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Thread: Pool water staying swampy?

  1. #1
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    Pool water staying swampy?

    We are trying to clean our pool which hasn't been opened in two seasons.

    We are near Philadelphia, PA.
    Pool is concrete and it had a solid cover on it and was correctly winterized.
    Filter is the type that takes DE.
    Pool is open and pump going - we are backwashing twice daily as pressure builds.
    Estimating 20 - 26,000 gallons.

    We got all the debris off the cover before removing and scooped most of the debris from the bottom (although we still can't see what is left).

    We added 20 lbs of Aqua Chem shock over several days and still weren't getting a chlorine reading (although the frogs moved out!).
    Chlorine tablets floating in a dispenser. Still no chlorine reading.

    Yesterday added 5 gallons of sodium hypochlorite 12% in liquid form and now have a chlorine reading.

    Today we had the pool water tested and got the following results:

    Free Chlorine: 0.4 ppm
    Total Chlorine: 4.62
    Combined chlorine: 4.22
    PH: 7.1
    Hardness: 152 ppm
    Alkalinity: 100 ppm
    Cyanuric Acid: 30 ppm
    Copper: 0.2 ppm
    Iron: 0 ppm
    PHOS: 500
    Nitrates: 12

    We have been getting help from an awesome and very knowledgeable guy, but wondered if anyone had any more ideas as to why the pool is staying murkey?

    Pool store is recommending:

    8oz Les Iron
    1 lb PH up
    wait 24 hours and add 2lbs shock.

  2. #2
    Senior Member techguy's Avatar
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    You will find the people will recommend you solve this problem mostly through the use of liquid chlorine (aka bleach). The Pool School will educate you as to the reasons and methods proposed here.

    You need to shock your pool. When I say "shock" I am not talking about a product from a bag or bottle, I am talking about a carefully managed process that will take from 1-14 days in most cases. It will also take several gallon of bleach or liquid chlorine. You test, assuming they are accurate, indicate you have a very high CC level and very low level of FC. FC is the chlorine available to kill the algae and other organics in your pool that are making it green and murky.

    So, if you want to clean the water in this pool, read the Pool School and focus on getting your pool to the shock level of FC (based on your CYA level) and keeping it there until the CC is less than 0.5, the pool doesn't lose FC overnight and the water is clear. This is called the OCLT and it is described in the school.

    Another option, assuming your water is inexpensive and not full or metals, is a partial drain and fill but that decision needs to take other factors in the decision process, including you local water table and your pool surface and the age of the pool.

    A last suggestion, ignore the stores recommendations and stop going to the pool store and order an accurate test kit. Take control of your pool and watch it get clean. Most stores focus on what product they can sell you to solve your problems, not solving the source of your problems.

    Posting your test results here will allow someone to help you make accurate decisions about what you need to do.
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

  3. #3
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Draining and refilling the pool was what the pool stores recommended. Total cost approx $2500. We were hoping to avoid that.

    We have the pool testing kit.... and it's intimidating. We've used it for basics, but I don't think it has the test for nitrates at all.

    We will try and do a full test using the kit, but it feels like you need a math degree to do it and that's not my strong point! Even the sticky guide above is kind of confusing. We will try it though.

    Why would the test results not be accurate out of interest?

  4. #4
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Nitrates do not matter. Phosphates do not matter.

    What test kit do you have? We really only recommend 2 kits (see my signature). The key is the FAS-DPD chlorine test.

    Following the info here and gaining understanding of you pool will ultimately allow you to save yourself some money on maintaining a crystal clear pool.

    What test are you struggling with? pH you match the color (no math). CYA you add until the dot disappears (no math). The rest you count drops until the color changes (math ... but really just counting)
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, Dolphin Diagnostic Robotic Cleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Gone: Hayward RS1500 pump, undersized DIY solar heater, Dolphin Dynamic Robotic Cleaner
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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  5. #5
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    We have the T100 test kit (I've been lurking).

    Just got confused reading the sticky directions! I guess we just have to jump in and give it a go.

