Nothing can make a swimming pool owner’s blood run cold on a hot day like the notion that a tragedy could occur in their backyard oasis. While many responsible pool owners have learned CPR, have secured their swimming area with an appropriate fence, and have done everything within their means to encourage swimmers to follow good safety protocols, there may be one bit of unnoticed maintenance lurking beneath the water of their pool.
Years ago, every pool drain was designed to lay flat on the swimming pool floor, where it could suck pool water into the filtering system unnoticed. However, many pool pumps are strong enough that if the entire face of the drain is blocked by a body or an object, the suction created by the pump may become very difficult to overcome, and may, in fact, be strong enough to entrap and hold a person on the floor of the pool.
Federal law now dictates that public pools, spas, and hot tubs, be retrofitted with unblockable drain covers. Many of these new covers are dome-shaped or raised from the pool floor, so that water can flow in from the top and all sides of the cover. The new design can help prevent a curious child from becoming snared by the suction.
Unfortunately, not every home has been retrofitted with the new design. Many privately owned pools still utilize the old style of drain. As a responsible pool owner, you may be concerned about your pool drain. You can read more about the law, known as the “Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act,” at poolsafely.gov.