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Thread: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

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    Sunny Blues's Avatar
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    Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    I'm a newbie to BBB but already a permanent believer. I'm almost at all my target levels for BBB, but am having problems with one last kink: getting a 0 CC reading (or <= .5) I've achieved a 60-80 ppm CYA, a lower (for the first time) TA level, and borates = 50. As far as learning how to maintain the absence of CC and the correct FC levels, I can't "try" that at all because I've never been able to get below 1.0ppm CC no matter how high I shock my pool. It has me scared that it will always be this hard to get CC back to 0 every time it rises above 1.0 or 1.5 again and it's necessary to shock.

    I've been working on this "kink" in the process since May 3rd with some coaching from other BBB supporters. Each evening the past 23 days, I've tried to reach shock levels of 28 ppm by putting anywhere from 1-5 gallons of 12.5% bleach into the pool (based on the poolcalculator's results,) but my FC has never tested over 16.5...... until this weekend. Yesterday from 7 am until 10 pm, I stayed on it and put a total of 12 gallons in (2-3 at a time after each reading based on calculator) and I am currently at 26 ppm FC. But....I still have that 2.5-3.0 CC as well!!!

    arruuugghhhh!

    I'm reaching defeat. There are more hours my kids can't swim then when they can because of the constant shocking and higher FC levels (and because it was explained to me that CC levels => 1.5 can create irritations to the swimmer's eyes, etc.,) so I've been limiting the amount of time in the pool. Three weeks ago, I thought my pool would be ready by Memorial Day weekend if I stayed on it and kept at it; all this would be worth it because once we reached it the maintenance would be easier. Well, here we are, and my readings are still basically the same and we still can't swim.

    Can anyone spend some time helping me? Thanks.
    :) 32x16 In Ground 18K vinyl; Hayward S244T sand filter; Hayward H250IDL2 Heater; Hayward .75HP Super Pump; Booster Pump 5060 & Viper; Hayward CL200 feeder

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    Re: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    Can you post a set of current test results and tell us what your water looks like?
    Dave S.
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    There are two possibilities that come to mind. The more likely is that you had some ammonia in the water when you opened for the season and are just starting to get over it. The second, less likely, is you are using one of the chemicals that registers as CC on the test even though it is not CC.

    Have you done an overnight FC loss test to see how much chlorine you are losing overnight? If you were/are losing chlorine rapidly overnight, that would be ammonia. If FC levels were fairly stable overnight but the CC simply won't go away, then test interference from non-chlorine shock or some mistake in testing is more likely.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Sunny Blues's Avatar
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    Re: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    yes, yes and yes.
    • * I did (and probably still do) have an ammonia problem after the pool was opened - more below.
      * As of today, our water is so VERY pretty, you could read a book that was lying at the bottom of the deep end if one were there! It's clean, fresh and sparkles. It has been this same way since about May 7th.
      * We have been doing overnight FC loss tests every single night since May 16th.
      * Current test results are highlighted in blue below.


    Ammonia problem: didn't know it until a week later when I discovered BBB and I sought out help on another forum. They were wonderful and helped me to lower my 250+ alkalinity, to get rid of my cloudy water, and to begin the process of becoming a BBB pool owner by getting my CYA up to levels of 50-70 and considering borates. I'm stuck on the last step (I believe it's the last step?)

    Water condition: Pool water was cloudy, but a bright clean blue, as of April 18th. The cloudiness cleared as of May 1st and it has been crystal clear ever since. There has never been any visible algae or any odd smells. It was behaving like all previous years where we would have just began to use the OTO test kit to keep our chlorine between 1.5 and 3.0 and our pH at 7.6, started swimming and added the Bioguard chemicals as needed.

    We began aerating on May 9th to lower our 250+ alkalinity. Our pH was kept at 7.0 and our TA was 130 as of May 13th. It has slid slowly between 96 to 150, back and forth since then, because we were raising our pH and trying to maintain 7.8 to get rid of the CC. We had difficulty with the FAS-DPD test kit when trying to get correct readings for FC and CC but have been unsuccessful in getting help with that.

    Overnight FC Testing: all are well documented. There were several times the FC loss was 0 to < 1.0 ppm, but the CC was always nearly the same. And there were several nights where there was a loss of 2-5 ppm FC. I had one reading on May 20th, 1 hour after "shocking" at 9pm, where the CC read as lower than .5ppm and the FC was 14-15. We went to bed hopeful and in the morning, the FC was 11.5 or 13.5 and the CC was either 1.5 or 2.5, (10ml vs 25ml results.)

