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Thread: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

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    $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    I will send $100 via check, paypal, etc. to whoever figures this out. Driving me mad.

    I posted about a year ago on here to see if anyone could figure this out. I've worked with some local companies (No help) as well as Pentair support (My filter company.) No one knows what this is or why it happens.

    Some background - this is our fourth summer with the pool. I don't recall noticing this our first summer, but definitely last year and this year. I follow the TFPC methods and the water has always been great, short of something outside of our control. I installed a heat pump our second summer and when I fired it up the first time, I noticed what looked like some grease in the water. I'm guessing I should have run the pump for a few seconds without the heat pump outlet being connected to flush it, but didn't realize it at the time. This was slightly yellow and definitely a grease. It cleared up quickly afterwards. I have also bypassed the heat pump for a week or two in the past and this didn't clear things up at all.

    I have an auto-cover, so the pool is almost always closed it not in use. Makes it very easy to care for. There have been times the cover has been closed for a week, pump runs all week, still have the particles. So I don't believe it's anything getting in to the pool from the environment. We had the electronics go on our pump a few weeks ago, so I had the cover open for almost two weeks straight after while I slammed and waited for the FC to come back down. So don't believe it's the cover either.

    I run our pump for 7 hours a day and move about 30 GPM.

    I put some DE in as our cartridge filter says it can handle that. I noticed a fair amount of DE at the bottom of the pool after adding (To the skimmer.) I brushed it around and all seemed fine. But I thought maybe that meant the cartridge had a hole in it, so I just replaced our cartridge in case. No change.

    I'm somewhat out of ideas. It's definitely a white substance, and so small I can't tell if it's hard or what. Almost like specs of dust or paper. It's really only noticeable if you STARE at the water, or if you have the lights on or goggles. Below is a video from my GoPro. Set YouTube to HD.

    Only suggestion from Pentair was to clean our SWG. I pulled it out and still just as clean as when I started the pool up. Haven't cleaned it in a few years because there's nothing in there, no build up. Cleaned it anyway, no difference.

    Water chemistry -
    FC 7
    pH 7.3
    TA 100
    CH 250
    CYA 70
    Borate - Have to re-test this. Brought this up to 50 two summers ago and didn't really notice much, so didn't care to track it or anything.

    ANY suggestions?

    GOPR0679 - YouTube
    Leisure Pools Riv 30, 8500 gal, IG fiberglass, 200 sqft cart filter (Clean & Clear 200), Intelliflo 3HP variable speed pump, Aqua Rite SWG, auto cover, installed 5/2013
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    TFT 100

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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Is it possible that it is bird poop? do you have birds nesting overhead or in trees nearby? they will drop their poop in your pool to hide that they are there too predators. i think they are called gaggles or something.

    - - - Updated - - -

    nevermind, just saw the video, dont think its poop.
    Pool Type: In Ground, Liner. Shape: Free form/kidney
    Size: 32,000 gallons
    Filter/Pump: Brand new (2016) DE Hayward 4820 / Brand new (2016) Pentair VST 2
    Heater: Yes (older)
    Location: NJ. No tree/leaves overhead. Limited shrubs near/over waterfall feature

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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Maybe a longer video with something to reference what you're showing.
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    I would say it's organic debris that has been bleached out by the chlorine but not yet settled to the bottom to be vacuumed up or pulled down the main drain to the filters. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
    50,000 gallon plaster in-ground salt pool with two 60 sq ft DE filters, two Intellichlor IC60 SWGs, two Intelliflo VS pumps, two Whisperflo pumps, two Pentair 400K BTU NG heaters, PCC2000 in-floor cleaning system...two everything.

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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Calcium flakes from the SWG, I have the same and there are other threads talking about this. Although since you cleaned the swg and it had no scale, strange.
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Try skimmer socks to see if you can catch any of the stuff for analysis.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Okay, I need the money to pay for my new liner (jk)

    So here are pet theories:

    1. You have an aquarite, which changes polarity to clean the cell, but your calcium is not especially high, so my guess is that its a composite of either:

    Guess A) Calcium plus Phosphate (to test, grind some up with a morar and pestle and mx with a bit of distilled water. Test for presence of ch and po4 using respective kits.

