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Thread: Causes for high copper

  1. #1
    Senior Member hlemon's Avatar
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    Causes for high copper

    I apologize on the front end if this is posted in the wrong place.

    I have a question about copper. I went to the pool store for testing today and my water tested 1.5ppm of copper!!!!

    I didn't have ANY trouble with copper last year that I know of. What are the usual causes for an increase in copper? Is there only one, or many?
    26,000 gal liner IG pool
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  2. #2
    Senior Member reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    from what I've read, it can be in groundwater (rare) or more commonly in some algaecides or mineral systems (nature2, frog, maybe some others I'm not aware of).
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

  3. #3
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    reebok has all the sources but one (though showing up in groundwater is exceedingly rare). If you have a heater with a copper heat exchange coil and the PH has been below 6.8 for any period of time you can dissolve copper out of the heat exchanger and into the water.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member hlemon's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    I wish we had a water heater!

    Ok, so if someone (hypothetically speaking of course) had dumped two bottles of algaecide at the request of the maintanence man at the local pool store, would they have an artificially inflated amount of copper that would dissapate on its own, or would that individual have to buy a sequestrant (is that how you spell that?? ) to get rid of the copper?
    26,000 gal liner IG pool
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  5. #5
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    Quote Originally Posted by hlemon
    I wish we had a water heater!

    Ok, so if someone (hypothetically speaking of course) had dumped two bottles of algaecide at the request of the maintanence man at the local pool store, would they have an artificially inflated amount of copper that would dissapate on its own, or would that individual have to buy a sequestrant (is that how you spell that?? ) to get rid of the copper?
    Copper doesn't dissipate, so sequestrant is your best option.
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  6. #6
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    If the copper level is actually 1.5, then yes you need sequestrant. Copper levels above 0.3 tend to cause stains. Two bottles of algaecide would not normally be enough to get the copper up to that level however. On the other hand, I am not sure I believe the pool store measurement. Copper at 1.5 would tend to cause an obvious problem almost right away.

    Sequestrant doesn't get rid of metals, it just holds on to them so that they can't form stains. Sequestrant wears out slowly and must be constantly replaced. The only way to get rid of metals is to replace water with some water that doesn't have metals in it.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member hlemon's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    I thought it might be a little fishy....just because the amount was SO high!

    I guess...the problem is I still have a swamp and can't see whether there is any staining or not. Should I go ahead and purchase some sequestrant or just wait to see once I can get the algae under control?
    26,000 gal liner IG pool
    Doughboy with concrete construction
    Full sun most of the day
    1.5 hp pump system
    200lb sand filter

  8. #8
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    I'd get one bottle....copper stains in a liner are virtually impossible to remove once they're there. I wouldn't take a chance.

    Over time with water replacement the level should drop. I used to have a lot of copper in my pool, now I have none.

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  9. #9
    Senior Member hlemon's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    After a weekend of fighting with the pool and spending huge amounts on bleach, we decided to go ahead and drain it half way to see if we could make it more manageable. I have it in shock right now, trying to maintain about a 15 since we lost all of our added CYA by pumping the water off.

    So here's my next question. What would adhere to the sides of a vinyl liner to make it feel like sandpaper? My husband and I spent Saturday and Sunday scrubbing every inch of that pool that we could (not being able to see below the nasty green water)...what type of algae would cause that? It wasn't a strange color or anything...maybe yellowish? Is that mustard algae?

    BTW- No metal staining that I could see. I took another water sample to another pool store and it didn't show high copper at all. Strange.
    26,000 gal liner IG pool
    Doughboy with concrete construction
    Full sun most of the day
    1.5 hp pump system
    200lb sand filter

  10. #10
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    Algae will make vinyl feel slimy, but it won't make it feel rough. The most likely cause of feeling rough would be calcium scaling.

    You should post a full set of water test results. That will help us tell you what to do next.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    As far as sources of copper, I just wanted to throw in that I noticed the other day on a pack of granular shock that it listed copper as one of the ingredients.

    You might want to look closely at the ingredients of any powder shock you are using if you use it.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member hlemon's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    I am going to perform a full test at lunch today and will post the numbers.

