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According to leading industry reports, drowning is the leading death for children under the age of four years old. There are more than 3500 fatal drownings in the U.S. every year. 50% of those that survive a drowning incident require further medical care, many suffering permanent brain damage.

Every pool owner has a responsibility to the community which includes educating themselves about pool safety. Read more about Drowning Prevention from Service Industry News. Stay updated on pool safety topics and other important issues in the recreational water industry by joining the CMP Newsletter list.

It’s important to check every pool season to ensure the pool is safe, including checking all drain covers. Covers should also be monitored throughout the year for any issues that would put swimmers in danger of drowning or injury.

Covers should be monitored by the homeowner or pool operator and checked by a pool professional so that the pool is always safe to use. The good news is, as long as you know what to look for, checking a drain cover for safety doesn’t have to be difficult.

Check out our VGB Drain Safety Guide below to see what you check, and share this info with any pool owner to help them keep their pool safe.


The first step is to confirm the drain is compliant with VGB requirements. All drain covers should have been swapped after 2008. However, it is common for some residential pools to be overlooked.

Look for certification markings on the cover or check with the drain manufacturer. If you are not sure or cannot confirm, the best solution is to replace the drain cover.

The Virginia Graham Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act requires that all operating public pools and spas must have drain covers that meet the ANSI/ASME A112.19.8-2007 standard on every drain/grate. In addition, if the pool has a single main drain (other than an unblockable drain), the operator must either disable the drain or install a second anti-entrapment device or system. Visit PoolSafely.gov for more info on VGB Compliance.


A missing cover is extremely dangerous. With no protection over the suction, serious injury can occur. This is also a bad situation for your pool equipment, as larger debris may be allowed through the system and damage the pool pump.

Every cover must be in place, in good condition and not missing any attachment screws. Covers are designed to operate safely in their correct condition. Once damaged, the cover is no longer safe.

Always confirm all of the items below.

  • Drain covers are covering all outlets and inlets of the pool/spa
  • Drain covers are not broken, cracked or deteriorating
  • No loose or missing screws on drain covers
  • Drain covers are securely fastened (try using a skimmer net to ensure drain cover does not move)
  • Children have been warned not to play with or around the drain covers

If you are unable to check any of the above, or you have questions on drain covers, consult your pool and spa professional immediately and discontinue use of pool and/or spa. Missing, broken or improperly secure drain covers can lead to an entrapment situation, which may lead to injury or death.

All new suctions and drains from CMP are designed to meet VGB requirements. CMP packaging includes a certificate of VGB Compliance.


  • Check installation dates on all existing drain covers
  • Check drain covers for existing signs of cracking and replace when damages are detected

This is what the VGB Act has to say about the life of drain covers: “Failure to replace a drain cover that is beyond its stated useful life is not, in itself, a violation of the VGB Act. The requirement pertaining to useful life is a marking or labeling requirement for the drain cover manufacturer.”

However, CPSC believes it is good practice for pool owners and operators to inspect the drain cover often and have it professionally inspected at least annually. Pool operators should consult the manufacturer’s instructions including useful life markings or labeling.

As with all other conditions, if you cannot confirm the life of the cover it is always better to replace with a new VGB compliant drain cover.

CMP main drains have a seven year life from date of installation. All CMP drains and suctions are IAPMO Listed VGB Suction: Compliant to ANSI/APSP - 16 2011 & CPSC Requirements.


To be safe a pool drain must not be “blockable.” This means one person should not be able to completely block the drain. One way to fix this issue is by installing at least two drains 36″ or more apart.

Multiple drains consist of, at a minimum, two fully submerged suction outlets per pump, with drain cover centers at least 3 feet apart (measured ‘on center’).

A pool can also use a drain that is “unblockable.” An unblockable drain cannot be completely blocked based on VGB standards requirements. For residential use CMP has an Unblockable Channel Drain available. Click here for more information.

Is an existing pool not compliant with multiple drains or an unblockable drain? There are possible solutions

  • Install additional ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 Outlet with the center to center distance between the suction pipes at least 36-inches, or on a separate plane
  • Convert Suction Outlet to Return Inlet by Changing the piping, provided the system piping and skimmer(s) shall be capable of handling the full system flow
  • Convert to a Gravity Flow System
  • Install and test a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) Tested & Listed for the purpose by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory
  • Permanently Disable the Single Outlet, provided the system piping and skimmer(s) shall be capable of handling the full system flow and minimum turnover rates are achieved


The ‘Check A Drain’ initiative reminds both homeowners as well as professionals, to make sure pool, spa and hot tub drain covers are replaced per the manufacturer’s time requirement stamped on the cover in accordance with Federal mandates in the Virginia Graeme Baker (VGB) Pool & Spa Safety Act.

APSP encourages homeowners to reach out to their pool, spa and hot tub professional to ensure that all installed drain covers manufactured comply with the ANSI/APSP-16 Standard for Suction Fittings for Use in Swimming Pools, Wading Pools, Spas, and Hot Tubs. Units should always be installed by an industry professional, in accordance with the drain cover manufacturers’ instructions.

The VGB Act requires that public pools and spas in the United States be equipped with anti-entrapment devices or systems that comply with the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 performance standard or any successor standard. ANSI/APSP-16 2011 is the successor standard to ASME/ANSI A112.19.8.” Read more about the VGB Pool and Spa Safety Act here.

Certified Safety: All CMP drains and suctions are IAPMO or UL Listed VGB Suctions and compliant to ANSI/APSP - 16 2011 & CPSC Requirements. CMP Pool repair and maintenance parts should always be installed and serviced by industry professionals.

To check your drain and ensure your pool, spa or hot tub drain cover has not expired, find a pool professional near you at APSP.org/MemberLocator or contact your CMP pool representative.

Pool Professionals: For a comprehensive flow chart style checklist, see the APSP Field Checklist.





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