  6. #6
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Often it becomes easier to understand when you actually get hands on. Reading to add this and that and then do this and count that ... can sound kind of crazy if you are not actually doing it. You just follow the instructions and it is really not so bad.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, Dolphin Diagnostic Robotic Cleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Gone: Hayward RS1500 pump, undersized DIY solar heater, Dolphin Dynamic Robotic Cleaner
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

  7. #7
    Senior Member harleysilo's Avatar
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Tech guys post is the best initial response I've read, follow it and you won't be dissapointed. I'm copying it as I speak to paste in the future.....
    18'x43' Sport Pool
    19,000 Gallons Vinyl Liner 3'-3.5'-4'
    SWCG and D.E. Filter
    Test Kits - Pool Calculator - Chlorine/CYA Chart - Pool School

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  8. #8
    Senior Member techguy's Avatar
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    Tech guys post is the best initial response I've read, follow it and you won't be dissapointed. I'm copying it as I speak to paste in the future.....
    Wow.. I am stunned. I have only be frequenting this forum for about a month but this place has great knowledge. We tend to forget what we know and that we didn't know it when we started coming here. It's as much about knowing what you don't know so you can go find the answers. It all becomes so second nature. I fought with my pool and high CYA for years. I tried to do it on my own and every year...swamp at the end of the season.

    This year... using ONLY the BBB tools... Happy kid... happy dog...happy wife, happy life.

    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

  9. #9
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frogpool
    We added 20 lbs of Aqua Chem shock over several days and still weren't getting a chlorine reading (although the frogs moved out!).
    Chlorine tablets floating in a dispenser. Still no chlorine reading.
    Please, do not add any more bags of shock. I know of three kinds of Aqua Chem Shock and all three add CYA to your pool. You only need a certain amount of CYA and once it gets over a certain level, problems arise and the amount of Chlorine needed to shock becomes greater. Do you know what kind of shock it was?

    There's Aqua Chem Shock Plus. It is Dichlor.
    There's Aqua Chem Shock Xtra Blue. It is Diclor with algaecide, buffer, clarifier and flocculant.
    There's Aqua Chem Shock. It is Trichlor.

    From now on it should be liquid Chlorine only. You should stock up on that 12% Chlorine. I would stockpile at least four of those 5 gallon jugs. They won't go to waste. Once you have enough liquid Chlorine on hand, you can start the shock process.

    Oh yeah--one more thing--no more bags of shock.
    Bill
    18'X4' 7600 Gal AG
    3/4 HP Pentair Pump
    Hayward S166T 100 lb sand filter

  10. #10
    Senior Member dattia's Avatar
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    I found that reading about testing was very intimidating... but the actual testing was not at all. Get your water sample, sit down with your kit and just follow the instructions printed on the inside of the lid. If you take each section one at a time, and perhaps read it twice while looking at your components... piece of cake!
    27' round AG
    Hayward Matrix 1 1/2 HP Pump
    Hayward S210T Sand Filter

  11. #11
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    "You should stock up on that 12% Chlorine. I would stockpile at least four of those 5 gallon jugs. They won't go to waste."

    This is what I need --- but I have no clue where to find it. Using 10% that I got at Walmart, but need to go back and get more - if they still have any.

  12. #12
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    I'm back - sorry for the gap in posting.

    The shock bags we used were the Aqua Chem Ultra Blue type. We haven't put any of those in for a week plus.

    Yesterday we added 15 gallons of liquid sodium hypochloride and another 15 gallons today.

    There is still stuff on the bottom of the pool. Every time we add, leaves float to the surface. I scooped the bottom again and came up with another 5 dead frogs.

    Still backwashing twice daily and clearing the skimmers regularly (while I'm home), otherwise twice daily.

    Pump is running 24 hours.

    Still finding the testing kit very intimidating, but going to sit down and give it a try tomorrow.

    So frustrated, trying to follow advice which all varies depending on who you speak to.

    The color is marginally better and you can see the bottom of the hot tub now (kind of), but it's still a mess.

  13. #13
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Yikes how strong was the chlorine? That seems like a lot if you added it all at once.

    What FC level were you targeting?

    Posted with Tapatalk ... sorry if I sound short ... hate typing on phone
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, Dolphin Diagnostic Robotic Cleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Gone: Hayward RS1500 pump, undersized DIY solar heater, Dolphin Dynamic Robotic Cleaner
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

  14. #14
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    So frustrated, trying to follow advice which all varies depending on who you speak to.
    What other advice are you following? It is VERY difficult to follow two or three sets of instructions and get results. You should commit to following the advice given here or the advice somewhere else but trying to blend them almost always results in failure.
    Dave S.
    Site Owner 42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter, No SWG
    TFTestkits owner
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  15. #15
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Frog, I have walked in your moccasins recently with a foreclosed pool.
    Those leaves are going to slow you down and eat your chlorine. I bought a $20 leaf gulper that uses a garden hose for pressure - it did a good job to collect up everything left after we "thought" we had leaf raked up everything -- eg another 3 wheel barrows full!

