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Thread: Anti entrapment suction covers

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    Anti entrapment suction covers

    There has been a few threads regarding the Virginia Graeme Baker pool and spa safety law that mandates safety covers on pool drains/suction fittings. While the federal law is not applicable to private pools, builders are now required to use these safety fittings in lieu of the traditional grate covers. My own IG vinyl pool has one side wall main suction in addition to the skimmer. The original grate is shown here:



    I recently picked up a compliant cover that is shown installed:



    I know a few on here have installed safety covers, but was wondering what everyone else has done that have main drains or side wall suctions.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: Anti entrapment suction covers

    VGB does impact private residential pools. I have to replace drain covers when I do a liner if the suction outlet is more than a foot below the water line..

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Anti entrapment suction covers

    Yes, you are required to change it out if you work on the pool based on your insurance, liability, etc. But...the actual federal law does not apply to residential pools. In other words, the government can not come in and shut down a private residential pool for not having compliant covers the way it can for a commercial pool.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Anti entrapment suction covers

    Some cities across the US have adopted VGB for residential pools but is not universal and I have only heard of a few places. The way they inforce it is through the permit process.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Anti entrapment suction covers

    New residential pools being build must meet VGB codes. Existings in NJ must have the drain covers swapped. Some towns require the addition of a second suction outlet tied to the drain or an SVRS device when a pool is drained for service.

    Existing commercial pools must be retrofitted or they are closed.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Anti entrapment suction covers

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    New residential pools being build must meet VGB codes. Existings in NJ must have the drain covers swapped. Some towns require the addition of a second suction outlet tied to the drain or an SVRS device when a pool is drained for service.

    Existing commercial pools must be retrofitted or they are closed.

    Scott
    Thats my point. Existing residential pools are not subject to the FEDERAL law. States and towns may adopt what they wish, but the actual federal law itself coes not apply. They can not shut down a private pool thats not undergoing any sort of work that would require a permit. They couldn't shut it down if they wanted to. NJ may SAY existing residential pools are required to have the cover, but unless there is a permitable type of work ongoing that requires inspection, its not enforcable. Even then the only thing they could do is not sign off on the permit.

    Sometimes we think a law or the like is applicable or says a certain thing because we assume it is. All i'm going to say on the subject.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Anti entrapment suction covers

    There seems to be a lot of ambiguity around this law but if you read through this document, it basically says that the enforcement of the law applies to public pools only. However, any main drain cover now sold in the US must comply with this law. So in effect, you can no longer purchase an non compliant cover. But they cannot force you to actually install one if you don't have it. As I pointed out before, there are some cities which are enforcing it for residential pools.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Anti entrapment suction covers

    mass985 is correct.

    There are three parts to the VGB law: 1) PUBLIC (not private) pool compliance is required by VGB (federal law) and is retroactive (so older pools had to meet VGB requirements before they could re-poen after 2008). 2) suction outlet covers that did not conform to ANSI 112 (basically entrap/entanglement standards) could not be sold in the US after 2008 - i.e. you could not legally buy a non-conforming cover after 2008 and 3) If your state wanted grant money for their pool safety programs,the state had to adopt a residential "version" of the VGB - so some states do have a "VGB -like" residential pool statute - but it is NOT federal law - it is state law. Some states chose not to accept the Fed grant money and did not pass a residential version of the law - like Texas where I live.

    That being said, the International Residential Code (IRC) - the residential building code in most communities - contains pool requirements in Appendix G that require anti- entrapment / anti-entanglement requirements that parallel VGB requirements through the ANSI/APSP standards. When a city adopts a version of the building code, it may or may not adopt all of the provisions in the code, so you have to check and see if Appendix G was adopted by your city or not. Often you can get on a city web site, look up the adopting ordinance for a city and see if that city adopted Appendix G requirements or not. If the city did not specifically name Appendix G in the adopting ordinance, the appendix provisions are a recommendation only (voluntary compliance) and not a code requirement (mandatory compliance). So, if there is no state residential pool code, you need to check your city building code requirements.

    To make matters more confusing, the 2015 version of the IRC has moved the Appendix G requirements into the main body of the IRC code - BUT - rather than citing the requirements in the code, it references the ISPSC (international Swimming Pool and Spa Code). If the city does not adopt ISPSC as part of the International code series, the city will not inspect and and enforce those provisions.

    So ... to summarize ... VGB does not apply to residential pools. But there may be a state regulation that does ... or not. If neither of the two foregoing apply ... there may be a city building code requirement that dos ... or not.
    BigSwede52 - APSP / CBP
    Engineer / Aquatics Consultant
    Austin, Texas

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