The Consumer Products Safety Commission will be holding a public hearing Wednesday, Nov. 4 to receive input on its July 2009 report that specified requirements for drain covers that when attached to a drain made the area “unblockable.” The guidance, which is designed to prevent drain entrapment and evisceration, is part of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which went into effect Dec. 19, 2008.

The Commission has already received comments and technical input in regard to its initial guidance, and is holding the hearing to receive additional perspectives. The CPSC currently plans to amend the guidance to include mention of the proper flow rates and the integrity of drain cover fasteners, in addition to the size requirements for these drains.

The following will be added to the future version: “In reaching this definition for an unblockable drain, the characterization of a suction fitting is taken from the standard to include the sump and cover as a unit, along with the following: (1) The blocking element dimensions and  the diagonal measure to define a minimum size requirement (in excess of 18” x 23” or a diagonal measurement greater than 29”); (2) the need for the remaining open flow area of the cover, once shadowed, to provide sufficient flow to prevent entrapment; and (3) the general requirements of the standard for fasteners and fastening integrity (i.e., the cover must stay in place).”

Requests to participate in the oral presentations — and the text that will be presented — should be captioned “Unblockable Drain Guidance” and sent via email to or sent to Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814. All materials must be received by 5 p.m. EST on Oct. 28.