APSP introduces new safety standard

Kirstin PiresOne of my first experiences in the pool industry was a standards-committee meeting in Orlando. I hadn't been around long enough to know the players and their agendas, but it was clear to me that a lot of what was going on - in fact most of what was going on - had nothing to do with developing the best ANSI/APSP standards for suction-entrapment avoidance.

Fast forward to the present: what a different world. In an International Code Council press release summarizing the final-action meeting held in October in Minneapolis, one of the major changes highlighted was:

"A new standard, ANSI/APSP-7-06, brings the I-Codes in line with the Virginia Graeme Baker Federal Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2007. It addresses suction entrapment avoidance in swimming pools, wading pools, spas, hot tubs and catch basins."

It's important because it replaces inferior language in the 2006 I-codes that conflicted with ANSI/APSP-7 and the Virginia Graeme Baker act. The new ICC language now requires drain covers that meet the VGB Act standards. It now regulates water velocity and specifically states that drains are optional, so new pools can be constructed with properly configured multiple-suction outlets, one unblockable suction outlet or no suction outlet at all. On existing pools, the drain may be disabled. And now, whenever a drain cover is missing or compromised, the body of water - whether swimming pool, hot tub or wading pool - must be closed.

The 2006 I-codes didn't protect against hair entrapment, evisceration or mechanical entrapment. They addressed some forms of entrapment some of the time. The 2009 I-codes are designed to prevent all forms of entrapment, all of the time.

Kudos to the APSP staff and the standards committee members who worked literally for years to create and promote a standard that answers to just one authority: safety.

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