    2. Guess B - sulphate crystal flakes shed from cell during reverse polarity cleaning (eg do you use ph down instead of MA? Or draw from well with maganese sulphate?)

    3. Guess C - (I know the other two are possible...not sure about this one) Zinc scale from a sacrificial anode plumbed between filter and heat pump due to salt cell. Do you have an in-line zinc anode?

    Btw, once you catch some, to test for pure calcium, add MA. If it fizzes a lot, there's calcium in there. But with phosphate scale, in my case it did NOT fizz, but the ch test with the DI and ground up flakes did show presence of ch bound to the phosphate.

    PS if any of my guesses are correct, pease donate your $100 to TFP to help keep the lights on
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfreude View Post
    I would say it's organic debris that has been bleached out by the chlorine but not yet settled to the bottom to be vacuumed up or pulled down the main drain to the filters. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
    Yeh, but after the pool cover being on for most of the week and no activity in the pool? It's been two years. . . Not losing sleep, but it bugs me because I think it looks poor.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobby1017
    Calcium flakes from the SWG, I have the same and there are other threads talking about this. Although since you cleaned the swg and it had no scale, strange.
    Exactly why I'm stuck on that one. . . That and the SWG has been off for over a week and it's still there and hasn't cleared at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    Try skimmer socks to see if you can catch any of the stuff for analysis.
    I did that last year and got a fair amount of pollen and such, somewhat slimy. But that was more yellowish.

    Swampwoman,

    Very thorough and good guesses, thanks! I guess I need to try and capture a bunch of it. I'm thinking I need to get my skimmer sock and swim around underwater a bit with it. Where would I find some of the tests you mentioned?
    Leisure Pools Riv 30, 8500 gal, IG fiberglass, 200 sqft cart filter (Clean & Clear 200), Intelliflo 3HP variable speed pump, Aqua Rite SWG, auto cover, installed 5/2013
    Aquacal Superquiet 110, installed 6/2014
    TFT 100

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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    For the calcium test, just use the one in your tft100 kit.

    For phosphate, hate to see you buy a kit just to test for presence, so I'd say the cheapest phosphate strip you can find, or if you really want to ave some fun, take the solution to a pool store and say its your pool water. They love to test fr phosphates

    For calcium only, just use muriatic acid if you have some.

    For zinc or sulphate, not sure how to test...guess by ruling out others and consulting doctor google

    I know that zinc scales white, as I'd discussed this with someone when trying to dx my flakes...but the po4 was super positive right away and I had good reason to suspect phosphates due to a large, long habit of metal sequestrant and no-drain rule in my pool
    (Metal sequestrants degrade over time into orthophosphates that at very very high levels and high heat eg heater and high ph from inside cell can scale. We're not talking puny pool store rates of po4 though...I'll share more on this if you're a sequestrant user but gotta run for the moment.)
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    What's the underside of your cover look like? Could it be oxidized and crumbling on the undersurface? Maybe only at one end (the side closest to the spool). Might be hard to look at at from below without a snorkel and a waterproof flashlight.

    ~15,000 gallons, in ground, pebble tec finish, pentair cartridge filter, automatic pool cleaner

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    My bet is scale from the SWG. Keep your CSI -0.3 to 0 to prevent scale. PoolMath will give you the number, tweak PH and/or TA to adjust. To test the theory buy some bleach and turn off the SWG for a week.

    More on scale here, Pool School - Calcium Scaling

    Don't clean the cell if there is no scale present it will shorten the life of the cell unnecessarily.
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Swampwoman,

    Thanks. You had some questions I neglected -

    No well, no ph down. No MA either. My pH really never moved. 7.3 is about it. I've seen it as high as 7.5.

    Sacrificial anode. Good question. I honestly have no idea. Where the plumbing comes up out of the ground, there is an interesting looking PVC coupler that my bonding connects to. Not sure if there's an anode in there or not. I'll have to try and get a picture of it, just have to dig a little.

