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Thread: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

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    Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    18 by 36 vinyl with two roman ends so maybe 18 by 44 give or take. swg pool pilot digital 220, mod media cartridge filter.
    ok so over the weekend I had a problem with the pool. on july 27th, pool water was crystal clear, numbers perfect
    that night we had a ton of rainfall in about an hours time. on the 28th the water in deep end was a little cloudy, went and got water tested results below
    current ideal(what chart says on printout)
    cya 90 60-200
    tc .3 1-3
    fc 0 1-3
    ph 7.5 7.4-7.6
    tot alk 171
    adj tot alk 144 80-125
    hardness 288 200-400
    salt 3100

    july 29th pool was still cloudy in deep end and my test showed no chlorine present in pool
    back to pool store for 2nd test on july 30

    cya 80
    tc 0
    fc 0
    ph 7.6
    tot alk 128
    adj tot alk 104
    tot hardness 319
    salt 3200

    still cloudy only in deep end but very slight. i can still see bottom and also see main drain. went to pool store that built pool 7-31-2011( 40 minuttes further than the pool store up block,
    they tested my water with below results
    current rec range
    fc 0 1-3 ppm
    tc 0 1-3ppm
    cc 0 0-0.5
    ph 7.5 7.2-7.8
    hardness 270ppm 200-500ppm
    alk 98ppm 100-140ppm
    cya 74ppm 30-150
    after seeing no chlorine he wanted to test for phosphates the tube turned blue and in printout it said 4000ppb 0-500ppb is that reall parts per billion?? ppb??
    then he checked nitrates vial turned pink put into machine and printout read
    22ppm 0-10ppm

    he said he can treat for phosphates but nothing will take nitrates out except dilluting pool. reccomended drain to 1 foot in shallow end then refill and run filter for 12 hours then drain and refill again then run filter 12 hours and bring sample for testing.
    it was sunday nothing else opened so i took his word(i know dumb) drained and started to refill sunday. today monday finally filled to level at 5 pm started filter its still running. i started to see some algae on sides so called and he said to put in 3gallons of liquid chlorine. got the shock from corner pool place, talked to them they siad there chem company (biogard doesnt believe in phosphates or nitrates) he said i shouldnt have drained. anyway he sold me case of 4 gallons shock because it was cheaper than getting 3 gallons (sale 0n case)and said dont put all in at once, so i put in 2 gallons and he said tomorrwo put in the other two which should help or delay algae growth.. i dont want to drain again( for second time as pool store recommended) i will take sample to 40 minute drive pool store tomorrow. what is your reccomendations here please. i have a family reuniion pool party on sat and need my pool up and running. it took 24 hours to refill the pool and it was 2 and a half hours to drain the pool to 1 foot in the shallow end. i know ill need more salt to add and i guess cya and all other numbers will be off but what now. sorry so long but wanted you to know whole story, oh and he said nitrates couldve come from fertilizer, mulch, sweat bird or duck droppings sweat urine swim suit washed in detergent, makeup, haoir dye etc. even said the fertilizer could of been airborne even miles away. my neighbor reg salt pool no swg does not have problem... hmmmm. PLEASE HELP!!!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    SW Indiana

    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    You are being fed a line. The nitrates and phosphates are irrelevant.

    Your problem is you don't have enough chlorine. Check out the Chlorine CYA Chart Raise your chlorine to shock level (see Shocking Your Pool) and hold it there a few days and you'll be fine.

    Since your results for the CYA test, which should be fairly stable, are varying, you may want to assume 90ppm CYA, meaning you need around 35ppm FC to shock the pool. The only way to accurately test that kind of chlorine level is with the FAS-DPD test.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    i had my swg in boost mode and it wasnt producing any chlorine. I called pool pilot also to see if maybe the cell was bad and he also stated that due to the nitrates no matter wha i did to the swg, even if i juiced it and it was about to explode it wouldnt procuce or it was producing chlorine but it was being eaten up before a reading could be attained he also stated to dillute the pool. theres really no reason for him to sagree with that because theres no benefit in it from him.he wouldnt be making money off me like the pool co would. so now i go back and get the water tested tomoorow ans then i have to get salt and i gueess what ever else it needs to get my cya up and my ph and alk and hardness right and then do the shocking treatment???

