As of Sept. 6, an APSP standard will take over for the
long-standing ASTM language naming the parameters a drain cover
must meet to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa
The first-ever federal pool and spa safety law states that all
commercial pools must have suction outlet covers adhering to ASME
A112.19.8 or a successor standard. These drain-cover requirements
have taken on even more significance of late. Controversy regarding
language and implementation spurred a historic drain-cover recall
in May involving eight manufacturers.
Last year, ASME — the American Society of Mechanical
Engineers — said it no longer wanted to spearhead the
standard. To fill the gap, the Association of Pool & Spa
Professionals and testing lab IAPMO jointly sought to take over the
standard’s development and began work on ANSI/ APSP/ IAPMO-16
Standard for Suction Fittings for Use in Swimming Pools, Wading
Pools, Spas and Hot Tubs, in the hopes it would become the
Then in spring, amid controversy surrounding the investigation and
recall, IAPMO withdrew from the standard.
Last month, the five CPSC commissioners voted unanimously to
replace ASME A112.19.8 with ANSI/APSP-16.
For drain-cover producers, this does not amount to substantive
changes. All entities involved say the standard is the same as ASME
A112.19.8 and two addenda that were released since 2008.
“From a technical standpoint, it is absolutely
identical,” said Steve Barnes, APSP’s Technical
Committee chairman. “For a product to be listed to this
standard, manufacturers would do absolutely nothing
However, the ANSI/APSP-16 Committee is working on a refinement of
the standard, which may be released later this year. Many of the
changes involve more detailed instructions for product testing to
address ambiguities and omissions that many say resulted in the
drain recall. Once the revisions are released, labs will be
required to follow the new language.
Manufacturers will become beholden to the revised language when
they seek next renewal of their third-party listings, which takes
place annually. For APSP, this means seeing one of its standards
become part of a federal law for the first time.
However, though the standard is being reworked under the auspices
of an industry-based organization, the objectivity of the drafting
process does not change, said Carvin DiGiovanni, APSP’s
senior director, technical and standards. APSP has been approved by
the American National Standards Institute, so it must adhere to the
same principles as third-party entities such as ASME, UL and