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Answers To VGB FAQs

November 16, 2011

In an attempt to clear confusion resulting from the CPSC’s vote to redefine the term “blockable drain” in September, APSP has released the following memo with answers to some frequently asked questions.  Visit the link here.

1. What was this vote about?
On Sept. 28, 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to revoke a prior “interpretive rule” which had defined an unblockable drain, a term used in the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGBA). The interpretative rule defined “unblockable drain” to include the drain cover, meaning that a small suction fitting (drain) with an unblockable cover which fit into a smaller, blockable sump would be classified as unblockable. As a result of the Sept. 28 vote, the definition of an unblockable drain will revert to the language in the Definition Section of the VGBA and will  include the sump, but not the suction fitting or drain cover. Hence, a large unblockable drain cover over a smaller
blockable drain cannot be used to create an unblockable drain.

1.1 What is an unblockable drain?
An unblockable drain is a sump that cannot be completely shadowed on an 18-by-23-inch rectangle.  For example, an 18-by-18-inch” sump is considered “blockable” while a 24-by-24-inch sump is considered “unblockable.”

2. What does this vote mean?
Under the VGB Act, public pools that have a single drain that is not unblockable must install one or more additional devices, such as an SVRS, automatic pump shutoff, gravity drainage system or suction-limiting vent system. A pool with an unblockable drain is exempt from these additional requirements.  As a result of this vote, public pools and spas that have a single large unblockable drain cover over a smaller blockable drain will be required to install one or more of these secondary devices.