    Rather than displaying an exhaustive list of readings for the month of May, I do have a .jpg image link (http://www.flickr.com/photos/50351313@N03/7260036226/) where you can see the readings and chemical additions charted from 5/8 through 5/23 only. Our last set of test results are highlighted in blue below.
    As for the past 2 days the constants were: ---CH 400? ---CYA 70-80, --- Borates 40 but now 50
    The variables:
    5/24
    9:45pm --FC 4.0 --CC 1.5 --pH 7.6 --TA 133 --Added 4 gallons 12.5% and 1 full box Borax
    5/25
    7:15 am --FC .5 --CC 1.5 --pH 7.4 --TA 104
    7:40 am Added 3 gallons 12.5% and 1/2 box Borax
    11:20 am --FC 4.5 --CC 4.0 --pH 7.6 --TA 126
    11:30 am Added 3 gallons 12.5% and remaining 1/2 box Borax
    3:05 pm --FC 6.5-7.0 --CC 3.0-3.5 --pH 7.6 --TA 148 --Borates 50! yay
    -Added 2 gallons 12.5%
    3:30 pm Added 2 lbs 10 oz. Borax
    4:30 pm --FC 17.5 --CC 3.5
    6:00 pm --FC 11.0 --CC 3.5
    10:00 pm --FC 5.0 --CC 3.0 --pH 7.6
    10:30 Added 4 gallons 12.5% and 1 full box Borax
    Today 5/26
    8:00 am --FC 18 --CC 3.0 --pH 8/8.2? --TA 175 --Added 1 1/2 gallons 12.5%
    10:30 am --FC 25 --CC 2.5
    10:30 am 4 gallon Bucket Test with 1/2 tsp 12.5% bleach added: ---FC 56? --CC 3.0 (our FC was 25 already....)
    1:30 pm --FC 26 --CC 2.5 or 3.0 --pH of the charts >8.2 --CYA 80 --TA 171 --CH 400? --borates 50
    1:30 pm retested same water still in bucket after sitting since 10:30 am --FC 45 --CC 2.5

    Please accept my sincere apologies if this reply is too long. I'm trying to get better at being short and precise (it takes me hours to edit my posts down before posting...) and this current problem is so detailed since it involves difficulties with the FAS-DPD testing and a 4 week history.
    Thank you so much for both of your quick replies.
    :) 32x16 In Ground 18K vinyl; Hayward S244T sand filter; Hayward H250IDL2 Heater; Hayward .75HP Super Pump; Booster Pump 5060 & Viper; Hayward CL200 feeder

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    Detail is good

    The higher CYA level you have now is slowing down the process some, but otherwise this all seems fairly normal for ammonia. From the look of things you have broken down most/or all of the ammonia, but still have some of the longer lived partial breakdown products in the water. Continued high FC levels plus lots of direct sunlight on the water will continue to break down the CC, but it may take a little while yet.

    From what I have heard from other people with similar results, the kind of CC (CC comes in several forms) that you are likely to have at this point tend to be the non-irritating kind. So swimming should be alright any time FC is below shock level.

    Your PH is a bit high right now, though that is secondary to everything else that is happening. Remember that FC above 10 can interfere with the PH test, so wait till FC comes down a bit before adjusting this.
    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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    Sunny Blues's Avatar
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    Re: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    That's great news and something I needed to hear.
    The higher CYA level you have now is slowing down the process some,
    My CYA gradually rose from 0 all the way to 88 after using dichlor prior to May 9th. It was in the 100s from 5/13 thru 5/17. Then suddenly the next day it was 70, yet there wasn't any heavy swimming and we hadn't back-washed a large amount out for that kind of drop. What caused that?
    .... Continued high FC levels plus lots of direct sunlight on the water will continue to break down the CC, but it may take a little while yet
    Do I have to keep shocking around the clock?
    If not, do I have to each evening?
    It's been pretty expensive in that I've gone through 74 1/2 gallons of bleach since May 8th alone. That's cost over $200.00 already. If that's just what it takes to kill ammonia, so be it. But if I've wasted a lot of it by not shocking at high enough levels to get to the end sooner, than I don't want to keep doing that. It defeats the purpose of why I switched to BBB.
    ...but otherwise this all seems fairly normal for ammonia. From the look of things you have broken down most/or all of the ammonia, but still have some of the longer lived partial breakdown products in the water.
    So I haven't wasted chlorine? This is truly just how long and how much it takes? I was shocking, got as high as 16.5 and the average was usually 11 or 12 FC. I was having problems using the FAS-DPD test kit when trying to know my FC and CC (sort of still am.) I could have been doing it wrong and been using wrong CC and FC numbers, thereby feeding wrong info into the pool calculator. That would be wasting chlorine, right?

