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Thread: Help? Giant Pond That's Supposed to Be a Pool? (Pics Added)

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    WaterWoman's Avatar
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    Help? Giant Pond That's Supposed to Be a Pool? (Pics Added)

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm a true pool newbie here. In every sense of the word.

    We're buying a house with a pool. I've never had a pool before, and wasn't really looking for a pool, but the rest of the property is perfect and the price is right, so--if all goes through as expected--I'm going to become a pool owner very soon.

    This pool comes with problems, though (part of why the price of the house was reduced, I figure). The house has been sitting empty for around a year now, so no one has maintained the pool for at least that long. It's a real mess. We're going to be strapped for cash after all the costs of buying this house, so we can't afford to pay someone to come in and clean this mess up for us. (I wish we could!) But this pool MUST be dealt with ASAP, so we have no choice but to learn what we need to do and do it ourselves as inexpensively as possible.

    All I know right now is that it's an in-ground gunite pool that's approximately 14' x 28', is about 3' deep at one end and maybe 7' deep at the other end. I figure that makes it about a 15,000 gallon pool? There's a pump and filter (I think it's a sand filter), and the plumbing is all intact as far as I've been able to tell. I'm not sure of the brand name of the pump or the HP.

    The water in the pool is the problem. It's terrible. It's green and murky, has a layer of rotting leaves at the bottom AND has been stocked (by the county, according to the neighbor) with mosquito fish. It's closer to a scummy POND than a swimming pool right now. I peeked in at it through the fence this afternoon and, on top of everything else, I'm afraid the fish may be dying since we've had several days over 100 degrees (northern California) and there is no water circulation in there. The water is heating up and I think they are literally cooking in the hot sun. The water looked REALLY scummy, and maybe even had bubbles on the surface, but I couldn't tell for sure.

    OK, so... what do I DO with this mess??? I figure the first step is to get the fish out, then the dead leaves. Scoop the fish and leaves out with nets? Or what? Then what next? Vacuum it? Drain it partially and refill? (It's my understanding that I can't drain a gunite pool completely, right? And to be honest, I don't even know how to go about draining it.)

    After we get all the debris out, would the next step be to somehow clean the walls and bottom of the pool itself? If so, recommendations on how to clean it without draining it would be appreciated.

    Then, finally, I'm thinking we would need to get the water conditioned and balanced. All I know about any of this is what I've researched online since we decided to buy the house. I'm such a newbie! But on the bright side, I'm a fast learner and we're hard workers who are determined to get this done. I'm glad I've found a forum where, hopefully, I can get some help. Thanks for being here!

    ANY advice you folks could give me about how to turn this giant scummy pond back into a swimming pool will be GREATLY appreciated! Is it even possible???
    20,000 gallon in-ground gunite ~ sand filter (62 gpm) w/Vari-Flo valve (75 gpm) ~ 1.0 HP dual-speed pump

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    Congratulations on the house, Welcome to this forum, Good luck with your pool.

    With all the nice people here, I don't think it will take long to get you swimming.

    I'm sure that I speak for everybody, Please take lots of pictures. From the before (fish and gas bubbles and all) throug the clean-up to the sparkling clean water, with you swimming!!!
    12500 AGP 2HP Sand filter
    Five years on BBB & loving it!

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    AnnaK's Avatar
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    Congratulations on the new house, my sympathy on the pool situation, and welcome to TFP! I bet that between all of us here we'll get that pool working in no time.

    I'm kind of a hands-on problem solver, do first, think later. Given that your finances are committed elsewhere right now and a professional solution isn't in the cards at the moment, I'd start scooping. I would call the county extension agent to see if they can offer any guidance as to how to dispose of the slimy smelly mess you'll have what with dead and dying fish and rotting leaves. I'm not sure how I would approach that, I'll have to give it some thought. Maybe bury it in layers of lime?

