Editor’s Note: Aquatics International will continue to update this story as it develops. Please check back regularly for updates.
Approximately 1 million drain covers are being voluntarily recalled from 10 different manufacturers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today on the eve of the new swimming season. The action will affect “hundreds of thousands of pools,” said Scott Wolfson, CPSC public affairs director.
Replacement or retrofits are mandatory only on wading pools, kiddie pools and spas. CPSC is advising that those facilities be closed until retrofits or replacements can be made.
In most cases, retrofits or replacements are not necessary in pools with multiple main drain systems, gravity drain systems or covers installed before Dec. 19, 2008 — the deadline for retrofitting pools to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. In cases where retrofits or replacements are necessary, manufacturers will pay for parts and labor, Wolfson said.
“The recalled drain covers were incorrectly rated to handle the flow of water through the cover, which could pose a possible entrapment hazard to swimmers and bathers,” said a CPSC press release.
Certain drain-cover models from the following manufacturers are part of what CPSC has said is a voluntary recall: A&A Manufacturing, AquaStar Pool Products, Color Match Pool Fittings, Custom Molded Products, Hayward Pool Products, Pentair Water Pool and Spa, Rising Dragon Plastics and Waterway Plastics. Click here for a partial list of recalled models.
Drain covers from Lawson Aquatics and Paramount Pool and Spa Systems also were included in the recall. However, those manufacturers are “carrying out a corrective action program“ and are working directly with the customers affected, Wolfson said.
“We know this is a very difficult message to share with the public as we roll into Memorial Day weekend,” Wolfson said, acknowledging that this weekend traditionally marks the opening of swim season. “But better to address this now than in the middle of the swim season when a child was hurt on one of these recalled drains.”
Wolfson said some manufacturers already have the parts necessary to make retrofits or replacements. Others are still ramping up production. He admitted getting those parts and the labor necessary to install them will be major hurdles, especially since most facilities have been working full time just to get ready for the new season.
He suggested operators check their own records to determine if their vessels contain a recalled cover. Alternatively, they should contact the service company that installed the covers. They should then immediately contact the manufacturer to schedule replacement or retrofit.
Wolfson said affected manufacturers are establishing which service companies are approved to carry out the work.
“CPSC views this as a very significant announcement. There is a zero death rate for children in recent years related to drain entrapments. We want to keep it that way,” Wolfson said.
CPSC launched an investigation earlier this year to determine whether testing methods used to approve and rate drain covers to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act were sufficient to determine the safety of the product.
The investigation began after one independent testing laboratory, NSF International, which claimed it had tested some covers approved and rated by fellow lab IAPMO and found that the products did not perform as claimed. CPSC was directed to investigate the allegations.
Interested parties can also check with manufacturer Websites to find the affected drain-cover models. Those with a recalled cover are told to contact the manufacturer to receive a replacement or retrofit.
CPSC has set up a Drain Cover Recall Hotline at 866.478.3521 and a dedicated Web page: www.apsp.org/draincoverrecall.