    Oh, and your thread on doing all the tests was AWESOME!! Most all of my questions and anxieties with each test that I ran into was directly referenced and advised in that thread; and I ran into every abnormal result out there that was mentioned. I combed the internet and forums and called companies trying to find answers to each of those kinks in the process. And all along every one of them was in a tidy, neat thread on your forum. I feel more confident knowing my results now and what to do in those situations. Thank you VERY much for that.

    I only have one confusion left: You swirl on the chlorine test after each drop until you get clear - actual clear, not blush. Your methods made a point of that. I was having problems with un-ending returning to blush and started waiting until it held for at least 20 - 30 seconds before considering it my endpoint. However, another knowledgeable BBB person wondered if maybe my CC was turning into FC before the 2nd part's reagent was added and therefore my CC would have been much higher than what I thought it was. When he asked me to do the bucket test, he told me to stop counting the first time it went clear. So even if it went clear and 1.5 seconds later returned to pink, I would have had to stop. But that would contradict TFP's chlorine testing description. I'm still so confused at what point the return to pink, blush, or hazy yellowy-blush is still original FC and at what point I ignore any returning color and still add the reagent for the CC portion of the test.

    Let's see, I have a total of 4 separate questions in this reply and they are focused in opposite directions.
    :) 32x16 In Ground 18K vinyl; Hayward S244T sand filter; Hayward H250IDL2 Heater; Hayward .75HP Super Pump; Booster Pump 5060 & Viper; Hayward CL200 feeder

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    The FAS-DPD test is a little tricky to do correctly when the CC level is very high. CC can "bleed" through into the FC portion of the test if you don't move along quickly enough. Your approach of stopping when it goes clear for 1.5 seconds will work if you are mixing it throughly enough during that period, but can give false indications if you aren't mixing enough. Certainly 5 seconds is long enough, and 1.5 seconds can be long enough if you are mixing well. Anyway, my real point is that you need to do the whole test fairly quickly, ideally one or two drops per second and keep moving right along, only slowing down when the solution starts to get close to clear. When CC is near zero and FC isn't too high, this isn't a big deal, but high CC makes it much more important.
    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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    Re: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    You've got something in the water that sounds like it bleeds through to measure as FC if you wait too long and measures as CC otherwise (I wrote this as Jason was posting so repeats what he is saying). It's not ammonia, per se, since those by-products oxidize fairly quickly in hours. It could be some breakdown product of CYA if bacteria only partially converted it towards ammonia. Or it could be something else, perhaps some by-products from the earlier products you used to use. Or it could even be urea buildup. Since it mostly measures as CC rather than FC in the FAS-DPD test, we know this isn't non-chlorine shock since that only measures as CC in the DPD test but measures as FC in the FAS-DPD test.

    If you don't notice any bad smell, then the CC is probably not anything to be concerned about, though it's clearly annoying since it's so unusual and isn't what we normally strive for since the testing doesn't distinguish between "bad CC" and "OK CC".

    Normally, persistent CC is more typically seen in indoor pools since they are not exposed to sunlight. If your outdoor pool has a pool cover that is dark or mostly opaque, then I suggest you open it up to let sunlight on the pool since the UV in sunlight creates hydroxyl radicals from chlorine and these are very powerful oxidizers that might get rid of whatever is registering as CC.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Sunny Blues's Avatar
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    Re: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    Thanks you guys.

    I have no pool cover and our pool is on the south side of our house, Chicago western burbs, so it gets sun all day long.

    I don't notice any smells but my husband says he can smell chlorine, but it smells like cleaning, and my daughter thinks it smells really bad. "like what?" I ask. "like bleach!" she answers. I think bleach smells "clean" (and after over 70 bottles in two weeks, I should be smelling it,) but there is a bad bleach smell like the kind in an Embassy Suites hotel where you can't see 1" into the water which practically has fumes coming off of it and it's an icky chlorine smell. If ours does smell like bleach, it most definitely is the clean smell. I usually pick up stink a mile away before my husband can and I don't smell anything.

    Thank you Jason for confirming the FAS-DPD chlorine test - That really helps!
    :) 32x16 In Ground 18K vinyl; Hayward S244T sand filter; Hayward H250IDL2 Heater; Hayward .75HP Super Pump; Booster Pump 5060 & Viper; Hayward CL200 feeder

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    Re: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    The bleach smell you are referring to is only during this shocking, right? When the FC level is much lower at less than 10% of the CYA level you don't notice as much smell, right? It sounds to me like maybe this isn't something worth trying to correct, at least not by shocking, since it doesn't seem to be working and you don't have any other symptoms like overnight chlorine loss, dull/cloudy water, or bad smell.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Need help getting rid of CC and maintaining shock level

    Hi, are you still seeing a drop in your CYA levels? Have you tested for ammonia lately?
    TFP Moderator
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