As described in my intro post, I don't own a pool but I live across the street from our outdoor community pool. Since I service three SWG pools as part of my home care-taking business, I have been interested in how the pool service company is maintaining the community non-SWG pool. I have raised some issues with the HOA board about the chemical imbalances the pool company has allowed to occur using the knowledge I have gained on this great forum.
Using the Taylor K-2006 kit I use in my other pools, my first test saw the black dot for CYA disappear at about one-half inch of solution, or far above the 100ppm gradations.
The FC came in at 35 ppm. I did more tests in the days that followed and obtained the same result for CYA and similar results for FC. My R-0013 for CYA, R-0870 and R-0871 for FC were less than one-month old, so I discarded doubt about their efficacy.
Since the FC was so high, I knew from reading this forum that the pH test is useless, so I ignored that.
I then notified the HOA chairman about this imbalance. Since it was so out of whack, she contacted the pool company who promptly took a sample to Leslie's Swimming Pool Toy Store for a test. Their result for FC at 5 ppm and CYA at 120 ppm.
Feeling confident, the pool company then asked for a test from the Santa Cruz County Health Department (SCC).
Feeling curious, I met with the SCC tester at the pool to observe his "tests." He was a very pleasant Mexican gentleman who kept nodding in agreement when I told him that the CYA was too high and that the pool company was trying to compensate by maintaining the chlorine at a very high level with chlorine pucks, which was raising the CYA even more.
He calmly took out his Walmart HTH test kit and dipped the tube into the water just enough to fill it. Dropping the obligatory five drops of OTO into the tube, he capped and shook the container, eyed the result and commented, "It looks good — 3ppm."
Trying not to chuckle, I pointed out to him how much darker yellow the test sample was than the 3ppm indicator.
"Yes, you are right. It is darker."
He logged the FC in at 5 ppm, then took the useless pH test which read 7.4. There was no CYA or any other test. He said he would be back to check the chlorine and pH again to see if the pool company brings the FC back down to the "accepted" level. of 3ppm.
The pool company let the FC drop down to 10 ppm. The health department gentleman returned and, when the HTH kit read over 3 ppm FC level, he switched to an "old" kit which magically gave him the 3 ppm level he sought.
The pool passed with flying colors.
Since then, using the information I learned from this board, I used the dilution method of testing for high CYA and obtained a reading of 400-500 ppm. I had to use 6 parts tap water and 1 part pool water to get a reading of 55 ppm on the scale. I then multiplied the result by 8, allowing for dilution error.
The chlorine level has fluctuated between 0 ppm and 22 ppm.
One of my pools developed yellow algae in the spa within one week after the SWG went belly-up dropping the FC to zero in the hot Arizona sun. Yet, after over two months of sky-high CYA and insufficient FC, there is still no sign of algae in the community pool; and my tests find no Combined Chlorine present.
So, how is this pool defying the laws of chemistry put forth on this forum? The pool company could be using algaecide I suppose. I did see a bottle of water clarifier next to the pool pump.
Today I tested the water at FC 8.5 ppm and CYA at 425-525 ppm and the pool looked crystal clear.
Edit: Use URL for photo