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Thread: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

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    [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    I'm at my wits end trying to get our pool water clear.

    Here are my stats:
    16' x 32' in-ground pool, depth 3' - 7' (I'm guessing the average is 5').

    We have had the pool for 10 years, not sure how old it is as it came with the house.

    Never had an issue with the water clarity in the past.

    Last year we could not open the pool due to many family issues. I was really eager to get the pool opened this year for some fun and relaxation but its now the end of July and he have not been able to swim yet. Last year we had a cheap winter cover that failed and many leaves got into the pool.

    We have been able to remove all the leaves with a leaf net and have tried vacuuming the pool but it is difficult as we cannot see the bottom.

    The water is milky colored and we can't see much deeper than the 3rd step.

    We have been having our chemicals tested professionally by a local company and they are not sure why we cannot get clarity either.

    We have shocked the water many, many times, run our chlorine feeder on full, used special chemicals to help get clarity, even changed our filter media to something called zeosand (did that yesterday) and still no change at all.

    This one really has me pulling out what little hair I have left.

    We will be having our chemicals tested again tomorrow, and can post the results then.

    What could be going on? Why can't we get our water to be clear?

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Still milky water! Please help!

    Welcome to TFP!

    I can't tell you much without a full set of water test results. Likewise, you will have a hard time making progress if you don't have your own test kit. Nothing helps more than getting your own top quality test kit (really!)

    In the mean time, do some reading at Pool School, see the link in my signature and near the top right of every page.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Still milky water! Please help!

    Welcome to TFP! An expert will be along soon. In the meantime, add some detail if possible telling us what test results you know and how they were obtained (pool store, I guess). Also what chemicals you have added since opening -- if "shock" tell us what the active ingredients or brand was.
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

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    Re: Still milky water! Please help!

    Sorry for the delay.

    I had to wait until payday before continuing.

    So far we have spent nearly $2000 opening our pool this year and still are unable to swim in it. Not all of that was chemicals, we had to replace the pump, replaced the media in the filter, etc.

    So today I took a sample to the pool store and our ph is very high. I just added 8lbs of something called lo and slo from biogard to reduce the ph (4 lbs at noon and the rest a few minutes ago after seeing no improvement).

    Here are the results of our water test reading from the store (before I added the 8lbs of lo and slow).

    CYA 98
    Tot. Chlorine 10
    Free Chlorine 10
    pH 8.2
    tot. Alkalinity 168
    Adj. Total Alk. 139
    Tot. Hardness 127

    I really appreciate any help with this. After all the personal issues we had last year my wife and I had really looked forward to being able to swim this year and now we believe we may run out of time before we can.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Monday morning, and still no difference (well, maybe just a tiny bit better, but I may just be convincing myself it looks a tiny fraction better).

    I will probably be taking another water sample in today.

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
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    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Get another test at the pool store and post the numbers. Look at how they do the test (strips, drops, etc) and report that as well.

    Have you had a chance to look over the Pool School yet? If you did you would notice your CYA is very high - so you will need significantly more chlorine to shock your pool than you are using.

    As to the Ph and lo and slow - I dont know how much 4lbs of lo and slow cost you but you could have lowered your ph with about $5 of muriatic acid. If you go back into the pool store - dont buy ANYTHING. Write down their recommendations and post them. It will save you a ton of $.

    Post some detail on the chemicals you've been using this season - quantities, rough timeline, etc.


    As Jason mentioned - a good test kit is going to make your pool experience much more satisfying. It's a little daunting at first with all the numbers, etc. but people here like to help.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    You should lower your PH down to 7.2.

    Do you any kind of test kit at all?

    Also, what kind of filter do you have, and have you been backwashing or cleaning the filter through this process?
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Here's my latest numbers:

    CYA: 80
    Tot Chlorine: 10
    Free Chloring: 9.3
    pH: 7.1
    Total Alk: 110
    Adj. Tot Alk: 86
    Tot Hardness: 80

    I wish I would've read this sooner as I bought 16 lbs of Bioguard Balance Pack 100 to raise Alk.

    Regarding previous chemicals used this season, I really wish I had kept better track of this but I have usually just been buying shock and keeping my fingers crossed.

    I used 3 gallons of Clorox weekend before last, and before that I used 2 packets of shock (walmart brand, not sure the name) every weekend.

    Also, I've been reading the Pool School info and it is very informative.
    With my current CYA of 80 (if I understand the Chlorine / CYA Chart correctly) I need to get my FC to 31 (non-swg pool).
    To do this, using the pool calculator I'm going to need 54 gallons of clorox or equivalent?

    Is that correct?

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    You should lower your PH down to 7.2.

