ASTM F2387-21: Safety Vacuum Release Systems (SVRS)

Safety vacuum release system (SVRS)  for a swimming pool, adhering to ASTM F2387-21.

In Algarroba, Chile, the San Alfonso del Mar resort is home to the world’s largest swimming pool, which has an area of 19.77 acres, holds 66 million gallons of water, covers approximately 871,200 square feet, and is 3,280 feet long. Commercial pools like this need a safety vacuum release system (SVRS) to help prevent suction entrapment, and ASTM F2387-21: Standard Specification For Manufactured Safety Vacuum Release Systems (SVRS) For Swimming Pools, Spas And Hot Tubs specifies those SVRS requirements for pools, spas, hot tubs, and wading pools. 

What Is a Safety Vacuum Release System?

A safety vacuum release system (SVRS) is a device or system capable of providing vacuum release at a suction outlet caused by a high-vacuum occurrence due to a suction outlet blockage. ASTM F2387-21 states that SVRS devices must allow for the vacuum release with or without suction outlet cover(s) in place and operate in a way as to not defeat or disengage other layers of protection installed to protect against suction entrapment.

What Is ASTM F2387-21?

ASTM F2387-21 covers requirements for safety vacuum release systems (SVRS) for use on both residential and commercial swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, and wading pools. SVRS devices are intended to be utilized on pool, spa, hot tub, and/or therapy unit suction systems. The standard only applies to systems equipped with pumps of similar horsepower and flow rating to those actually tested. ASTM F2387-21 is intended to decrease the risk of entrapment (i.e., when a person becomes entrapped at the suction outlet serving a pumping system) by doing the following:

  1. Providing a rapid detection and release of vacuum
  2. Preventing a high vacuum altogether
Suction connecting to a water tank at a residential pool.

How Does a Safety Vacuum Release System Work?

A safety vacuum release system (SVRS) works by monitoring pool pump pressure.  When a drain is blocked by an object, it detects the change in pressure and is able to free the object against the suction outlet. If the trapped object is a person, the system may prevent injury and may even save a life. Here is how it works in different systems:

  • Stand-alone system: SVRS releases a vent, allowing the release of the object.
  • Pump equipped with the system: SVRS shuts the motor down, enabling the release of the object.

What Is Safety Vacuum Release System on a Pool Pump?

A safety vacuum release system on a pool pump is a critical component to a swimming pool. When it senses a sudden vacuum increase, it inducts air to the pump and/or powers down the pump motor, disabling a pool pump’s suction ability.

Do Pool Pumps Shut Off Automatically?

Pool pumps use thermal overload switches, which enables them to shut off if they start to overheat. So, due to safety reasons, pool pumps are designed to shut off automatically.

Swimming pool, adhering to ASTM F2387-21

What Is the Equipment in a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS)?

A SVRS incorporates a vacuum-induced, indirect circulation drain system. Specifically, ASTM F2387-21 mentions it includes the following test equipment:

  • Water Tank
  • Suction Outlet Fitting
  • Suction Line
  • Return Line
  • Test Actuator
  • Throttling Valve
  • Interrupter Element (IE)
  • Blockage Switch
  • Water Flow Meter
  • Test Pump
  • Piping

ASTM F2387-21: Standard Specification For Manufactured Safety Vacuum Release Systems (SVRS) For Swimming Pools, Spas And Hot Tubs is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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