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Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

On September 28, 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 3-2 to interpret an unblockable pool or spa drain based on the size of the drain opening and not the size of the drain cover used over the sump. The Commissioners heard from some members of Congress and families who have lost their children in drain entrapment incidents, and both groups informed the agency that the law was intended to require a back-up system or device, if a public pool or spa has a single main drain that is of a blockable size (smaller than 18" x 23"). Since the law went into effect in December 2008, many public pool and spa operators with blockable sized single main drain systems installed a VGB compliant drain cover and an automatic pump shut-off device or SVRS device (or already had a gravity drainage system or suction-limiting vent system, which are two of the other back-up options).

It is very important for the pool and spa industry to be aware that CPSC is not saying that unblockable sized drain covers should be removed from facilities that installed them on small single main drains. Rather, the Commission is directing pool and spa operators to add a back-up system or device. The Commissioners and the staff, in fact, recognize that unblockable sized drain covers are an advance in pool safety. Yet, layers of protection are an important principal that the VGB Act promotes. This message only affects public pools and spas that used CPSC's 2010 interpretation to install an unblockable sized drain cover over a blockable sized single main drain, without adding a back-up system or device.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB) was enacted in late December 2007 to enhance pool and spa safety through new federal requirements for safety drain covers and anti-entrapment systems and through a grant program for states that enact further pool and spa safety regulations.

Read the complete VGB Pool and Spa Safety Act.

  • Within one year all swimming pool and spa drain covers manufactured, distributed or entered into commerce in the United States shall meet entrapment protection standards set forth in the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 performance standard. This requirement is a consumer product safety rule enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC has prepared a guidance document on the pool and spa safety act to help provide more information on the technical requirements of the act and on the enforcement and legal requirements.

  • All public pools with a single main drain, other than an unblockable drain, must also be equipped with at least one of the following anti-entrapment devices or systems.

    - Safety Vacuum Release System
    - Suction-Limiting Vent System
    - Gravity Drainage System
    - Automatic Pump Shut-Off System
    - Drain Disablement
    - Other Equivalent System
The Consumer Product Safety Commission will also establish a grant program to assist states in hiring and training enforcement personnel on the new federal regulations required under VGB and to educate pool companies, pool owners and operators of the new requirements.

To be eligible states must have a statute, or enact or amend a statute, that meets the following minimum safety requirements.

  • The enclosure of all outdoor residential pools and spas by barriers to entry that effectively prevent small children from gaining unsupervised and unfettered access.

  • All pools to be equipped with devices or systems that are designed to prevent entrapment by pool and spa drains.

  • Pools and spas built more than one year after enactment are to have more than one drain, one or more unblockable drains or no main drain.

  • Every swimming pool and spa that has a main drain, other than an unblockable drain, is to be equipped with a drain cover that meets the standards set forth in ASME/ANSI A112.19.8.

  • Periodic notification should be provided to owners of residential swimming pools or spas advising of compliance with entrapment protection standards.

Drain Cover Successor - 7/20/2011

Drain Cover Recall - 5/26/2011

  • All manufacturers have issued a voluntary recall on certain pool and inground spa drain covers manufactured after 12/19/08.
  • Except for kiddie/wading pools and inground spas, retrofit or replacement of installed covers is not required in pools with multiple drain systems or gravity drain systems.
  • For specific information please contact the drain cover recall hotline at 1-866-478-3521.
  • For additional information call a Recreonics' sales consultant today at 1-800-428-3254.
Got Questions??? 800-428-3254