The Consumer Product Safety Commission is extending by one year the deadline for retrofitting unblockable drains in public pools.
In 2010, the CPSC determined that an unblockable drain cover could be installed over a smaller sump to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Act. But last September, the group reversed itself, requiring that the sumps also meet certain dimensional and flow criteria. The CPSC mandated retrofits on those drains that fell out of the unblockable category, and set a deadline of May 28, 2012 for compliance. Officials said a later date could be considered based on public comments.
Last week, staff recommended to the four sitting Commissioners that the deadline be extended to May 23, 2013, the Thursday before Memorial Day.
“If a pool operator installed an unblockable drain system, staff believes it is reasonable to allow them time to budget and plan for the expenditure required to install a secondary anti-entrapment system,” said a staff memo to commissioners.
On April 5, the ruling passed 3-1, with the dissenting vote coming from CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. The two Republican Commissioners who opposed last year’s switch — Anne Northup and Nancy Nord — voted for the extension, as did Robert Adler, a Democrat who had called for more exploration on the deadline.
“Anne is more than happy with this outcome,” said Northup’s spokesman, Mark Fellin. “She’s glad that the Commission chose to move in this direction, and she’s hopeful that this will help the industry in this change of the interpretation.”
CPSC stated that this extension would apply only to those facilities affected by the unblockable-drain change, and that enforcement will continue uninterrupted on all other public pools and spas.
Though there have been many comments urging CPSC to go back to its original unblockable-drain definition, no signs indicate that a reconsideration will take place.
By Rebecca Robledo