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Thread: Cloudy, murky, milky water

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    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Walnut Creek, CA
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    Cloudy, murky, milky water

    Inground pool plaster 12x60' 22,000gal covered Walnut Creek, CA
    DE 60sq ft, 2hp primary pump, 1hp pool sweep pump, heater
    Initial test after winter inactivity:
    FAC 0 low
    TAC 0 low
    CH 250 OK
    CYA 0 low
    TA 80 OK
    pH 7.6 OK
    TDS 500 OK
    Pho 0 OK
    Ran filter continuously for 2 two days but water would not clear. Removed and cleaned filter panels completely (not backwashed). Added 6lbs DE. Shocked using chlorinator (powdered trichloro-s-triazenetrione) until FAC at 4ppm, CYA reached 30+ppm & added pt of HCl to destroy algae and contaminants. After 2 days of continuous filtering and brushing algae was killed and settled on the bottom. Brushed precipitates towards bottom drain. Started pool sweep but small screen trap becomes clogged with debris (should not happen). Eliminated air leak in pool filter trap lid that was causing air in the DE filter and reducing filter effectiveness. Continued to brush (difficult because we cannot see the brush or drain) and run pool filter. Water will not clear but remains milky/cloudy. Pool DE filter pressure approximately 10p/sq in.

    The DE filter (Nautilus) is about 22 years-old, but the panels are only 2 years-old and in excellent condition. For some reason, the filter doesn't seem to be filtering properly. Is the milky water DE that is escaping the filter? The water will not clear even if we let the pool alone (no brushing or filtering) for 48 hours. We used our pressurized leaf catcher to remove silt from the bottom of the pool. The vacuumed debris looks like dead algae and some fine white, soft particles.

    No amount of brushing and filtering seems to work. I think the filter is suspect. But we had it all apart and did not notice any defect in the manifolds and panels. Should we try adding more DE? Ideas anyone? I have read many posts on this subject, but none seem to treat of diagnose this problem.

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, murky, milky water

    Welcome to the forum

    From reading your post briefly, it looks like you are missing one key piece of information.....continued and CONSTANT use of chlorine is the only way to get rid of algae.

    Filtering, brushing, etc are ways to get your pool clean AFTER you kill the algae but there is only one thing in your arsenal that will kill algae.....that's chlorine.

    Secondly, you should only use Liquid chlorine from this point forward. Continued use of tri-chlor or di-chlor will only have some side effects you don't want.

    Read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry in Pool School and then Read How to Shock your Pool. Those two articles will get you started down the correct path.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, murky, milky water

    Your issue is almost certainly the lack of proper chlorine levels rather than filtration. I suggest you read Pool School, starting with How to Shock your Pool, as shocking is not a one time application of a product but rather a process that can take several days. You need your own test kit, there is an article Pool School that compares the only two that we recommend.

    Welcome to TFP post back if you need clarification on anything.
    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
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Cloudy, murky, milky water

    Both suggestions for pool water treatment were off mark. I have increased my CYA level to 50 and reduced my Ph to 7.4 and super-chlorinated (this time with liquid chlorine) to better than 4. The cloudiness was not affected one whit. Examination of pool residue still indicates DTE. I have disassembled my DTE filter and replaced a manifold that had some small cracks. The filter panels are all OK. My new Taylor 2006 test kit indicated a small phosphorus problem that I also remedied. Absolutely no significant pool chemistry problem remains. Now I can vaguely see the bottom but am having trouble with removing the bottom residue by brushing to the drain. The drain is of the new design that supposedly prevents children from being sucked down and held underwater. The filter doesn't doesn't suck down bottom dirt very well even when I restrict the skimmer intakes.
    I continue with regular pool maintenance and hope that I eventually obtain control. I have tried just about everything I can think of, including writing to this forum. Thank you for your replies to my initial inquiry.

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    dattia's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, murky, milky water

    With a CYA of 50, 4 is your minimum for chlorine. Your target level of chlorine would be 6 and your shock level would be 20. Perhaps you should give sustained shocking another try... many, many cloudy pools have been cleared with this method.
    27' round AG
    Hayward Matrix 1 1/2 HP Pump
    Hayward S210T Sand Filter

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, murky, milky water

    Please read Pool School. You will learn about the CYA/Chlorine relationship and how your "superchlorinate to 4" did virtually nothing to your pool as far as clearing it.

    If you would follow instructions in Pool School for "How to Shock Your Pool" you would realize that the very first comment from the first post in response to your post was to have
    .....continued and CONSTANT use of chlorine is the only way to get rid of algae.
    This appears to still be your main problem.

    Post back with a full set of test results and we can and will walk you thru the process and make your pool a sparkling oasis again.

    We have lots of member here willing and able to help you!

    Welcome to the forum
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    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, murky, milky water

    From what you have said, it looks to me like you haven't used anywhere remotely close to enough chlorine, and the chlorine you have used has been trichlor, which contains CYA, which is constantly raising the FC level you need to achieve to actually shock the pool. From what you said, you have gotten the FC level up to 4, while shock level is around 20, or higher depending on what your CYA level really is.

    The filter pressure should be going up very rapidly, given there is algae in the water (either dead or alive). A typical DE filter needs to be cleaned every few hours, or more often, when recovering from an algae bloom. If the filter pressure is not going up rapidly, I would do a complete take apart and clean out of the filter and look more closely for ways water can be getting past the filter without being filtered.
    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

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Cloudy, murky, milky water

    Quote Originally Posted by Freddel
    Both suggestions for pool water treatment were off mark. I have increased my CYA level to 50 and reduced my Ph to 7.4 and super-chlorinated (this time with liquid chlorine) to better than 4. The cloudiness was not affected one whit. Examination of pool residue still indicates DTE. I have disassembled my DTE filter and replaced a manifold that had some small cracks. The filter panels are all OK. My new Taylor 2006 test kit indicated a small phosphorus problem that I also remedied. Absolutely no significant pool chemistry problem remains. Now I can vaguely see the bottom but am having trouble with removing the bottom residue by brushing to the drain. The drain is of the new design that supposedly prevents children from being sucked down and held underwater. The filter doesn't doesn't suck down bottom dirt very well even when I restrict the skimmer intakes.
    I continue with regular pool maintenance and hope that I eventually obtain control. I have tried just about everything I can think of, including writing to this forum. Thank you for your replies to my initial inquiry.
    "better than 4" is not super-chlorinated. "Absolutely no significant pool chemistry problem remains." tells us absolutely nothing. And the K-2006 doesn't test phosphorous, so we have no idea what you tested instead.

    If you want help clearing the pool [Edit: Butterfly] read "How to shock your pool."
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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