PHTA Announces National Standard for Suction Entrapment Avoidance

Phta Tile

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) is proud to announce that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved the ANSI/PHTA/ICC-7 2020 American National Standard for Suction Entrapment Avoidance In Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs, and Catch Basins. This newly approved standard is a revision of the ANSI/APSP/ICC-7 2013 standard. ANSI publicly announced the approval of the 2020 standard in ANSI Standards Action on November 19, 2020.

The ANSI/PHTA/ICC-7 2020 standard outlines design and performance criteria for circulation systems. This includes components, devices, and related technology installed to prevent entrapment hazards in residential and public swimming pools, wading pools, inground spas, infinity edge basins, infinity edge-type pools and catch pools, and aquatic recreation facilities. The standard applies to new and existing installations.

There were several reasons behind the revision of the ANSI/PHTA/ICC-7 standard. For one, the updated standard corrects some problem areas of the 2013 version, which several states struggled to comply with when it was approved. Secondly, terms and definitions in the ANSI/APSP/ICC-16 2017 American National Standard for Suction Outlet Fitting Assemblies (SOFA) for Use in Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs were not included in the entrapment standard. The revised ANSI/PHTA/ICC-7 2020 standard includes updated definitions. In the 2013 version, the term of simplified total dynamic head (TDH) calculation was removed and not allowed, but the new version corrects this issue.

Additionally, the new standard includes a revision regarding the secured method of determining “maximum flow.” In the 2013 version, the secured method was meant to apply only to commercial pools, but this was not clearly stated. In the revised standard, “design flow rate” is defined and indicates this flow rate will be used to determine the correct pipe size. The “maximum flow rate” determines the correct suction outlet cover. This new version also mandates that these flow rates are verified when the project is completed by using a vacuum and pressure gauge or a flow meter that is installed per the manufacturer’s instructions.

The 2020 version also clarifies confusion regarding “field-built sumps” by addressing who will approve them and how they should be designed. Lastly, the language regarding suction outlets and the way they are required as to number and orientations has been modified. This change was made to approve certain methods that should be allowed. Additionally, many new diagrams have been added to the 2020 version to clarify the content of the standard.

“The PHTA Standards Consensus Committee’s dedication to pool and spa safety is reflected in the 2020 ANSI/PHTA/ICC-7, and users will appreciate the improved clarity,” said Kris Bridges, International Code Council Board Member and Chair of the PHTA Standards Consensus Committee (SCC). “We’re also excited the updated standard is referenced in the 2021 International Swimming Pool & Spa Code, further enhancing aquatic safety for jurisdictions around the world.” 

“Members of the PHTA-7 Standard Writing Committee (SWC) recognize the importance of safety standards and are committed to pool and spa safety,” said SCC Vice-Chair Thomas Pitcherello of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Codes Division. “There were many viewpoints considered that resulted in a solid draft revision of this standard. I’d like to thank all of the volunteers for their efforts, along with the PHTA-7 SWC Co-Chairs—Compliance & Safety Officer of Aquatic Systems Kenneth Gregory of Pentair Water Quality Systems and Regulatory Compliance Engineer Philip Escobedo of Fluidra Pool Systems—who led the development work of this standard.”

Purchase a copy of the ANSI/PHTA/ICC-7 2020 American National Standard for Suction Entrapment Avoidance in Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs, and Catch Basins here.

For more information, contact the Standards Department at [email protected] or call (703) 838-0083.

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