Recall of Pool and Spa Drain Covers: Frequently Asked Questions

CPSC, in cooperation with several manufacturers, has announced a voluntary recall of various swimming pool and in-ground spa drain covers. These questions and answers address this recall from May 26, 2011.

Pool and Spa Drain Cover Recall Frequently Asked Questions

These questions and answers explain the pool and spa drain cover recall from May 26, 2011

 

What is this recall about?

CPSC, in cooperation with several manufacturers, has announced a voluntary recall of various swimming pool and in-ground spa drain covers. A replacement or retrofit of these drain covers may be required in certain cases. A complete list of manufactueres involved can be found at CPSC's recall website. Check the individual manufacturer's website for a list of the affected models.

Why is a recall necessary?

CPSC staff conducted an extensive investigation of the adequacy of the testing and certification process used to evaluate the flow rates of pool drain covers. We found that due to incorrect testing procedures, some swimming pool and in-ground spa drain covers were incorrectly rated for protection against body entrapment. Incorrectly rated covers could pose a possible entrapment hazard to swimmers and bathers.

What swimming pools or in-ground spas are affected by this recall?

This recall relates to certain models of drain covers manufactured by the companies listed above. If you have such a drain cover, and you have (1) a kiddie pool, wading pool, or an in-ground spa, or (2) a swimming pool with a single drain that has drain covers that were installed after Dec. 19, 2008, the drain covers may be part of the recall. Note:

  • A kiddie or wading pool is generally found at public facilities. It is a permanent, built-in fixture with its own separate circulation system, and it typically has a maximum depth of 24 inches.
  • An in-ground spa is a permanent, non-factory built structure, typically with a concrete or vinyl bottom, with several return jets.

 

In summary, if your drain covers were installed after Dec. 19, 2008, and:

  • You have an in-ground spa, or
  • You have a wading or kiddie pool, or
  • Your pool has one drain,

you may need to participate in this recall and should take further action to ensure that your pool or in-ground spa is in compliance.

 

Note: The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB P&SSAct) went into effect Dec. 19, 2008. Facilities with outlet (drain) covers installed prior to this date may not be in compliance with the requirements of the Act. These facilities should be inspected and brought into compliance with the installation of appropriate outlet covers and secondary anti-entrapment systems, as needed, according to the Act.

 

Are drain covers installed in public pools prior to the December 19, 2008 effective date in an effort to be compliant with the VGB P&SSAct included in the recall?

Yes, provided that the drain cover is one of the models which has been recalled and the pool type or configuration falls within the scope of the recall (i.e., a wading/kiddie pool, in-ground spa, or single drain pool that does not have a gravity drainage system).

Are there any photos or pictures of the recalled drain covers?

Yes, photos of the recalled drain covers can be found on the manufacturers' websites:

 

What must I do if I think my swimming pool or in-ground spa may be part of this recall?

 

Do not attempt to remove or alter your drain cover in any way. If a replacement or retrofit is necessary, it should be performed only by a qualified pool or spa professional. It may not be necessary to remove your drain covers and removing the current cover to expose the drain will create a safety risk.

 

Contact www.apsp.org and click on the "Safety" tab which will take you to the "Drain Cover Recall" page where you will find information to help you determine if the drain covers in your pool or in-ground spa are covered by this recall and details for getting assistance.

                OR

Contact your pool builder or pool service provider directly.

Before you make that call, however, try to gather some basic information about the drain covers in your pool and spa. For example:

  • When were the drain covers installed?
  • How many drains does your pool or spa have?
  • What is the shape and size of the drain cover?
  • Who is the manufacturer of the drain cover?

This information can be extremely helpful in determining if your pool or spa is impacted by the recall and can assist in expediting a replacement or retrofit, if necessary.

For pools and spas with drain cover models that need to be replaced or repaired, CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum advises pool operators not to open the pool or spa until all repair work has been completed successfully.

Which manufacturers have drain covers affected by this recall?

The drain cover manufacturers whose products are included in this recall are:

The recalled covers vary in size and shape, but each includes model number markings, a flow rating, and the manufacturer's name. It is important to identify the manufacturer of the drain cover in your pool or spa to determine whether your drain cover is affected by this recall.

