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Thread: getting rid of iron and rust

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    getting rid of iron and rust

    hello newbie here. bought first pool little 16 foot Intex above ground pool filled it up with my hose (drilled well). i know we have strong iron and rust so i filled the pool and was cloudy and little brown. So now i have to figure out how to get the iron out i made a bucket filter 5 gal bucket rows of holes in one end and a inlet from pump and stuffed it with poly fill. but its dissolved to fine 3 days and my buckets still fairly clean little bit of discoloration and my pump cartridge had minimal rust build up so just spray it clean and put it back in but water is still very cloudy and brownish almost yellow iv shocked it and added chlorine tablets as well as tried dumping some "super iron out" 2.1 kg (someone told me they used it and it cleared there's up right away) but all it did was lighten the browning i need to figure out how to solidify the iron in the water so it can be removed im also a 2 hour drive from a pool or spa store. some research iv done, some people say aluminum sulfate but i don't know where to get it unless its the same stuff i can get for soil from my local hardware store. but is it safe to use in the cheap cartridge filters, pool has 4600 gal of water in it and im located in Muskoka, Northern Ontario, Canada. any help be greatly appreciated as my kids want to swim.
    thanks

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    Welcome to TFP!

    The only way to remove iron is to fill with iron/metal-free water. However, the iron can be managed so that the water doesn't have that clear but greenish or brownish hue and does not deposit stains on the pool surface. When you have iron in the water, you need to use sequestrant to bind to the iron and prevent it from depositing as stains. Unfortunately, sequestrant breaks down over time, you need to be constantly adding more. Sequestrants based on HEDP, phosphonic acid, or phosphonic acid derivatives are the most effective. ProTeam's Metal Magic and Jack's Magic The Pink Stuff (regular) would work best for your pool.

    If you can stand the brownish color for a while, you can temporarily hold off on the sequestrants and try the "paper towel" method, which involves placing about 3-4 sheets of paper towels in the skimmer (or in your case, the bucket filters you have set up). The paper towels may remove some of the precipitated metal particles. No guarantee this will work, but it is a low cost - low impact alternative worth trying, so I will put it on the table. Even if the paper towel method removes some of the iron, you may still need to continue using a sequestrant but perhaps less of it if the paper towel method was at least somewhat successful. If the paper towels are turning somewhat brown, that is an indication they are removing some of the metals.
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    You're halfway there.

    High FC levels tend to drive the Iron out of suspension so the precipitate can be filtered out. So does letting the pH run high. But the chlorine tablets you've been adding are acidic. They're dissolving the particles!

    Let the pH go up to 7,8 and keep some bleach in there and hopefully it will end up turning dark and evil so it can be filtered out. Once you've removed what you can, then you switch to a sequestrant. I hope you've read the metals article in pool school.
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    Shambly, if for any reason you try the alum floc thing, if you were to find it, I just want to note to only vacuum it to waste if that's an option on your filter. Do not let it get in your filter, and do not use it if you can't vacuum to waste.
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    hello and thank you for your replies, and yes i did read the pool school metal in water. i had to fill it from my well, cheapest quot i got to have water delivered was almost 800 bucks cause of how far out we are and i cant afford that. but any how i just need to find out what i can put in it to solidify the metal particles so it can drop and i can clean it out with vac. i just don't know what will do the job i think the "iron out and brilliance stain and scale remover" i added is helping it from staining just not to get it out and its to dissolved to filter out like this. i did add some PH+ to bring it up and help it thicken. when you say keep some bleach in there doesn't that mean chlorine, or just household bleach and how much should i put in it. thanks

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    Yes, when we say bleach, we mean household bleach - the plain, unscented kind without any added thickeners. Add enough bleach to reach your FC target for your CYA (see Chlorine / CYA Chart) and adjust pH at the top of the scale (7.7, 7.8). That should get the metals to precipitate which will assist in filtering at least some of it out.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    Quote Originally Posted by BoDarville View Post
    Welcome to TFP!

    The only way to remove iron is to fill with iron/metal-free water.
    Not true I just did it last week. As long as you can get it to precipitate out you can filter it out.


    Added 6/15/16 Sorry I didn't include link to my process earlier.
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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    Quote Originally Posted by BoDarville
    Welcome to TFP!

