Many suction outlet covers will need to be replaced before pools open in 2014 to remain in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.  All plastic drain covers, skimmer equalizer covers and spa suction outlet covers have a life span stamped on the cover.  Many of these covers are reaching the end of their life span.

Life spans of drain covers:

  • DS 360 3 years
  • Aqua Star 5 Years
  • Paramount / SDX-Retro 5 Years
  • Hayward: cover, frame and screws must be replaced every 7 Years from date of manufacture stamped on the cover
  • Waterway 7 Years
  • Lawson 10 Years
  • A&A 10 Years
  • Triodyne Anti-Hair Snare Drain Cover 7 Years

Drain Recall 2011

While a recall in 2011 meant some covers were replaced then, some only needed an alteration, such as adding a spacer ring to provide added height and distance from the sump. Those may be up for replacement as well.  Here are the manufacturers that recalled one or more drain covers:

  • A & A
  • AquaStar
  • Color Match
  • Custom Molded Products
  • Hayward
  • Rising Dragon
  • Pentair
  • Waterway

Note: Except for kiddie pools, wading pools and in-ground spas, replacement of installed covers was not required in pools with multiple drain systems or gravity drainage systems or for covers installed before December 19, 2008.


  1. Determine what drain covers are at each pool and what the life span is for each drain cover. 
  2. If it’s a 5-year cover and it was not replaced in the 2011 recall, it needs to be replaced before 2014 opening day. 
  3. Determine the correct drain cover to use for replacement. It should be certified for the flow rate that the pump can produce or the flow meter reading when the strainer basket is clean and the filters have been backwashed.  Do not just assume the same drain cover will work again, as some may have changed.  Verify that the flow rate on the new cover is correct for the application.  NOTE: some health department regulations limit velocity in a drain cover to 1.5 ft/sec.  If this is the case, the maximum flow rate will be lower than the number of the drain cover.  See manufacturer websites.
  4. Inspect the frames, plaster rings and screw holes noting if the threads are intact.  If spacers were added, these need to be replaced, too.
  5. Make sure frame/sump is structurally sound and screws have at least 3 threads of engagement, or replacement of the frame is also necessary.
  6. Do not reuse the old screws, but use those that come with the new product. Hand tighten the screws, instead of using power tools.
  7. Document the installation to the customer and in your files.
  8. Update any necessary forms with local agencies.


Equalizer lines are submerged suction outlets and must either be covered with an ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 or ANSI/APSP-16 2011 compliant cover or plugged.  Pool owners and operators may choose either option to comply with the VGB Act.  However,  your state or local Health Department may require pools to have equalizer lines, in which case the equalizer lines need to be covered with compliant suction outlet covers.

Equalizers and Flow Rates

Typically, equalizer lines are gravity feed, but on occasion when the water level drops, or a skimmer basket is filled/clogged, equalizers would be capable of the rated flow for the skimmer, which is about 55 GPM. Equalizer covers should be appropriately rated.


From Consumer Product Safety Commission:

CPSC staff supports the technical requirement of the ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 performance standard, or the successor standard ANSI/APSP-16 2011 performance standard, which calls for field-built sumps to have a depth, when measured from the bottom of the cover to the top of the outlet piping, of 1.5 times the diameter of the piping.


  • The P&SS Act does not require pool owners to replace their sump. If a new, compliant drain cover can be safely secured into a preexisting sump, while properly controlling the flow rate, then it meets the intent of the law. 
  • If a professional engineer (PE) determines that additional engineering work needs to be done to the sump to bring it into compliance with the standard and ensure a secure connection with a new cover, then that work should be carried out.
  • If a PE determines that a new drain cover cannot be safely placed on a pre-existing sump, then the sump should be removed and replaced with a new, compliant sump that is compatible with the compliant drain cover.