Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act
The Consumer Product Safety Commission approved a one year extension for compliance with the reinterpretation of the unblockable drain ruling released in September 2011. The new deadline for compliance will be May 23, 2013. This only affects drain covers that were installed using the CPSC's previous definition of unblockable drains.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission's voting commissioners decided to change the definition of an unblockable drain to require that the sump, in addition to the drain cover, measure more than 18 by 23 inches and meet certain other testing criteria.
The decision is retroactive, so pools that were brought into VGBA compliance with the installation of an unblockable–sized cover over a single, blockable-sized drain will have be split, supplemented with a secondary system, or otherwise treated like a single outlet.
While the agency originally considered setting a compliance date of May 28, 2012, it instead declared a 60-day public-comment period for affected parties to provide input on a feasible deadline.
WWA & IAAPA worked jointly to submit a letter with comments for consideration by the Commission prior to the vote. Both Associations also put together suggested language to clarify unblockable drains.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) held a press conference announcing the voluntary recall of pool and spa drain covers from eight different manufacturers. Click here to read CPSC’s press release with the highlights and photos of some of the recalled covers.
Please note that the release does not provide specific model numbers for the recalled covers and the photos included do not represent all of those recalled. If you have drain covers from one of the manufacturers listed, we recommend you contact the manufacturer directly to see if your covers are included in the recall.
The CPSC recommends the following: "Pool owners/operators and consumers who have one of the recalled pool or spa drain covers should immediately contact the manufacturer to receive a replacement or retrofit, depending on their make and model. Except for kiddie pools, wading pools and in-ground spas, retrofit or replacement of installed covers are not required in pools with multiple drain systems or gravity drainage systems or for covers installed before December 19, 2008.”
This recall may generate significant press coverage since the CPSC issued the press release two days before the Memorial Day weekend. We recommend you survey your pools and spas to understand the extent to which this recall may or may not impact your facility and be prepared to respond to inquiries from the press, employees or guests.
Summary of VGB Act:
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which officially went into affect December 19, 2008, represents an important step to ensure pool and spa safety. The law specifies that it is to be interpreted and enforced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Currently, most waterparks are already compliant and employ anti-entrapment features including gravity drains, multiple drains, and low flow rates through drains. The risk of entrapment has been addressed with these features.
If you like to learn more about this law, you'll find that what is posted here provides a history of what has been said and done in relation to the launch and implementation of the VGB Act.
Please keep in mind that much of the information available applies most to pools and spas and not waterpark attractions. While waterparks with regular pools, spas and hot tubs should refer to the documents here to confirm compliance, not all compliance questions will be answered here.
World Waterpark Association (WWA) and IAAPA are working in collaboration on developments that relate to the VGB Act. Should you have any questions, please call the WWA office at +1-913-599-0300.
Links to various information:
To view the press release from CPSC on the investigation into drain cover testing and entrapment risks, click here.
To view the CPSC's final interpretation on unblockable drains published in the Federal Register on 4-27-10, click here.
To view the 3-1-10 comments by Chairman Inez Tenenbaum click here.
To view the 7-7-2009 CPSC Update letter to the VGB Act click here.
To view the 7-1-2009 CPSC Update letter to the VGB Act click here.
To view the CPSC May 2009 Report on the Pool and Spa Safety Act click here.
To view the CPSC 12-16-2008 Industry Release click here.
To view the CPSC 12-15-2008 Enforcement Clarification click here.
To view the VGB Due Diligence Plan click here.
To view the Virginia Graeme Baker Act Seminar Powerpoint Presentation from WWA (Oct 2008) and IAAPA (Nov 2008) click here.
To view the Virginia Graeme Baker Act click here.
To view the CPSC VGB Compliance Letter click here.
To view the CPSC Guide to Compliance click here.
To view the CPSC Staff Draft Technical Guidance click here.
To view CPSC Pool and Spa Safety Publications click here.
To view a list provided by CPSC of manufacturers of ASME/ANSI Approved Drain Covers and ASME/ANSI/ASTM Approved Safety Vacuum Release Systems (Not all manufacturers currently offer grates for use in Waterpark Attractions) click here.
To view the APSP VGB Compliance Guide click here.
To order the ASME standard for Suction Fittings for Use in Swmming Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs click here