS)—a safety vacuum release system ceases operation of the pump, reverses the circulation flow or otherwise provides a vacuum release at a suction outlet when a blockage is detected.
2. Suction-limiting vent system—a suction-limiting vent system with a tamper-resistant atmospheric opening, also called an atmospheric vent, is a pipe teed to the suction side of the circulation system on one end and open to the atmosphere on the opposite end. When a blockage occurs at the main drain, air is introduced into the suction line, causing the pump to lose prime and relieving the suction forces at the main drain.
3. Gravity drainage system—a gravity drainage system uses a collector tank and has a separate water storage vessel from which the pool circulation pump draws water. Water moves from the pool to the collector tank depending on atmospheric pressure, gravity and the displacement of water by bathers, which removes the need for direct suction at the pool. This type of system is also referred to as a reservoir, surge tank, or surge pit. Not all gravity drainage safety systems will serve as surge tanks. Some new systems are designed simply to eliminate direct suction.
4. Automatic pump shut-off system—an automatic pump shut-off system is a device that would sense a drain blockage and automatically shut off the pump.
5. Drain disablement—this is the only option that eliminates rather than mitigates the hazard. To satisfy the definition of drain disablement, the drain/outlet would need to be physically removed from the system by filling the sump with concrete, cutting and capping the piping in the equipment room, or re-plumbing the suction line to create a return line and reverse flow.
6. Other systems—any other system that is determined by CPSC to be equally effective as, or better than, the safety systems listed here.
A pool may have more than one single main drain.
If a pool has dual or multiple main drains more than 3 feet apart, it may be exempt from this final requirement. Pools and spas with single main drains that is unblockable are also exempt from this requirement.
Aquastar’s 10” Universal Round Main Drain Cover with Universal Adapter Kit, White