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    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    Also where do i get FAS-DPD test from>?

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Houston, Texas

    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    Hi, welcome to TFP. You can get the FAS-DPD test from You are correct that the CYA, salt and other levels will be different now that you have done a partial drain and refill. The nitrates and phosphates are irrelevant in a properly chlorinated pool. Get a current set of test results and post them here. Don't buy anything else from the pool store except liquid chlorine if they have a good sale. Once you post your new test results we will help you determine the shock level for your pool. Read through defeating algae and how to shock your pool for more information on the shock process.

    As for the SWG, they are not designed to shock a pool. SWGs work slowly to provide a consistent amount of chlorine over an extended period of time. They cannot raise the chlorine levels quickly the way a dose of liquid chlorine does. While you are in the shock process, turn off the SWG and save a little wear and tear on the cell. Once the shock process is completed we can help you get the SWG up and running properly.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    filter running for 19 hours straight now. 2 gallons of shock were added at 6 pm last night. i have a 30000 gallon igp.
    i called biogard because i wanted yet another opinion, i know again dumb move but they said about the small amount of algae on the sides, to brush it and if it comes off like flaky or powdery then its mustard algae and i would need banish, but she said first brush down walls then take sample to store and have them check for copper. so i did and went to the store.

    Okay, back from the pool store up the block. here are the readings
    cya 40
    tot cl 7.5
    free cl 5.4
    ph 7.3
    tot alk 98
    adj alk 86
    hardness 237
    salt 1600
    copper o
    iron 0
    quat 0

    they reccomend that i raise the ph, add stabiler and add salt. i didnt ask which order. i am debating taking the sample to the pool place that tested for phosphates and nitrates. just to see what there readings are and what they say and then report back here. let me know what you think so far about what i should do.. i need my pool back my 5 yo and 3 yo are getting antsy plus the fact i ddint sleep last night worrying about this and the fact that the family reunion pool party is this saturday and need to be able to go in the pool by then. Please help!!

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    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Dallas, TX

    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    pH will likely rise on its own. No pool store chemicals needed.
    You do need more stabilizer. What is the "shock" product you are using? It may have stabilizer in it, and will raise the CYA level just by you using it.
    Salt is low, but before you go adding a bunch, make sure you know what your cell's recommended level is.

    Now, if their test results are accurate (doubtful), you have a combined chlorine (CC) of almost 2, which means you need to go through the shock process (this does not mean 'add a bag of shock').
    Here's the info on how to shock your pool.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    The liquid shock gallon that i used says
    omega pool and spa chemicals
    super shock
    It is made by buckmans. it says
    12.5 % sodium hypo chloride
    87.5 % other ingredients

    They tested the cya by crushing a tablet in a test kit ----the square tube one( like the one you test the chlorine in) and then pulled up a white plastic stick that had numbers on the side of it until the black dot on thebottom of the stick i think either appeared or disappeared. i forgot what she told me and then read the number on the stick. they seemed to be pretty accurate. this pool store also told me that i shouldnt have drained the pool and that there chemical company (biogard) doesnt believe the phosphate nitrate stuff. now what. i am leaving now to go to that other(drain the pool) pool store just to check the numbers. i will get the salt there just so i have it on hand. my swg recoomends the level of 2800 -3500 with ideally being at 3200. the "good" if you can call it that showed me a chart that said if my salt level was at 1600 which it read and i want it to go to 3200 then i need to add 400 pounds of salt which is under the 30000 gallon size of my pool on the chart.

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    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Dallas, TX

    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    That is fine to use, it's liquid chlorine. Think really strong Clorox.
    It sounds like you got some good advice from bioguard. It is unusual to get good advice from a pool store!
    Yes, you need salt. Someone was saying they found it at WalMart recently for $4 a pound. It was third-party info, so I can't help you there, but it wasn't long ago.

