With a new certification standard in place and swim season coming, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is instituting strict new drain cover testing procedures.
CPSC also now has its own pool-specific testing lab in an effort to
prevent the problems that led to last year’s massive
In February, CPSC requested the presence of all testing labs to go
over drain cover certification procedures specified under the
federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act. The
meeting was to evaluate the protocols specified in ANSI/APSP 16
2011, adopted last September. It is the successor to ASME/ANSI
A112.19.8 2007, which was blamed in part for the drain recover
recall because it allowed for too much interpretation. Testing
inconsistencies led to the recall, which happened just before
Memorial Day weekend, the traditional opening day of
To eliminate such inconsistencies with ANSI/APSP 16, testing labs
will conduct a series of round robin testing. Under a pilot
program, the four testing agencies — NSF International, UL,
IAPMO and QAI Laboratories — as well as CPSC are conducting
hair and entrapments tests on one suction outlet fitting assembly,
said Kathleen Reilly, CPSC public affairs specialist. CPSC now has
a new 63,000-square-foot testing facility in Rockville, Md., that
includes a dedicated space for testing pool-related products.
When data is complete, “the intent is for test labs to then
present the round robin testing results to the group for
review,” said Anna Schmitt-Reichert, director of corporate
communications at NSF International.
After review, any agreed-upon revisions to the standard would
require approval from CPSC and the American National Standards
The goal is to “make sure that the [APSP-16] standard is
clear, and that we say what we mean and mean what we say, so we
don’t go through another round of confusion like we saw
before,” said Steve Barnes, safety and compliance manager at
Pentair Water Commercial Pool and Aquatics.
Barnes, who’s also a member of the APSP-16 committee and
chairman of the APSP Technical Committee, does not expect any
changes to testing to directly impact pool operators. “There
is no discussion on changing the requirements of the
standard,” he said.
What is under discussion are revisions to ensure consistency
of results among testing labs. Barnes joined approximately 20 other
individuals representing approved testing facilities, CPSC, and
other involved parties at a February meeting to look at hair and
entrapment tests used to determine if a suction outlet fitting
assembly can be VGB certified.
Barnes expects the process to be complete this year. Once that
happens, if there are revisions to testing procedures, drain covers
will have to meet the standard based on the revised testing to be
VGB-approved. Products are generally set to undergo certification
renewal on an annual basis.
Barring a change to the product or standard, that’s generally
a simple matter. Manufacturers are likely to have between one and
two years to meet a revised standard, Barnes added.
The new aquatic lab at CPSC will allow the agency to review other
products, and officials say SVRSs will be next.