    The only way to remove iron is to fill with iron/metal-free water.
    Quote Originally Posted by ckk81
    Not true I just did it last week. As long as you can get it to precipitate out you can filter it out.
    ckk81:

    You may be able to filter some of the metals out if you can get them to precipitate as I said here:

    Quote Originally Posted by "BoDarville" post #2
    If you can stand the brownish color for a while, you can temporarily hold off on the sequestrants and try the "paper towel" method, which involves placing about 3-4 sheets of paper towels in the skimmer (or in your case, the bucket filters you have set up). The paper towels may remove some of the precipitated metal particles. No guarantee this will work, but it is a low cost - low impact alternative worth trying, so I will put it on the table. Even if the paper towel method removes some of the iron, you may still need to continue using a sequestrant but perhaps less of it if the paper towel method was at least somewhat successful. If the paper towels are turning somewhat brown, that is an indication they are removing some of the metals.
    and here:
    Quote Originally Posted by "BoDarville" post #6
    ...Add enough bleach to reach your FC target for your CYA (see Chlorine / CYA Chart) and adjust pH at the top of the scale (7.7, 7.8). That should get the metals to precipitate which will assist in filtering at least some of it out.
    When the metals are allowed to precipitate, some of the metals will be filtered out and, as a result, the pool owner will be able to use less sequestrant and replenish it less often. Many members have used the paper towel method with some success - do a TFP search on "paper towel method". Others have suspended a sock in front of the skimmer with mixed success in capturing some of the metals using this method. An yes, the main filter may capture some of the metals as well. However, it is unlikely that the metals will be filtered out to the equivalent of metal-free water, especially when you consider periodic top-offs. Unless the pool is topped off with metal-free water, each top-off will be introducing metals into the water. The pool owner can choose to let the metals precipitate and continue filtering some of those metals out. Note that there is a risk of the metals staining the surface unless and until a significant amount of the metals are filtered out. OTOH, there are several pool owners who don't want to look at the brownish/greenish color and will choose to use a sequestrant immediately so they can have clear water immediately and avoid the risk of the metals staining the surface.
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    Ckk, you used a 5 micron filter in a filter housing connected to a submersible pump, right?

    Shambly, give Ckk's thread a read for mechanical options. Or if you're still having trouble, see if you can get one of these with the in-pool jet attachment: The Slime Bag | The Easiest Way To Maintain Crystal Clear Pool Water. - it filters down to 1 micron.

    I've been hesitant to give you my typical metals advice because I know where you're located and not sure what you can get your hands on, including the TFT recommended test kits. You can only get the Taylor k2006 via Lowry's in Canada, for example, and doing any specific metal treatments requires pretty tight control of testing ability. Not sure if you can get Metal Magic sequestrant. Don't think you can get specifically Leslie's alum floc, and only a few work right for this kind of purpose and can cause a mess.

    I also can't remember why, but believe you'd want to avoid using any more iron out for this purpose - its a strong oxidizer but I believe there are byproducts. I'll see if i can dig up better info.

    Btw, my grandmother used to own a campground up on Crystal lake in your neck of the woods. Beautiful spot!
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    Ok shambly, here's a bit of reading for your consideration:

    The first is a note from a guy in Brazil who used floc to remove oxidized iron:
    I'm posting this in the Just Getting Started forum since most of the questions I've seen re problems with brown water in the pool and yellow water in a well that feeds it seem to be here.

    I'm a newbie to TFP and certainly no chemist, but I have considerable experience with well water since that's all that I have (for both house and pool). If you are using well water and your pool water starts turning brown (and you haven't had a recent mudslide!), this may help.

    The typical problem starts with the pool water turning brown (but not turbid), often after adding a heavy dose of chlorine. If your well water is faintly cloudy or yellowish, it's likely caused by dissolved iron, and mechanical filtering (like your pool's) can't remove it. There are only two ways to get the iron out: with an aeration system (expensive) and with aluminum sulfate (cheap). I've used aluminum sulfate for years with no problems.

    When I first heard of the aluminum sulfate method, my first concern, of course, was safety. Can you really drink that stuff? It turns out that most municipal water treatment plants use aluminum sulfate, to remove dissolved material, so if it isn't safe, millions of people around the world are in trouble.

    While the proper dosage depends on the concentration of iron (determined with readily-available test kits for well water), I've never needed more than 100ml (or about 1/2 cup) per 5000 liters of water. The chemical is sold in fine granular form and is added to the pool as follows:
    - turn the filter on
    - in a bucket, mix the aluminum sulfate with some pool water until it dissolves. (There will be a little residual grit that doesn't dissolve - no problem.)
    - add the mixture thru the skimmer or in front of a return
    - after a 1/2 hour, turn the filter off and leave it off for 12 hours. (This 'calm' time is very important.)
    - when you come back, the bottom of your pool will be as brown as the water was. That's the iron that was pulled out by the chemical and sank to the bottom
    - carefully vacuum out the iron

    I think it's a good idea to do this treatment any time you add significant amounts of well water with iron in it, rather than letting it build to the point that the pool water turns brown.
    And here's a best guess why the mfg doesn't recommend Iron Out for pools:
    Re: Sodium dithionite - iron out
    It seems like sodium dithionite would be OK to use. The end product of this reducing agent is sulfate (via sulfite).