    I'll try to catch some this weekend.

    necrotic, underside of the cover looks good, but you're right, I've never looked under at the far end. I would need to get an underwater light, might have a connection there. However, like I said, cover was off for at least a week during SLAM and it never got any better. I would think after a week with the pump running 30 GPM 24x7 it would have cleared if that was the case. I'm still going to check it out though.

    pooldv, CSI is good; SWG has been off for a little over a week now while I wait for FC to come back down from SLAM. No improvement.

    Thanks guys, really appreciate all the help. Keep them coming! I can see myself in the pool this weekend chasing white specs!
    Leisure Pools Riv 30, 8500 gal, IG fiberglass, 200 sqft cart filter (Clean & Clear 200), Intelliflo 3HP variable speed pump, Aqua Rite SWG, auto cover, installed 5/2013
    Aquacal Superquiet 110, installed 6/2014
    TFT 100

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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Should be some in the cartridge. Try cleaning the cartridge in a bucket to catch the rinse water and then strain the water through a filter of some sort. Maybe put a skimmer sock in a skimmer basket and then pour the waste water through the basket with the sock to see what you get.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Since the pool is FG you can go more negative on CSI to see if that helps. -0.6 to -0.3.
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Good morning, TFPat. Out of my own curiosity I looked up more scale types...zinc sulphate is a real scale, as is zinc carbonate (gypsum). Discussion of these formations can be found in offshore drilling, oil exploratory etc., where there is intense interest in various scales formed, operationally speaking

    If your flakes are crystalline on observation, my suspicion would be there are sulphates/sulphides involved in the mix.
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white &quot;stuff&quot; in my pool

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Since the pool is FG you can go more negative on CSI to see if that helps. -0.6 to -0.3.
    Based on current temps, I'm actually at -0.6. Usually am around there actually.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Swampwoman View Post
    Good morning, TFPat. Out of my own curiosity I looked up more scale types...zinc sulphate is a real scale, as is zinc carbonate (gypsum). Discussion of these formations can be found in offshore drilling, oil exploratory etc., where there is intense interest in various scales formed, operationally speaking

    If your flakes are crystalline on observation, my suspicion would be there are sulphates/sulphides involved in the mix.
    I see a microscope in my future!
    Leisure Pools Riv 30, 8500 gal, IG fiberglass, 200 sqft cart filter (Clean & Clear 200), Intelliflo 3HP variable speed pump, Aqua Rite SWG, auto cover, installed 5/2013
    Aquacal Superquiet 110, installed 6/2014
    TFT 100

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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    If you turn off the pump, does the 'stuff' settle or does it stay suspended in the water?

    The debris certainly appears large enough to be filtered out. So you're either producing a lot of whatever it is, or it's somehow bypassing the filter.

    I don't know anything about cartridge filters. But is there any chance there's a defect in the housing or sealing areas that is somehow allowing water to bypass the filters?
    John - 16,000 gallon | in ground | pebble | Triton II sand filter | TF100 | speedstir | Hayward Phoenix 2x

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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Quote Originally Posted by TroubleFreePat View Post
    Swampwoman,

    Thanks. You had some questions I neglected -

    No well, no ph down. No MA either. My pH really never moved. 7.3 is about it. I've seen it as high as 7.5.

    Sacrificial anode. Good question. I honestly have no idea. Where the plumbing comes up out of the ground, there is an interesting looking PVC coupler that my bonding connects to. Not sure if there's an anode in there or not. I'll have to try and get a picture of it, just have to dig a little.

    I'll try to catch some this weekend.
    .

    Thanks guys, really appreciate all the help. Keep them coming! I can see myself in the pool this weekend chasing white specs!
    Use a really small slurp gun. Size of a syringe should work.

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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    Dandruff, definitely dandruff. just kidding, from what you described with the DE, I would still suspect the cartridge filter. I know that doesn't help with the particulate... I once had some bird poop that disintegrated and looked similar.
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    Re: $100 if you can figure out the white "stuff" in my pool

    One hundred dollars on that you used liquid stabilizer that was sitting on the shelf for a while. Ask how I know about this?
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