    My concern is still though the numbers you posted. If your CCs are that high, you are certainly going to have to go through the shock process. You are really going to need a good test kit to go through the process, too. I suggest the full TF100 test kit from
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    okay back from the "bad" pool store, here are the results
    free cl 6.6
    tot cl 6.6
    cc 0.0
    ph 7.8
    hardness 138
    akalinity 104
    cya 31
    copper 0
    iron 0.03
    nitrate 6ppm
    phosphate 300ppb
    salt 1400 ppm

    Okay say they suggested i add 25 pounds of calcium because that low it can corrode metal and said to add 350 pounds of salt. so hers the thing
    why the really different readings?? especially the chlorine. one said free and total were diffent and one said the same. the salt i am guessing can be off, 200ppm is not a big deal to me i will average it out and then check the salt myslef. i do have a test kit that someone on here recommended from i think walmart. its a 6 way test kit that tests tot cl, broimine,ph, tot alk, total hardness and cya. so now i think i will add the salt because there is no need to drain the pool again. or even in the first place so the salt i know i def need. then i guess what would be next.. use my test kit and see whats up?? please let me know. thanks for all the help. oh and the pool store guy said that the biogard people were dumb being that they dont recognize phosphatess or nitrates he even siad that kids can get severe nervous sytem problems just from being in water with high nitratrtes. went on to say that a loccal restaurant even has a sign posted not to drink the tap water due to the pipes being treated with niitrates. that one i will have to pas the store to see. so let me know my next step.. also do i need calcium. at that level i heard it doesnt matter if you have a vinyl pool what the hardness is and i wouldnt need calcium to rais it. thanks again.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Dallas, TX

    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    I wouldn't worry about your hardness given you have a vinyl pool. I'm not even sure how CH is going to affect your metals, wonder where they got that. This CC number is much better than the other, and if accurate does not show any reason for you to shock the pool. It would not hurt to lower the pH a little with some muriatic acid.

    Wow, that's a new one on me, kids can get severe nervous system problems from nitrates in the pool? Someone send Penn and Teller to that store, I think they have a new "BS" show in the works!
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    I cant catch a break, after all the stuff ive been through the last couple of days, i finally finished putting the 350 ppounds of salt in and then hear a whirling noise. I go to look over the fence(6ft) and I see my neighbor is getting his lawn fertilized. I can smell it in my yard now. The wind is miniamal. I sure hope it doesnt get into my pool. I will be really ******. so Now its a wait and see game. the swg company said to run filter for 24 hours after addeing the salt and then retest water.... to get levels in check. my cya was at 31 pool co siad that was fine. swg comany said it should be between 60 and 90.. where should it be???

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Clearwater, FL.

    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    Hi george171, Welcome to TFP!
    As I understand with a salt water pool using a SWG I would follow the SWG chart here:

    I would make sure your close to 60 with your CYA.

    I also would recommend the TF-100 kit with the XL option. (I wanted to test a lot to learn faster about what was going on with my pool).
    I am the boss now! This kit is the best tool I have in my toolbox!
    It will tell you everything about your pool water to get your problems under control and quit using pool store results and advice. (order the salt test kit for your SWG system)

    I now have a perfect pool everyday now and with very little maintenance to keep it this way thanks to this TFP site!

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    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    I just came back from walmart. only store opened for stabilizer. it was hth brand, it was stabilizer and conditioner. It says 96 % cya and 4 % inert ingredients. i am hoping thats fine. let me know. it also said run filter and dont backwash for 48 jours.. does that mean i have to run the filter 48 hours straight or is that for the backwashing. which i dont do because it is a cartridge filter. i poured it slowly into the skimmer like it said. i hope thats right. let me know

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    pepsiholic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Fairmont, WV

    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    That brand of stabilzer is fine. I have never put it in the skimmer, usually use the sock method, but adding it to the skimmer is fine as long as you don't backwash. It is recommended that backwash is not needed anyway unless your pressure rises by about 8 or so.
    24 x 52 Round AG Outback Empire Pool 13,500 gal.
    1 HP Hayward Power-Flo pump w/Hayward 18" 150lb. sand filter
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  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Nitrate Problem. HELP. Drain pool recommended

    filter running all night and pool is reading about 3ppm on chlorine so i am hoping all is well!!! Thanks for all the help.

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