    Do you any kind of test kit at all?

    Also, what kind of filter do you have, and have you been backwashing or cleaning the filter through this process?
    I have a cheap test kit (strips).

    My filter is a Hayward Pro Series S-210T

    I have been backwashing weekly (until clear) then rinsing, but I have read on other sites that frequent backwashing may not be good for a sand filter.

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    54 gallons No no

    I get your pool at 17K gallons. To raise your FC from 10 to 31 you're looking at a little more than 5 gallons - 4 182oz jugs.

    You'll need more than that to complete the shocking process though - bring it up to 31, test every hour, etc.

    The problem you are going to have is not having anyway to test your FC count. This is where everyone will begin to recommend a proper test kit with a FAS-DPD chlorine test.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Thanks for the reply.

    5 gallons, then test? or should I add a gallon, test, wait, etc?

  12. Back To Top    #12
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Five gallons essentially all at once (don't pour too quickly however, but don't wait around between bottles either). When shocking it is important to raise the FC level fairly quickly. Otherwise the algae might use up the chlorine faster than you are adding it and you won't make any progress.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Add it all at once - the 5 and a bit gallons. (Jason beat me to it) Wait an hour or two and test, calculate how much to bring it back up to shock. Repeat this process as often as neccessary to kill and oxidize all of the contaminants in the pool.

    Without an accurate test kit it's really hard to get this right. You can try diluting your pool water 50/50 with tap water. It wont be very accurate at all but you might be able to limp through it.

    The point is to keep the chlorine levels high so the algae doesn't have a chance to rebound. By adding 1 bag of shock a week you're killing 50 or 75% of the algae, and then letting them grow back. The net result is no change.

    Once it's all dead it will take awhile for the filter to clear all the dead algae - days not hours. Frequent backwash and patience.

    The balance Pak they sold you will essentially reverse what the Low and Slo did last week. Leave your TA alone.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Join Date
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    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Hi, I am very new to this site, but I was using the same products as you. I just got my TF-100 test kit july 29 & started using. Even though Our problems are different, still boils down to wrong test numbers from pool store & VERY BAD ADVICE! Started opening my pool in may & never got my water balanced till I got my own kit. Ended up with green algea & unbalanced water, and it only cost me a little over $400. One $5 jug of acid fixed my ph, (lo & slo probably 40lbs), a $10 bag of baking soda(walmart) took care of the balance pak. And now I buy bleach at Walmart. Yeah now I need xtra bleach for the algea, but 4 days later, my pool is cloudy blue. My chemicals have been building up for 4 years, and this year it caught up with me. I used burnout, super shock, strike, & I only got some milky white for a couple hours.
    My FC is only droping 2 on the overnight test as of Monday night. So now I will stay with the BBB method. I still got some work to do, but the green is gone.
    my forum is "low alkalinity & high ph"
    GOOD LUCK! These people are great!!!
    AG, 27ft round, 52in, Vinyl, Hayward Cartridge, BBB Method, Well Water, TF-100 Test Kit

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    thanks everyone. I will be getting a good test kit very soon.

    I have had a few in the past, but never a "good" one. Does the ones recommended here last more than a season?

    Also, I'm going to stop on my way home from work and get the chlorine bleach.

    If I need 5+ gallons is there anything wrong with buying say, 9 gallons and just adding them all?

    Is too much really bad?

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Too much can be hard on your pools equipment and/or liner. Also - raising your FC level way above your CYA shock is a waste - sunlight will break down most of the "extra" before it has a chance to do anything.

    You will want to get lots of bleach - no telling how much. Start with say 15 jugs. Add the 5 gallons - 182 oz jug is larger than a gallon.

    You can't just dump it and walk away for a few days though. The algae will just rebound and you'll be exactly where you started - milky water, algae, etc.

    Without the FAS-DPD chlorine test you'll have to come up with some clever way to monitor your FC with the strips. You could try taking 1/2 cup of pool water adding 1 cup of distilled water - test with the strip and multiply by 3. This is in no way accurate but you should be able to tell the difference between fc of 20 and 5.

    The TF-100 has plenty of reagent to last a couple seasons. You may run out of the FC test, but can replace it reagent by reagent as needed very economically.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Just an update, I ordered the TF-100 yesterday.

    My wife convinced me to wait until the weekend to add the liquid chlorine to the pool as we will have more time and can check it every hour.

    I will post my results.

    Thanks to everyone for the help.

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: [updated] Still milky water! Please help!

    Thanks to everyone, the pool is finally starting to clear up.

    I can see the bottom now and its looking better every day, however today after vacuuming we had a new problem.

    I'll create a new thread to discuss that since it is a separate issue.

    Thanks again.

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