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Thread: VERY cloudy water

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    VERY cloudy water

    I'm new to the forum and could really use some help!

    Very old Gunite Pool - Probably at least 30 years old or more, freeform shape. I think it may be 40,000 gallons, but I noticed last night that Leslie pool has it in their system at 20,000. DE Filter. Walls haven't been painted in decades. Area - Boston Mass.

    My pool was opened on June 3rd with slightly cloudy water, and the pool guy who opened it told me to just keep the chlorine levels high and put our pool robot (dolphin delux 4) in the next day.

    it turns out the robot didn't work so I took it to Leslie Pool. They kept it for about two weeks then said that it all worked fine. Unfortunately it still didn't work for me so we ended up having to buy a new one. Got a Polaris 955 because it was the only one with a long enough cord for the pool. So the pool wasn't cleaned for 2 weeks. But I kept adding chlorine to try and get the water clear.

    At the bottom of the pool we had lots and lots of tan or buff colored silt/dust appearing. We've had this before, but this time we had so much, probably because the pool hadn't been cleaned. Anyway when I put the Polaris in the cartridge filled up very quickly with this silt, and the pool became so cloudy that you couldn't see it. I've run the robot at least a half dozen times and it keeps filling up with this stuff. The water is extremely cloudy and no sign of the bottom of the pool yet.

    I've tried putting a filter sock in, and it very quickly gets so caked full of the buff colored silt stuff that water won't go through to the filter.

    test results from Leslie Pool last night show a lot of my chemicals off:

    FAC 10
    TAC 10
    CH 270
    CYA 100
    TA 100
    PH 7
    Base 2
    Copper 0 (but he said it was on the verge of being high)
    Iron 0
    TDS 1100
    Phosphates 1000 (He said this should be 100)

    I should note that we have wild ducks that like to spend time in our pool, so that has probably added to the phosphate issue.( I've tried a coyote and swan decoys, but those ducks seem to know better and don't get fooled.)

    Leslie pool told me to (in this order)
    1) use Floc, then have the robot clean it up after it all falls to the bottom
    2) put in 2 pounds of Soda ash for the PH
    3) after that is done get a chlorine nutrilizer
    4) then get and use Phos free

    And when I asked he said we should not use the pool

    I have ordered a Taylor testing kit which should arrive early next week, but the weather is really nice and I want to be able to use the pool soon. Plus we have some guests coming.

    Should I follow the suggestions of Leslie pool, or is there something else I should do? And one more question - will it make the chlorine levels go down faster if I turn on the pool heater?

    Thank you so much for your help!

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    AimeeH's Avatar
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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    Hi. Welcome to TFP

    Our advice will not be the same as the pool store. We believe in accurately testing our own water and feeding the pool only what it needs. You already ordered a Tayler test kit.....hope it was then-2006? That one will have the tests you need.

    What you are describing without seeing a picture sounds like dead algae. To clear that will require the SLAM process. Start by reading some information in pool school.

    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
    Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    If your CYA is indeed as high as the pool store says (but we generally don't trust their tests), getting that lower by draining and refilling should be your first order of business. And, if your CYA is that high you do NOT need to lower your chlorine.

    Do some reading mentioned above and let us know your test results as soon as you get your test kit and post questions.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    Thank you for the advice. I hate waiting for the pool test kit to come, I'll waste valuable weekend time, so I'd like to try and fix this sooner than later. I'm including photos. It doesn't seem like algae to me but maybe these photos will help.
    image.jpg
    In the Polaris canister.

    image.jpg

    After it is dried, and I've broken it up. It seems very much like a very fine sand, not gritty


    Quote Originally Posted by AimeeH View Post
    Hi. Welcome to TFP

    Our advice will not be the same as the pool store. We believe in accurately testing our own water and feeding the pool only what it needs. You already ordered a Tayler test kit.....hope it was then-2006? That one will have the tests you need.

    What you are describing without seeing a picture sounds like dead algae. To clear that will require the SLAM process. Start by reading some information in pool school.

    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
    Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

    If your CYA is indeed as high as the pool store says (but we generally don't trust their tests), getting that lower by draining and refilling should be your first order of business. And, if your CYA is that high you do NOT need to lower your chlorine.

    Do some reading mentioned above and let us know your test results as soon as you get your test kit and post questions.