Are wading pools or "kiddie" pools affected by this recall? What about hot tubs?

Yes. Owners or operators of shallow wading or "kiddie" pools need to determine whether their drain covers are part of this recall and take the appropriate action. In general, if the wading pool or spa is installed in-ground (typically in concrete) and cannot be moved, it could be included in the recall if the drain covers were installed on or after Dec. 19, 2008.* See Question No. 4 and 11 for information on pools/spas with covers installed prior to the December date.

Store-bought "splasher" type pools and above-ground hot tubs are not part of this recall.

However, if you have a hot tub (portable spa) and notice that the covers within the hot tub are on the recall list, you should contact the manufacturer to determine what course of action is needed.

Does this mean my pool or in-ground spa is unsafe to use?

Incorrectly rated covers could pose a possible entrapment hazard to swimmers and bathers. If your drain cover and the swimming pool or in-ground spa are covered by this recall, Chairman Tenenbaum advises that the pool or in-ground spa should not be used until a professional examines the pool or in-ground spa and determines whether a replacement drain cover or retrofit is necessary. If a replacement or retrofit is needed, the pool or spa should not open until after the work is completed.

Are there any reports of injuries associated with the drain covers affected by the recall?

No, neither the CPSC nor the drain cover manufacturers are aware of any reports of injuries associated with the use of these drain covers.

If the drain covers were installed before Dec. 19, 2008, what should I do?

Drain covers installed before December 19, 2008, may not be part of this recall, but that does not mean the facility is compliant with the VGB Act. We recommend that you consult with a pool industry professional about upgrading your drain covers to make sure that your pool or spa is compliant with the VGB P&SSAct.

A public pool or spa that still has noncompliant drain covers and has not attempted to come into compliance with the VGB Act should not open until compliant drain covers are installed. This work would need to be done at the owner's/operator's expense.

The VGB P&SSAct went into effect on December 19, 2008. Facilities with outlet (drain) covers installed prior to this date may not be in compliance with the requirements of the Act. These facilities should be inspected and brought into compliance with the installation of appropriate outlet covers and secondary anti-entrapment systems, as needed, according to the Act.

Should I call my pool maintenance company, installer, or pool retailers about this?

After reviewing this information, if you still do not know whether your pool or in-ground spa is covered under this recall, you should:

  • Contact the builder of your pool or pool service provider, who may be able to provide an answer; or
  • Contact the recall hotline at (866) 478-3521 for more information.

IMPORTANT! It is essential that any replacement or retrofit of a drain cover be performed by a qualified professional. Do not remove a drain cover without having a replacement in hand and a qualified professional ready to install it. These products are not sold directly to consumers. Independent distributors sell the products directly to professional builders/installers.

Can I rely on just an SVRS, automatic pump shut-off, or a suction-limiting vent system until my drain covers are replaced?

No, while Safety Vacuum Release Systems, automatic pump shut-off devices, and suction limiting vent systems are intended to address body entrapment scenarios, the replacement of covers is determined without consideration of the secondary devices/systems, which are required for some pool configurations. The secondary anti-entrapment devices/systems should not be relied upon in determining whether the pool should remain operational while the covers are being replaced.

If our state limits the velocity through the cover, and has "re-rated" the covers based on the open area of the cover and the velocity limit, do we need to replace the covers if "our" circulation system rating is at or below the new ratings for the recalled covers?

No. As long as the rating for the drain covers is at or above your circulation system requirements, then the entrapment concern of incorrectly rated covers is addressed. The state or local authority having jurisdiction must assume responsibility for ensuring that equipment rooms are labeled with the flow rate values and note that the installed covers are limited to # ft/s of flow through the cover(s).

Are there other steps I can take to make my pool or spa as safe as possible?

Yes. Pool and spa swimmers, bathers, and operators must always practice basic and simple safety measures:

  • Never use a pool or spa that has a broken or missing drain cover.

     

  • Never allow any swimmers or bathers to play with or swim next to a drain cover.

     

  • Always make sure children are under constant adult supervision whenever they are in or around a pool, a spa, or any body of water.

     

    For more information go to www.PoolSafely.gov