An Accident Waiting To Happen

injuries sustained in swimming pool entrapmentPool and spa builders in the UK, Europe and around the world, writes Chris Carr, cannot fail to be aware of the well publicised concerns about the risks of entrapment from any of the suction fittings on a swimming pool or spa.
Indeed, the standards here in the UK were updated about ten years ago, highlighting the risks and to set out a new requirement to install a ‘dual – deep suction system’ (main drain) on all new swimming pools and spas.
I think most of us would have assumed that by adopting this ‘dual drain’ system, the risk of entrapment would have been totally resolved on the basis that if one drain was covered then the other would take priority. However, I have recently received information, from a source in the USA, which comprises of a number of documents together with three short videos relating to research undertaken regarding the risks of entrapment. From what is explained by this information, it suggests that even with a dual system fitted, the dangers may still prevail.

Initially I was a little sceptical that the research had been called for by a manufacturer of a; “Suction Safety Device”. However, the
more I looked at their research, the more concerned I became. To understand the problem you need to imagine that the pool
(or spa) is complying with the standards insofar as it is fitted with two deep suction outlets, but otherwise it is operating in the
worst possible situation. For example: If one of the deep suction (sump) lid should become broken (no longer being in place) and if the plant room valves have been arranged so that all the flow is being directed through the deep drain (or sumps), then (according to the information provided) there is the possibility that a young child could become entrapped on the open sump (main drain – fitting) possibly resulting in a fatality.

Now, you might think that to have these conditions all at one time would be unusual and I would have to agree. However, it’s not uncommon for a property to be sold to a new owner and the previous owners may not have provided any maintenance or safety information on the pool. It could even be that the pool had been left in a poor condition (green water etc) and as a result the new owner may have been chemically treating the pool and have adjusted the valves to ensure greater circulation in the deep end.

In such a case it could be that the new owners are oblivious of the risks of entrapment and they may also be unaware of the condition of the main drain lids, especially if the pool was green.
With regard to the main drain lids, we know that it is quite a common occurrence for them to get broken from time to time and the swimming pool equipment distributors who will tell you how many hundreds of replacements they sell each year!