William N. Rowley, PhD, PE, D-IBFES, D-NAFE

Expert witness for aquatic accidents, drownings, suction entrapment, diving accidents, swimming pools, spas, wading pools, design, engineering, construction, construction defects, patents.

Suction Entrapment Accidents

Dr. Rowley is a pioneer researcher and expert on suction entrapment. He has been retained in more than 50 suction entrapment accident cases. From 1987 until 1997, Dr. Rowley was a member of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) and National Spa & Pool Institute’s (NSPI) National Swimming Pool Safety Committee's (NSPSC) Research Sub-Committee. As part of his duties, he personally reviewed approximately four hundred CPSC aquatic accident investigations each year, including suction entrapment incidents.

Suction entrapment will occur in a swimming pool, wading pool or spa when a person's body, or parts thereof, block the open source of suction from a pool or spa to a circulation pump. Suction entrapment accidents can involve body entrapment, limb entrapment, hair entrapment, and evisceration, and they usually occur on a single open or broken main drain that is the only source of suction to the circulation pump.

Dr. Rowley has researched and written extensively on the topic of suction entrapment, having published more than 16 articles on the topic since July 1974 when he conducted the first-of-its-kind research on this type of accident in a test pool. Since that time he has continued to engage in over 300 field tests in which he has trapped himself under water.

 Photo taken in December 2007 of Dr. Rowley conducting suction entrapment testing with himself as the test subject on an open drain in a dual-main-drain system (the open drain can be seen in the bottom center of the photo). This research was peer-reviewed and published in the  International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education (IJARE) .

Photo taken in December 2007 of Dr. Rowley conducting suction entrapment testing with himself as the test subject on an open drain in a dual-main-drain system (the open drain can be seen in the bottom center of the photo). This research was peer-reviewed and published in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education (IJARE).

Dr. Rowley also helped co-author two California Senate Bills, sponsored by California State Senator Vasconcellos, to enact statutes to help prevent suction entrapment accidents: California Senate Bill 873 (1997) for Wading Pools, and California Senate Bill 1726 (2002) for Swimming Pools and Spas. To his knowledge there have not been any such accidents in California wading pools since 1997, or in California swimming pools since 2002.

Having designed more than 675 major commercial swimming pools and spas, Dr. Rowley is able to provide insight into various elements that may or may not be relevant in a suction entrapment case, including the following:

  • a swimming pool's design and construction
  • a swimming pool's compliance with code
  • maintenance and operational issues

Dr. Rowley's expertise is relevant in cases involving residential and commercial pools and spas, water parks, and hot tubs.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Dr. Rowley.
 

William N. Rowley, Ph.D., P.E., D-IBFES, D-NAFE

Rowley Forensic Engineering Inc | 2325 Palos Verdes Dr. W., Suite 312 | Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274-2755

Tel: (310) 377-6724

Fax: (310) 377-8890

Email: wnr@rowleyforensics.com