Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

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NATIONAL LAW PASSED THAT AFFECTS ALL PUBLIC POOLS AND SPAS


In December 2007, Congress and President Bush signed a new law which requires ALL PUBLIC POOLS AND SPAS to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act)by December 2008. The law states that “each public pool and spa in the United States must be equipped with anti-entrapment devices or systems that comply with the ASME/ANSI 112.19.8 performance standard or any successor standard; and each public pool and spa in the United States with a single main drain other than an unblockable drain shall be equipped, at a minimum, with 1 or more of the following devices or systems designed to prevent entrapment by pool or spa drains”. 
“Effective 1 year after the date of enactment of this title , each swimming pool or spa drain cover manufactured, distributed or entered into commerce in the United States shall conform to the entrapment protection standards of the ASME/ANSI A 112.19.8 performance standard, or any successor standard regulating such swimming pool or drain cover.” To read this law in its entirety, click here:

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOUR POOL AND SPA
(NO ONE is grandfathered on these regulations)

  • By December 20, 2008, your pool, whether it has single or multiple drains, needs new anti-entrapment drain covers that must comply with ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 performance standard, which are availlable here
  • Your public pool or spa that has a single drain must have at least one additional level of entrapment protection which could be:
    • Safety Vacuum Release – a vacuum release system capable of providing vacuum release at a suction outlet caused by a high vacuum occurrence due to a suction outlet flow blockage. (i.e., Stingl Switch, Vac-Alert, Etc.)
    • Suction-Limiting Vent System* – a suction limiting vent system that utilizes a collector tank.
    • Gravity Drainage* – a gravity drainage system that utilizes a collector tank.
    • Automatic Pump Shut Off System – An automatic pump shut off system.
    • Drain Disablement- A device or system that disables the drain.

*This would have been installed during pool construction. It cannot be added to an already existing pool, only new construction.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO TO BECOME COMPLIANT

  • On all drains, install a NEW ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 performance standard anti-vortex or anti-entrapment cover (currently being developed)
  • On all pools or spas that have single drains that are not unblockable OR two main drains measuring less than 36” apart (three-feet from center to center ) per pump must have at least one additional level of entrapment protection (See above)
  • RESIDENTIAL POOLS – As of December 20, 2008 – it will be AGAINST federal law to make or sell a drain cover in the United States that does not comply with ASME/ANSI 19.8.  Thus, all new residential construction as of December 20, 2008, must comply with the federal law.

·         TERMS
UNBLOCKABLE DRAIN – The Act defines unblockable drain as a drain of “any size or shape that a human body cannot sufficiently block to create a suction entrapment issues”. The ANSI/APSP-7 2006 standard requires that to be considered unblockable, a drain must be at least 31” in one dimension and at least 3” in the other dimension or must be larger than 18” in one dimension and larger than 23” in the other dimension with 4 in. radius corners.
SAFETY VACUUM RELEASE SYSTEM – The term ‘safety vacuum release system’ means a vacuum release system capable of providing a vacuum release at a suction outlet caused by a high vacuum occurrence due to a suction outlet flow blockage.
GRAVITY DRAINAGE SYSTEM -  A gravity drainage system utilizes a collector tank meaning that the water flowing from the pool/spa to the circulation system does not connect  directly to the pump. The water collects in a collection tank or basin open to the atmosphere and the pump pulls the water from it for circulation back into the pool.
SUCTION LIMITING VENT SYTSEM – A suction-limiting vent system has a “tamper resistant atmospheric opening”,  which is a pipe vented to the atmosphere that connects to a suction pipe between the pool and the pump. When an entrapment of vacuum occurs, air from the vent pipes replaces the water in the suction pipe by breaking the vacuum.
AUTOMATIC PUMP SHUT-OFF – An automatic pump shut-off system is a device that shuts off the pump/motor in a vacuum or entrapment occurrence.
DRAIN DISABLEMENT – Drain disablement cannot been done on new construction, as single blockable drains are not permitted by code. To disable the main drain, it needs to be plugged and filled with concrete. It then needs to be permanently disconnected from pool pump suction and circulation systems and to reverse the flow of the water.

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