Don’t Let Swimmers Become Entrapped in your Pool or Spa Drain
Do your pool and spa comply with the new safety requirements?
Pro Home Manager: By Rubi Fingeret
In December 2008, a new federal law became effective intended to prevent swimmers, usually small children, from being entrapped in the suction from pool and spa drains. It requires public pools and spas to be equipped with anti-entrapment drain covers or systems that comply with a nationally recognized standard. It is called the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, named for the 7 year old girl who drowned after being sucked into the main drain of a spa pool at a party.

According to, over the last two decades, there have been 147 documented incidents and 36 deaths due to suction entrapment in pools and spas.

The new federal law requires that all public pools and spas have anti-entrapment drain covers or grates that comply with ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 performance standards. The act also requires that all public pools either have dual drains that are not on the same return line or a safety vacuum release system or other approved device that is intended to prevent drain entrapment. The Consumer Product Safety Commission ( is the primary enforcement agency for the new law. New public pool construction is required to comply with these requirements and existing public pools will require retrofitting and certification, as required by federal and state regulation.

Anti-entrapment devices that comply with the law include an automatic shut-off device, gravity drainage system, Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS), and a suction-limiting vent system. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an automatic pump shut-off system would be a device senses a drain blockage and shuts off the pump system. Some safety vacuum release systems may meet this definition.

Even though only public facilities are required to comply with the anti-entrapment law, homeowners are advised to retrofit their pools and spas not only to protect their families and guests, but also possibly to save homeowners’ liability insurance premiums. Consult your local pool and spa professional to determine how little it can cost to keep your swimmers safe.





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