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    The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals has taken over the standard governing how main-drain covers must be produced, in order to comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

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 Safety Act.

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 CPSC-approved successor.

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 different.”

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 NSF.