Should we ditch the word drain? Strike it from the pool industry lexicon? Jettison it from our jargon? Declare it the D-word?

Or, at least, curb our use of it?

I was interviewing a prominent industry member when he abruptly interrupted me after I causally dropped the D-bomb mid-sentence.

“Let me give you a quick English lesson,” he offered.

He informed me that a drain is a pathway to waste.  Only in the pool industry do people refer to something that recirculates as a drain.

This knowledgeable industry veteran helped author several ASTM standards for pool equipment. In those documents, “drains” appears once. “Suction outlets (formerly known as drains)” is how he put it in the standards.

It may sound trivial, but he makes a strong argument. Drain sounds benign. Suction outlet sounds serious. And in the context of entrapment prevention, that's exactly how the industry should take suction outlets, seriously.

I told him I’d keep that in mind when I wrote my article. I’m proud to say, I avoided the word.

Until I wrote the headline.

Suction outlet is more accurate. It’s also more words. And when you’re trying to cram a complicated headline into a space the size of an Andes Thin Mint, word-count matters.

Going forward, I’ll try to be more conscious of using the D-word. But, sometimes, it’s unavoidable.

“I’d be pleased if you’d nudge the industry toward more realistic terminology,” he said.

Consider yourselves nudged.

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