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Thread: Copper Stains and Calcium Scale - Drain/Acid or Sequester and R. Osmosis Treatment

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    Copper Stains and Calcium Scale - Drain/Acid or Sequester and R. Osmosis Treatment

    I'm new to the forum, and just getting my feet wet so to speak with TFP. I had suspected that my pool maintenance people were a little less than competent and the test kit proved me right. I have a happy and troublefree pool now - but there are a few things that I can't seem to figure out the best way how to clear up. My children get green hair with every swim - and I suspect I have high copper levels due to former pool guys aggressive treatment of an algae bloom prior to my ownership of the house. There are also blackish/brown stains all over the bottom and sides of the pool. I'm guessing that a copper algaecide was used - but have not confirmed through testing. I also have high CH levels due to a relatively high CH in the fill water. Former pool guy let the pH go up to over 8 and I have scale on just about everything. All other levels are great, pH, TA, FC, CC, salinity, and borates.

    I've read a bit about using sequestering agents to remove copper stains from the plaster, but also understand that those agents usually require installing or using an existing heater bypass and that they do not remove the copper from the water.

    There are three choices that I am considering and wanted to see if anyone had any experience with any of these:

    1.) Drain and acid wash to clear up stains and remove CH from water
    2.) Use sequestering agent to clear up stains and have the pool treated with a mobile reverse osmosis system afterwards to remove the metals and hardness
    3.) Continue to use sequestering chemicals to keep copper in solution and just deal with the higher CH levels

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Copper Stains and Calcium Scale - Drain/Acid or Sequester and R. Osmosis Treatmen

    Hello, and welcome to TFP. I personally like option 2 best without knowing all your circumstances, eg source water, surface condition/age etc..

    Do you have a good test kit, and if so, can you post your test results?
    What are you keeping your ph at now that you've taken over, and how high is your CH..and what kind of surface do you have? How are you chlorinating, and is your makeup water well or city?

    Please also put your pool specs in your signature -- that helps us help you. Also sounds like you have a swg and I'm guessing plaster, but just wanna confirm.

    Without knowing your CH ppm, but with the green hair...and assuming you're either not on well water or you have a plan to pre-filter your top up water to reduce copper if its in your source water, I'd guess that if you're willing to pay the price to treat R/O, that's the route you may be happiest with because you'll dramatically reduce/elimnate both culprits immediately.
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: Copper Stains and Calcium Scale - Drain/Acid or Sequester and R. Osmosis Treatmen

    Test kit is TF-100
    Using an SWG and have plaster, 8 years old or so, decent condition but a little rough/pitted

    pH 7.5 ( been running it at 7.3-7.4 to help pull some of the scale. When I took it over (and why) it was at 8.1!
    FC 6
    CC 0.5
    CYA 50
    CH 625
    TA
    NaCl 3800
    Borates 50
    Cu??? suspect it's high - pool guy said he had to use 8 gal of algaecide before I bought the house. Neighbor has 0 copper and same fill water.
    Fe?? - stains did not respond to Vit C tablet.
    Phosphorus - don't care

    On city water with CH of 125
    Cu was very likely from algaecide but will have tested and also pick up a stain ID kit.

    Am leaning toward option 2 as well because it is not much more than a drain/fill plus the chems with better end result.
    I'm a little hesitant to use the sequestering as I need to do a heater bypass and also will lose some of the swim season. According to instructions up to two weeks plus 4 days for the RO. Maybe at the end of summer before I throw the leaf cover on but not sure if it will work well with colder water.
    32,000 gal. gunite with spa, Hayward Aquarite 40,000, Pentair DE filter 60 sqft.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Copper Stains and Calcium Scale - Drain/Acid or Sequester and R. Osmosis Treatmen

    I'm glad its not in your source water...that means either dilution/replacement or R/O will be effective

    Is the sequestrant you're referring to Jack's #2? I know that one requires heater bypass, but Metal Magic by proteam doesn't, just so you know. Proteam Metal Magic is listed for copper as well so maybe thats an option in the interim...I have just over .3 ppm copper and don't get staining using it and do run it through the heater.

    There are plenty of Texans on TFP managing pools with high CH like yours...I'm hopeful one will come along and chime in about options as its a variable i don't deal with because I use softened water for makeup (my well has high iron.)
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: Copper Stains and Calcium Scale - Drain/Acid or Sequester and R. Osmosis Treatmen

    I assume there is an R/O near you and you have priced it, right?

    I would far and away take option 1.

    Copper stains are incredibly difficult and there is no guarantee that sequestrants will have any affect. That would be a non-starter for me.

    Likewise, you may not see a complete removal of the copper stains with the acid wash but you will correct your CH and I am convinced you will get improvement of the stains if not removal.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Copper Stains and Calcium Scale - Drain/Acid or Sequester and R. Osmosis Treatmen

    I second Duraleigh completely. Choice number one.
    TFP Moderator
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Copper Stains and Calcium Scale - Drain/Acid or Sequester and R. Osmosis Treatmen

    ^Patrick, you have high CH water right? Doesn't the refill itself = more high CH? Or is the sourcewater in TX generally not high enough to bother with R/O?

    Also, since BOTH these guys know way more about your type of surface, TXtranspant -- guys, do you feel AA would be less effective on copper-on-plaster? I know it works well for iron and less well for copper in general....
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!
    Helpful Links:
    GET A TEST KIT Chlorine/CYA Chart How to SLAM About Metals & Stains

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