    I know I'm still battling active algae, I lost major ground overnight (started at 14, went down to 8.5) so I am trying to keep it above 10 all day today.

    sbluhm- wow, I never would have thought to check the shock packets! I am back to using good 'ol standard liquid bleach again since I am down to treating half of my water.
    26,000 gal liner IG pool
    Doughboy with concrete construction
    Full sun most of the day
    1.5 hp pump system
    200lb sand filter

  13. #13
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    Quote Originally Posted by hlemon
    BTW- No metal staining that I could see. I took another water sample to another pool store and it didn't show high copper at all. Strange.
    Wouldn't surprise me at all if the first test was a scam to sell metal sequesterant.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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  14. #14
    Senior Member hlemon's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    I really hope not!!! This was our "honest" store!
    26,000 gal liner IG pool
    Doughboy with concrete construction
    Full sun most of the day
    1.5 hp pump system
    200lb sand filter

  15. #15
    Senior Member hlemon's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    We pumped all but about 1.5 feet out last night. You can now see the sedament at the bottom of the pool, but I won't be able to vacuum until I get the water back up to my skimmers (hopefully tonight with three hoses running).

    Here are my numbers from this morning:

    FC-13
    CC-2
    TA-60
    CYA-10 (going off measurement from pool store because I could still see the dot today)
    pH-7.2

    I have CYA in the pool, although it won't be dissolving very well until I get the returns going again. I put a 16oz bag of 75% cal-hypo this morning and mixed...hopefully that, with my residual FC from last night will hold me until lunchtime when I can get home.

    The plan is to get the water up to the skimmers and vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. I know I am also battling active algae still, or I wouldn't have a CC of 2, right? I am also picking up soda today at the pool store.

    The water is definitely a little more clear, but its still very green.
    26,000 gal liner IG pool
    Doughboy with concrete construction
    Full sun most of the day
    1.5 hp pump system
    200lb sand filter

  16. #16
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    RIGHT. Keep at it
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
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  17. #17
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    Quote Originally Posted by sbluhm
    As far as sources of copper, I just wanted to throw in that I noticed the other day on a pack of granular shock that it listed copper as one of the ingredients.
    Almost all of the "Shock" products with a "PLUS" in them seem to have copper as the "+", an algacide that turns hair green and causes staining.

    Next, I wish that manufacturers would call "shock" what it is: powdered chlorine. "Shock" is what you do to the organics in the pool !

    You might want to take a water sample to another store and have it checked for copper and FC, CC, CYA, PH, TA, as well as CH (calcium hardness). You may want to go to straight bleach 8) as your chlorine source as 75% cal-hypo is going to add calcium to the water too.
    Triad Region of NC
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  18. #18
    Senior Member hlemon's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    Fuzzy- No doubt! I am normally a BBB girl, but switched to using the unstabilized cal-hypo just because it is more manageable when I'm trying to shock and because I was having to shock for so long.

    I am hoping to go get a full set run at the pool store tomorrow morning. By then, I should be able to see some real progress in our water and know if I'm definitely on top of the algae. I'm also waiting to see if the refill corrected the copper problem (IF I ever had one) and the possible calcium problem (since our pool walls felt like sandpaper).

    Man- I'm so glad my kids don't require chemistry to maintain....they'd be in for it with a mom like me!
    26,000 gal liner IG pool
    Doughboy with concrete construction
    Full sun most of the day
    1.5 hp pump system
    200lb sand filter

  19. #19
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    Quote Originally Posted by hlemon
    ...I am normally a BBB girl, but switched to using the unstabilized cal-hypo just because it is more manageable when I'm trying to shock and because I was having to shock for so long.
    ...also waiting to see if the refill corrected the copper problem (IF I ever had one) and the possible calcium problem (since our pool walls felt like sandpaper).
    Tha Cal-Hypo (powdered chlorine) is what I was concerned about when you were talking about rough vinyl walls. Adding calcium through by using cal-hypo as a chlorine source may be creating or aggrevating the scaling, that is provided the calcium level is/was high to begin with.

    Per Jason's statement
    ...it won't make it feel rough. The most likely cause of feeling rough would be calcium scaling...
    Triad Region of NC
    18x37 Vinyl IG (24,000 gal.), BBB & GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 SWG, Hayward 1 HP Superpump / Hayward Sand Filter / Polaris 280 cleaner / 6 deck jets / Sheer Descent Waterfall (in coping) / Brick Red Concrete Coping / Stamped Concrete Deck
    Lots of oak trees, maple trees, *and* leaves!

  20. #20
    Senior Member hlemon's Avatar
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    Re: Causes for high copper

    That is a good point. I guess I just didn't think about it because we now have 2/3 new water and scrubbed all of the "sandpaper" off the walls. I am hoping that by tomorrow, I can go back to regular bleach (more CYA in the pool) and won't have more issues with the scaling.

    Out of curiosity....are you really a dba?
    26,000 gal liner IG pool
    Doughboy with concrete construction
    Full sun most of the day
    1.5 hp pump system
    200lb sand filter

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