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    Hi Laurene,
    It takes a while for pool to get in "poor" shape, and unfortunately, getting it back completely clear takes a while too. There really isnt an overnight fix.

    Regarding your Chlorine level of 10. It is far from being high. The required FC is based upon what your CYA is. 40% of the CYA would be considered high. With your CYA at 100, (probably its higher, but 100 is as high as any CYA test will go).. Anyway, your at worst 10% is what your FC is, so the water is not dangerous to get in and the FC is not high.

    Your robot isnt built or intended to handle that amount of stuff on the bottom. It will clog quickly and as you found out, cloud the water really bad. The best solution is vacuum it to waste, or if you cant vaccum to waste, then vacuum it into the filter using a manual vacuum. Go very slowly when moving the vacuum.

    You may have to turn off your pump overnight and let the stuff in the water settle to the bottom.

    While you're waiting for your test kit, I would recommend to add 1 gallon of bleach every day until you get the kit.

    When you get your kit, test and come back here and post your test results and we will be able to help more once we know what all your water parameters are.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    Wow...cya is way high. Youll have to drain a nice portion of your pool first. If not youll be chasing an extremely high fc level thats just not feasible. You want your cya to be in the 30 to 50 range.

    This silt you are describing sounds like dead algae. To get ontop of it do the above and slam your pool according to your new cya level. Once your overnight free chlorine loss is less than 1.0 and there is no combined chlorine, drift down to a chlorine level that is again suitable for your cya level. These levels Im mentioning can be found art trouble free pools website. Best of luck


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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    From the photos this silt looks like DE filter media. Do you have a DE filter?

    Do not try to use any flocculent at this time. You must be able to vacuum to waste to use floc, and it will not get algae if that is your problem.
    TFP Moderator
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    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    I was having this same issue OP and in my case it was definitely DE in the pool, as zea suggested. My pool vac looked exactly like yours.

    In my case, I had bad grids in my filter which was allowing DE to enter the pool so I had them replaced. Your issue maybe be different though.

    In the meantime I pulled the pool cleaner out of the pool and let everything settle overnight then vacuumed to waste. I got the vast majority out the first time, but I brushed the walls, let everything settle and vacuumed again. Water is crystal clear now.

    Now that it's been taken care of I'm working on getting the water chemistry squared away.

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3 View Post
    From the photos this silt looks like DE filter media. Do you have a DE filter?

    Do not try to use any flocculent at this time. You must be able to vacuum to waste to use floc, and it will not get algae if that is your problem.
    ~35,000gal, IG Plaster, FNS 60 Plus DE Filter

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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    Quote Originally Posted by BadFriend View Post
    I was having this same issue OP and in my case it was definitely DE in the pool, as zea suggested. My pool vac looked exactly like yours.

    In my case, I had bad grids in my filter which was allowing DE to enter the pool so I had them replaced. Your issue maybe be different though.

    In the meantime I pulled the pool cleaner out of the pool and let everything settle overnight then vacuumed to waste. I got the vast majority out the first time, but I brushed the walls, let everything settle and vacuumed again. Water is crystal clear now.

    Now that it's been taken care of I'm working on getting the water chemistry squared away.
    We do have a DE filter, and I think we have the same problem that you did, bad grids letting DE enter the pool. I tested by pouring a cup of DE into the simmer and watching the return. Sure enough, a white cloud started coming through right away! I've called the people who open and close my pool and they will come out midweek (soonest I could get them) to look at it and hopefully replace any bad grids same day.

    As you said, with robot out of the pool and not running the water is starting to clear up.

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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    Quote Originally Posted by Zumba57 View Post
    Wow...cya is way high. Youll have to drain a nice portion of your pool first. If not youll be chasing an extremely high fc level thats just not feasible. You want your cya to be in the 30 to 50 range.

    This silt you are describing sounds like dead algae. To get ontop of it do the above and slam your pool according to your new cya level. Once your overnight free chlorine loss is less than 1.0 and there is no combined chlorine, drift down to a chlorine level that is again suitable for your cya level. These levels Im mentioning can be found art trouble free pools website. Best of luck

    Sent from my VS986 using Tapatalk
    Unfortunatly my test kit won't be arriving for at least a couple more days, and I have guests coming for a pool party next weekend. Are these levels dangerous to swim in?

    I did not and will not use the Floc that I bought. I did use some soda ash and I think (from some dip strips I have) that the PH is better. If I start drawing the pool, how much should I drain it?

