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Thread: Help! Black water pool.

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Cool Help! Black water pool.

    Hi all,
    I bought a house with a 2 years old water pool! the color of the water is kinda light black or supper dark brown.
    the house was build in 1972.
    Should I use chemicals to clean it !?
    Or should I just drain it ? and if i must drain it ! How to do that ? I don't know if this 1972 house pool will have a drainer ?
    Please help ! thanx

  2. Back To Top    #2
    borjis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Pacific NW

    Re: Help! Black water pool.

    Definitely possible to clear this up...many have done it.

    We need some info about your pool is it inground plaster or vinyl, how many gallons, width & length etc....

    any photos of the pool and equipment...does the equipment work?

    You should order a test kit right away, we recommend the TF-100 or Taylor K2006....a test kit is very important to getting it nice again.

    Don't buy any chemicals from the pool store, once we know more we can help you get that sparkling with store bought items.

    You may very well also need to get a pool leaf rake, quite probably lots of leaves/debris on the bottom.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Jandy Lite2 LJ250N gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Columbia, SC

    Re: Help! Black water pool.

    Welcome to TFP!!

    Don't bother draining it thinking you will eliminate algae - you won't. Its in the pipes and attached to all the pool surfaces.

    Resist the urge to rush to the pool store. Their only response it to sell you something, usually the wrong stuff. You want liquid chlorine, probably a lot of it.

    I will tell you, it didn't turn green overnight and it will take time to clear. But, we can teach you how to get it sparkling and keep it that was for a lot less money than the pool store.

    You already have what you need, the TF100 but, did you get the XL option? You will be doing a lot of testing as you clear the swamp and will need the extra FAS/DPD supplies.

    Now, you have a homework assignment. Start with Turning Your Green Swamp Back into a Sparkling Oasis

    As borjis said, we need more info on the pool to help you operate it. Photos of the equipment pad from a couple of different angles would help.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Tallahassee, FL

    Re: Help! Black water pool.

    I would love to see your "swamp"! We have seen them with whole eco-systems in them........tadpoles and snakes!

    Tim has you well covered to get you started.

    Let us know when you get your test kit so we can help you get started on your way to a clear pool!

    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit, Become a TFP supporter!

  5. Back To Top    #5
    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Tucson, AZ

    Re: Help! Black water pool.

    Please take pictures and post them (Use PhotoBucket to post them)! Post LOTS of them!!!

    When you first start off, it's good to have a record of what the pool looked like because, when you're in the thick of it clearing the pool, it's hard to notice the changes day-to-day. Having pictures, especially if you can get the angle/lighting/background the same in each shot really helps to see the tiny changes.

    Welcome aboard

    Many folks here love the challenge of a black & green swamp

    Good luck,
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

  6. Back To Top    #6
    wjr75's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Re: Help! Black water pool.

    I like seeing a nice challenge but if it was me I would dump the water and power wash the pool surface, acid wash (assuming it is plaster) and refill. You need to make sure there is a hydrostatic valve so the pool shell doesn't float when it's drained if you have a high water table..
    Inground 22k gallon gunite 15x31 main pool, 15x7 wading pool/sunning deck, hot tub/with overflow (9' octagon with limestone top) & slide NSWG, Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen
    Filter dual cartridge Sta-rite 450sq/ft, TF-100 Test Kit
    Heater Raypak 2100 400k btu cupro-nickel exchanger
    Auto pool cover, Polaris 280 auto pool cleaner, Jandy AqualinkRS8 Remote Control System

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Richard320's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    San Dimas, CA (LA County)

    Re: Help! Black water pool.


    It is possible to clear that evil mess without draining. Many have done so. Just do what they did. Some links to look at: Recovering my old inspirational links

    That being said... if you have really high CYA levels, you'll have to replace some water anyway, otherwise the cost of the bleach will exceed the cost of the water. However, you live in Florida, and in many parts of that state, the groundwater is close enough to the surface that emptying the pool might cause it to float up out of the ground, breaking underground pipes. You don't want that.

    The actual draining is not a problem. You can rent or buy a sump pump and empty it easily enough that way. Depending on the plumbing arrangements, you might also be able to isolate the floor drain and use the pool pump to empty it. WIth black water, though, you won't be able to see what you're doing, so a sump pump might be the best idea.

    No matter whether you decide to drain and refill or not, the fact is that you'll still have some stuff to deal with, and once the water is clear, you'll need to keep it that way. So your first step is to get a proper test kit. Just bite the bullet and order a TF100 and get the XL option right now. No one who has bought a speedstir regrets it. And no, I don't get a commission.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Swampwoman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Grand Rapids, MI

    Re: Help! Black water pool.

    Welcome, careless.
    I had a foreclosure swamp, black, that I recovered using the TFP way. I had water table issues and a vinyl liner, so recovery as opposed to draining was the route I went.
    However, once you post back the pool type and any pics of equipment filter type, etc., I may be able to help you assess the quickest strategy. Here's some starter info.

    Approach #1 - Using TFP SLAM (read up in pool school) Hand rake all debris blind from bottom, wearing gloves and maybe mask (I had added 5 gal chlorine before starting this just to try to knock down any pathogens, but the ammonia likely ate that chlorine immediately...)

    If black, its likely your cya will have turned to ammonia. Get an ammonia kit from fish store to read. You will initially need to keep adding chlorine, eg every half hour, until you've broken down the ammonia and the water starts to hold the chlorine for more than an hour. You will need to babysit the pump basket for clogs and backwash very frequently for the first few days...every time pressure is 25% above normal.

    If you have a main drain, it will help to keep that valve partly closed when first filtering to avoid clogs. You will not be able to use a system pool vac (manual) for a while. After start up, proceed with slam but be extra vigilant never to let chlorine level drop belw high end of slam rate, whch is based on cya ratio.

    Pros: This works, but is bit labor intensive and requires at least a free schedule for the first few days. In Our case, hauled 20 wheelbarrows of crud. Breaking down the ammonia makes it difficult to get started on slam.

    Approach #2 - Trash Pump, partial refil, then Slam. In this approach, you rent a Heavy duty trash pump, set it on bottom, and pump off water and sludge from bottom. If vinyl liner, do not pump lower than a foot in shallow end. Monitor the pump because we have seen an odd case where force of pump has ripped liner.

    For any other surface than vinyl and IF your water table is solid (note: fiberglass shells can pop) you could continue pumping, then clean surface, refill, balance chemicals and then SLam to remove algae and pathogens from pipes etc. it will be a much shorter slam.

    Pros: Faster recovery, less labor, and a bit less chlorine to recover because your concentration of ammonia would be diluted, as is the degree of other crud, ergo slam goes faster.

    Approach 2.5 - Sheet Method for High Water Table or alternate for Vinyl on Approach #2:

    In any surface with a high water table, or water table is unknown, or vinyl for full water change, you can use method 2 and add a taped sheet of visqueen (available in boxes at hardware store) over the surface of the old water that's getting pumped. Add freshwater simultaneously on top of the plastic sheet to keep clean water and sludgy stuff separate. When refilled, remove the sheet. You will have mostly clean water that will be easy to quickly balance and Slam.

    Hope this gives you some ideas...but let us know your specifics, and be sure to read up on two important concepts here: the cya:FC ratio and how to slam

    You will love your troublefreepool pool one day, I promise!

    Here's the pictographs of my recovery:
    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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