To avoid the potential of pool and spa suction entrapments, the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled dozens of models of drain covers from eight different manufactures. This recall is expected to impact over a million pools and spas nationwide.
Pool and spa suction entrapments are a real danger to swimmers. According to the CPSC, from 1999 to 2010 there were 97 suction entrapments nationwide, 12 of which involved deaths. The CPSC recalled these drain covers because they were incorrectly rated to handle the flow of water which could pose a possible suction entrapment hazard. The recall is a result of a several month investigation wherein obtained over 17,000 documents from testing laboratories used by the drain manufactures.
There has been a strong federal and state government interest in pool regulation in recent years. This interest primarily stems from the 2002 suction entrapment death of 7-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker "Graeme". On June 15, 2002, Graeme went to a graduation pool party at a friend's house. Shortly after arriving, she entered a hot tub and became pinned to bottom drain. Although two adults were eventually able to pull Graeme from the bottom, she drowned. From this tragedy, Congress passed the 2007 Virginia Graeme Baker Act. As of December 19, 2008, this law:
- Prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of suction outlets and covers in the U.S. that are not ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 certified,
- Requires all public pools and spas, both new and existing, be equipped with certified covers on every suction outlet,
- Requires all new construction of public pools and spas include multiple drain outlets, and
- Requires existing public pools and spas with a single suction outlet, other than an unblockable outlet, to be fitted with one or more of the following intended to prevent death or injury caused by entrapment, evisceration or entanglement:
- Safety vacuum release system (SVRS) that complies with ANSI/ASME A112.19.17 or ASTM F2387;
- Suction limiting vent system;
- Gravity drainage system;
- Automatic pump shut-off;
- Drain disablement; or
- Equivalent system that may be approved by the CPSC.
The CPSC cautions owners of pools, spas and hot tubs outfitted with the recalled drain covers to stop using the products immediately. Anyone with one of the recalled drain covers should immediately contact the manufacturer to get a replacement or retrofit.
The manufacturers of the recalled drain covers are:
- A&A Manufacturing;
- AquaStar Pool Products;
- Color Match Pool Fittings;
- Custom Molded Products;
- Hayward Pool Products;
- Pentair Water Pool and Spa;
- Rising Dragon USA; and
- Waterway Plastics.