    Thanks again for your help!

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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    That CYA number was from store testing, correct? I'd wait for your test kit to test CYA as pool store testing can be really off on that number.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    My Taylor K2006 test kit came. Here are the results I got:

    Free Chlorine - 20.5
    Combined Chlorine - .5 or 1
    PH - 7.2
    Base Test - 2 drops to 7.4
    Alkalinity - 100
    Calcium Hardness - 290
    Cyanuruc Acid - 200 ppm (approx)

    Plus last week Thursday Leslie Pool had the phosphates at 1000!

    The pool itself is looking fairly clear now that I stopped running the robot that was pushing DE sand into the water. I'm hoping that the pool guys can clean and replace my filter screens today that having been letting sand into the pool.

    What do I do about these numbers? Once I get the sand back washed off the bottom of the pool will it be safe to swim? I've got a dozen people coming over for a pool party this weekend, so I hope so!

    Thank you for helping!
    Laurene
    Gunite Freeform, approx. 28,000 Gallons
    1 Wall Return, No Floor Drain
    DE Filter
    Gas Heater
    Polaris 955 Cleaning Robot

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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    You need to drain a lot of that water. Two 50% drains would be a good starting point. How's your water table / water cost?
    32K gallon Plaster - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL
    Test Kits - Pool Math - Chlorine/CYA/Target/Slam Chart

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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurene View Post
    The pool itself is looking fairly clear now that I stopped running the robot that was pushing DE sand into the water. I'm hoping that the pool guys can clean and replace my filter screens today that having been letting sand into the pool.
    Do you have a vacuum and the ability to vacuum to waste? If so, you could do that now to start getting the DE out of the pool while you wait for the service company to replace you grids (this is what I did). It will also slightly reduce the amount of water in your pool - not enough to fix your CYA numbers, but it's a start.

    Also, I don't remember you saying what you're using to chlorinate your pool. Are you using bleach or some form of granules? The reason I ask is if you're using granules there's a decent chance it's dichlor or trichlor which will continue to raise your CYA as you use them.
    ~35,000gal, IG Plaster, FNS 60 Plus DE Filter

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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    The pool company came by today and not only did we have 2 bad grids, but also a bad o-ring and cracked piping in the filter! They are fixing it now. So no wonder it was such a mess.

    I had been using pucks and shock, but with my chlorine levels so high I've stopped for a while. I will check to see if they are dichlor or tricolor, I'm not certain. I think moving forward I should probably start using liquid bleach to keep from raising the CYA, right? The pool guy says that while not idea, the CYA and other levels will be fine for a swim party this weekend.

    I checked and my old vacuum hose and the related pieces are shot, but the pool company should be coming back to vacuum to waste tomorrow. After that I will try to do some draining and replacing of the water.

    Thanks for all the helpful feedback!
    Gunite Freeform, approx. 28,000 Gallons
    1 Wall Return, No Floor Drain
    DE Filter
    Gas Heater
    Polaris 955 Cleaning Robot

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    Re: VERY cloudy water

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurene View Post
    The pool company came by today and not only did we have 2 bad grids, but also a bad o-ring and cracked piping in the filter! They are fixing it now. So no wonder it was such a mess.
    Wow, glad you got those issues looked at and fixed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurene View Post
    I had been using pucks and shock, but with my chlorine levels so high I've stopped for a while. I will check to see if they are dichlor or tricolor, I'm not certain.
    In my admittedly limited experience, the pucks are almost aways a stabilized form of chlorine, like trichlor (which means additional CYA). The shock could be in the same group meaning even more CYA or it could be something like Calcium Hypochlorite (CalHypo), which won't increase CYA but will increase calcium.

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurene View Post
    I think moving forward I should probably start using liquid bleach to keep from raising the CYA, right?
    Yes.

    Liquid chlorine (bleach) will add nothing but chlorine (and a little sale) to your pool. This page from pool school briefly goes over the different chlorine options for your pool. In the end, bleach is usually best.

    FWIW, if you have a BJ's Wholesale near you then you might check them out. I buy Austin's Pool Tech Shock at my local store for $13 a case, which is four 1 gallon containers of 12.5% bleach. My local pool store charges $25 for essentially the same product.

    Work on getting that CYA level down and good luck to you!

    Keep us updated!
    ~35,000gal, IG Plaster, FNS 60 Plus DE Filter

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