Many drain covers that were installed to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act will soon need to be replaced. This December, it will be nine years since the deadline for ensuring that all commercial pools in the United States are outfitted with covers that meet the code.
Manufacturers were required to state a lifespan for each cover. Some are as short as three years, but majority fell between five and seven. While a massive recall in 2011 meant many covers were replaced, some only needed an alteration, such as adding a spacer ring to provide added height and distance from the sump. Those covers may soon be up for replacement as well. It is important to check with your local county health department for the specific replacement requirements, as they vary from county to county.
Do not reuse the old mounting screws; use those that come with the new product. Since the passage of VGB, there has already been at least one entrapment involving a compliant cover that was installed with the wrong screws. While power tools can be used for pulling screws out, they should not be used for tightening, because that can strip the threads. The cover must be attached in accordance with the manufacturer's design and instructions. Examine the other components to determine if replacement is needed. In some cases, the manufacturer say you must replace the plaster rings everytime you replace the covers.
It is important to keep a filing system, whether digital or on paper, as replacement is based on the date of installation. This is particularly important for facilities that change management.
Finally update any necessary forms with local government agencies. In California, for instance, each public pool must have a form on file certifying that the facility is VGB compliant. Throughout the state, drain cover replacements will need to be documented with county health departments. Ensure that the technicians are certified scuba divers in order to avoid the costly draining of your pool.
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