    Citric acid in water is mostly citrate ion and gets oxidized to acetonedicarboxylic acid (acetonedicarboxylate ion) and then further to malonic acid also producing chloroform and carbon dioxide (see this paper). Perhaps the end product of chloroform (a trihalomethane) is why the product that contains some citric acid is not recommended for use in chlorinated pools.

    Oxalic acid in water is mostly oxalate ion and gets oxidized to carbon dioxide.

    Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) has the end product of dehydroascorbic acid. Since this product does not have any nitrogenous sites nor methyl ketone or carboxyl or sulfur sites, it does not get readily further oxidized by chlorine. The dehydroascorbic acid will mostly just stay as is in water as a dissolved organic substance.
    Here are links to those threads:
    Sodium dithionite - iron out
    getting rid of iron and rust
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    ok thank you all, no more iron out lol. i took a sample to the pool and spa store they did a test on the water told me it only had iron in it really high she said there matchine wouldnt even read it so she set me up with some Dazzle stain and scale 2 liters. told me to dump it in give it 24 hours and check the filter and clean it alot. aswell she gave me stabilizer and some alkaline to bring the alkalinity up. so i guess il see what happens. 2 hour drive just to test the water so i hope it works

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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    so its been 48 hours since i added the stain and scale. and can honesty say... didnt do a thing and my filter is still hooked up the (bucket and pillow stuffing) but now the water comming out is the same as going in orange/yellow water looks bad... i was wondering tho if they gave me the right stuff, figured shouldnt i use like a metal cleaner and then a sequestrate. i tried ordering one of those slimebags but says there out of stock wondering if i could make one outta a meterial that would filter to 1 micron... at swampwoman i was just at crystal lake few weeks ago beautiful place, only a few hrs from where im at.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    Sorry to hear the product didnt work and that the slimebags are out of stock!

    Do you hav a submersible pump? If so, can you get your hands on a filter housing like the one I'll post a link to? If so you could try to circulate the pool water through that.

    There's also a YouTube video somewhere where a guy mad a filter out of a 5 gallon bet and pillow stuffing. Let e try to dig that up! Back in a minute:

    Here's one where the guy actually explains how to make it: How to get rust out of pool water - The easy way - No more brown water! - YouTube

    Here's a big 1 micron filter: One Big Blue Sediment Filter Housing 1 Micron - 4.5 - - Amazon.com

    Here's the type of filter housing to go with te filter: Pentek 150469 3/4 Scientific

    If you were to get the filter housing and filter, the thing I like about that is once you've cleared up your water, you can attach it to your fill hose every time you top up. That would help avoid this mess going forward
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    You say the water coming out of the bucket is orange? Could it be that the holes in the lid are too low or close to the rim?

    We just tried this last week for the first time. I almost seemed like the orange water was 'heavier' than the clean water and came out when we tipped it forward. Almost like it was settling in the bottom/side of the bucket. I could almost imagine if the holes were too close to the rim of the bucket the orange might not get the chance to sink, or it was sinking and is now overflowing out the holes.

    I'm not sure if this plausible, but based on our experience I thought I would mention it.

    Our water was orange once after the filter had been off and the bucket not emptied. It was like the water pressure stirred up the iron in the bucket and when it started going back into the pool, it was orange. Big mistake on our part!

    1st time pool owner: 16x48 Intex Ultraframe, 5061 gallons, intex SWG, 1500 gph cartridge filter (635T) , Gorilla pad, SP1091LX Hayward skimmer, K2006 and K1766 test kits, high iron well water, Poolmate Metal out, 5 gallon bucket/polyfill filter

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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    hello sorry for late get back, update is i got the water sparkling clear. the bucket and pillow stuffing worked great for the bigger stuff but all the dissolved iron just ran through it. after (not knowing how bad it was) putting the "iron out" and the water being super browny yellow it was just unfilterable il add a pic of the way it was looking. so i emptied it all scrubbed the sh*t outta it got 90 percent of the rust stains out and filled it back up but ran the hose from inside house after it ran through a softener and iron system. took 4 days but it filled up crystal clear. i shocked it last night. and now just waiting for the FC and PH level to come down a bit and its good to go. thanks to all that helped me

    before
    IMG_1681.jpg
    after
    IMG_1683.jpg

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    Awesome news!
    Ive plumbed my outdoor pool spigot to the water softener for same reason...guess I should have mentioned that FIRST, eh?
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: getting rid of iron and rust

    i didnt even think about it when i started till i looked and seen the outside tap plumbed before it hits the conditioner.

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