    Also, I noticed in your original post you're unsure of your # of gallons -- any chance you could call the original installer and find out, or otherwise measure her up? (I called original installer.) the reason for this is that you will want to KNOW exactly how much to add when you get to a place where you can balance the water -- instead of flying blind when you make additions.

    That way you can accurately use the pool calculator.

    The thing about the shocking process that I had to learn is that if at any time you drop below shock value, you are actually going to spin your wheels and move backwards and protract the entire affair -- even though you're still burning through boatloads of chlorine. It is not cost-effective, so it's better to make the dedicated effort to maintain that high shock level until you pass the overnight test.

    You will have a handle on the testing in short order -- it's easy once you do it a few times.

    If you add you pool specs to your signature, it will also help us guide you.

    If I were in your shoes today and wanted to be swimming next week or the week after, I would do the following:
    1. Use leaf gulper to get up any and all organic material today -- I know it's hard working blind.
    2. Measure pool, calculate gallons, use mustard shock values and maintain -- doesn't matter whether you're using the unscented 6% bleach from aldis or the 12% you get at the pool store -- you've just got to get it reading at shock vale (this info is in pool school).
    3. Use test kit during above and post your results. We will watch for it and offer guidance if needed.
    4. At this point, do not add anything except bleach; do not tinker with TA or try to raise ph -- the ph will not read correctly when you're shocking
    5. Filter 24/7, backwashing when pressure is 20% above normal values. I have a sand filter -- maybe someone else can offer tips about de and cleaning cartridges during process.

    Let us know how you're doing! Trust me, it gets better. The proof is in the pool, and that's my next stop this am
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme

  16. #16
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Btw, here's the link to shock value -- I'd go a bit higher, because cya test at pool store is generally inaccurate, and you've previously used both pucks and bagged shock, both of which have high cya values that will eventually show up, but possibly not yet.
    So at 30 ppm cya, shock value is 12 FC, but I'd go 16 FC, for example.
    pool-school/chlorine_cya_chart_shock
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme

  17. #17
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Ok, did the tests.

    FC 4ppm
    CC 1ppm
    TC 5 ppm

    TA: 110 (but dark pink not red - carried on adding drops and never deepened more in color at all).

    CYA: Could see the black dot all the way at the top of the tube (just above 20)... but only just. Very cloudy at that point.

    Also worth mentioning - we are backwashing twice daily and clearing the skimmers. For a while after that the water in the pool has a lot of movement. Then it really stagnates again.

  18. #18

    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Also I tried to get the exact gallons from the pool store that built the pool, but without knowing the exact year it was built we had no luck.

    The pool is free form with varying depths (deep end has a diving board) - how would one know how to measure it to calculate the actual gallons?
    660k Plaster Indoor

  19. #19
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Keep after that solid debris in the pool. Try to imagine how much bleach it takes to make a dead frog liquify.....
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  20. #20
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    Re: Pool water staying swampy?

    Hoboken and frog, are you one in the same poster?

    Hoboken, I'm not great at math, but it is possible to use the dimensions to break it down and come up with a total volume.
    Failing that, if your water is mow stable and cleared (meaning you're not frog pool) if you add I gal of 6% bleach and read how many ppm difference it makes, you can work backwards. Eg my pool is 22,000 gallons (which is what grecians my size are) and 1 gallon raises FC by 2 ppm.
    So if 1 gallon raised yours 1 ppm, then yours would e about 40k gal. Your pool, if I recall, looked pretty large from pics, plus spa and waterfall area. Mine, being Grecian, has sloping sides, which makes for fewer gallons despite the 9' deep diving well. I'm thinking you might get close if you first measured l x w, then appotioned the depth (eg 30% at 8', 30% average of 4-8 slope, 30% at shallow depth -- or however it actually looks to you proportionately.) then assume that figure and test re ppm once clear to confirm. Repeated stable results will "prove" your gallonage over time.

    Frog pool, if you're a different poster -- you'll want to get that FC up to shock level to make progress. Overshooting a little won't hurt; undershooting is pointless, because it will not clear until shock level is reached and maintained.

    The reason it must be maintained is because especially in this heat, algae will grow faster than the chlorine can kill it at anything less than full shock value. It will keep outrunning you, and you will end up in a protracted cycle.

    Getting the debris out will also allow the chlorine to do it's job. Not getting the debris out simply allows a bunch of dead leaves and frogs to eat your chlorine, which will make the algae very happy and swimmers very sad....
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme

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