Last month, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s voting
commissioners moved to change the definition of an unblockable
drain to require that the sump, in addition to the drain cover,
measure more than 18-by-23-inches and meet certain other testing
criteria. The measure passed 3 to 2, in what some say was a
The issue has a history beginning in 2010, when the Commission
decided a drain can be considered unblockable — regardless of
sump size — if its cover complies with the VGB Act. That
measure sparked protest among safety advocates and others, who
claimed that such a drain would become hazardous if its cover came
off to expose a smaller sump.
The recent vote occurred when one of the commissioners who
approved last year’s interpretation and the new ruling was
split along partisan lines, with Republican’s against and
Democrats for the change. Both sides say they received industry
input and aquatic professionals are still reacting to the decision.