NB: This article refers to the US industry, not Australia. See the end of this article for notes about what pools and spas are not affected by the recall in the US, including pools with multiple drains 900mm apart connected to a single pump.*
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled approximately one million incorrectly rated pool and spa drain covers that potentially pose an entrapment risk.
The issue of high flow rates through pool safety covers has sparked the CPSC to request a voluntary recall of up to one million previously approved drain covers.
The recalled drain covers had already passed safety tests, but the testing methods have been queried. As a consequence, the CPSC says the recalled drain covers were incorrectly rated to handle the flow of water through the cover, which could pose a possible entrapment hazard to swimmers and bathers.
The US industry had already been reeling from the costs involved in replacing drain and outlet covers in compliance with the Virginia Graham Baker (VGB) Act. It now appears many of those covers will need to be replaced again.
The CPSC says that consumers and builders should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed, and that it is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.
The following manufacturers have assisted the CPSC by recalling the affected drain covers: 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. See below for a list of pools and spas not subject to the recall.* For more information click here to go to the dedicated CPSC web page.
There are approximately 6.2 million residential and public in-ground pools and in-ground spas in the US. This recall will affect less than five percent of these installations, but the CPSC says the total number of actual covers recalled could be as many as one million.
The National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) supports the CPSC recall.
*Which pools and spas are not subject to the recall, even if they have the affected drain covers?
• Pools or spas with drain covers that were installed before December 2008. All of the drain covers affected by this recall were manufactured or sold after December 19, 2008.
• Pools or spas with unblockable drains. These will be rated and listed by the manufacturer as unblockable and include: long “channel drains” 3” x 31” or larger; other large drains, typically 24” x 24” or larger.
• Hot tubs (AKA portable spas) are not affected by the recall, whether they are free standing, placed in the ground or surrounded by a deck
• Swimming pools (as opposed to built-in wading (kiddie) pools or in-ground spas) that have a multiple main drain system or a gravity drainage system are exempt from this recall. Multiple main drain system means 2 or more drains connected to the same pump, spaced at least three (3) feet apart, centre to centre, which cannot be isolated. Where two drains are connected to separate pumps, they are each considered as single main drain.