Many suction outlet covers will need to be replaced before pools open in 2019 to remain in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. VGB compliant drain covers were first installed in 2009. All plastic drain covers, skimmer equalizer covers and spa suction outlet covers have a life span stamped on the cover. Covers with life spans of 5-years and those with life spans of 10-years are due for replacement in 2019. 

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 
  • Waterway: 7 Years
  • Lawson: 10 Years
  • A&A: 10 Years
  • Triodyne Anti-Hair Snare Drain Cover: 7 Years


  1. Determine what drain covers are at each pool and what the life span is for each drain cover. 
  2. 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.
  3. Inspect the frames, plaster rings and screw holes noting if the threads are intact.  If spacers were added, these need to be replaced, too.
  4. Make sure frame/sump is structurally sound and screws have at least 3 threads of engagement, or replacement of the frame is also necessary.
  5. Do not reuse the old screws, but use the screws that come with the new product. Hand tighten the screws, instead of using power tools.
  6. Document the installation. The Certificate of Compliance that comes in the drain cover packaging must be completed and posted or filed, as required by local authorities. 
  7. 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.