    After manually cleaning it out as much as possible I'd check the pump and filter, see if they even run. If they do, back wash and rinse the filter. Make sure there's enough water in the pool, it should be halfway up the skimmer opening. If the pump runs, run it 24/7, add lots of bleach (details as to the definition of 'lots of' are available), and brush the bottom and sides even though you can't see them.

    Skimmer socks are available at pool stores but they might not be very useful at this point since the condition of the water will likely overwhelm them. You'll probably have to backwash/rinse very frequently for a while. We can guide you through the backwash/rinse process as well.

    One thing is certain: We'll be here and stick with you throughout this process. Send photos!

    AnnaK
    AnnaK

    12,500 gal AGP, Hayward sand filter, Pentair 2-speed pump, timer.
    Please visit our Pool Issues pages for information about step weights, managing the solar cover, and PoolSkim.

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    ktdave's Avatar
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    Not sure how to handle the fish issue, but JasonLion has provided a article called "Turning Your Green Swamp Back into a Sparking Oasis" and it's located HERE.

    Also, you may have done this already, but make sure you read through the Pool School section.
    11,000 gal. gunite w/midnight blue and white pearl PebbleTec
    Intelliflo 4x160 pump
    Intellichlor IC-20 SWG
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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Hi WaterWoman and Welcome

    The BEST investment we made in our pool is, of course, a good test kit. The fav among most of us is the TF Test kit sold by duraleigh on our site. Link in my sig.

    You have a bit of a job ahead of you, but I think you will be amazed at the transformation!

    Congrats on your new home 'with a pool'. That is exactly how many of us got one!

    Feel free to post any questions. Members are ready to help you every step of the way!
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    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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    Waterwoman,

    Welcome to the forum. There's lots of good help from a lot of dedicated, knowledgeable people.

    Call an extension agent for help with the fish. Rotenone is a common poison for them in ponds and I think it leaves no resisual but I'm not sure.

    The leaves and sticks are best dealt with with a "leaf rake". It's a net but has a rubber blade on the front lip to hold it down to the pool floor and guide the leaves into the net. Leslies has a pretty heavy-duty one for about $25.00, I think.

    As others have said, once the muck and solids are out of the pool, you've got to get your pump and filter in running condition. Hopefully, it will fire right up but let us know if you have any issues with it.

    After that, Jason's sticky entitled, "....green swamp..." is the guide to follow. Buy all the bleach you think you'll need, then buy twice that much!! . It'll surprise you how much it will take.

    Good luck with it and let the forum know if we can help.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Welcome aboard WaterWoman,

    IfI were you, I'll do a complete test of your water to check if the water is suitable to be balanced back to swimming condition. Check for CH, CYA, TDS, Salt (if using SWG) and others which the gurus will assist. No point to filter, add chlorine etc only to find that there are certain things in the water you can only get rid of by draining.
    8,000 gal IG concrete & tiled lap pool, 1/2 hp pump, 24" sand filter, SWG Auto Clean, whole pool under shed, 3 X 2ft waterfall one end overflow the other end. TF100 Testkit. 80 F Water whole year round.

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    If it's a gunite pool, you can empty it completely. If your water is that bad, it might actually be the easiest way to clean it up. Of course, there will be a big water bill to pay after.

    Leslie's, other other places sell submersible pumps, can also find them on ebay. My pump is made by Little Giant. I have a 20,000 gal pool, emptied it a few months ago, took a few days.

    Good luck with your new house, and your pool.
    We didn't want a pool either, but like you, we liked the rest of the house, so we bought it anyway. That was 14 years ago. We now have two girls, who love the pool.

    Randy
    25,000 gal fiberglass pool, Raypak 200k BTU H200FDN gas heater, Pentair CCP520 520 sq ft Cart filter, Max-Flo VS2303VSP pump. iWave wireless remote,

    seperate spa, with own pump, cartridge filter, Hayward H200FDN heater

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    It isn't safe to fully empty even a gunite pool unless you know that the water table is below the bottom of the pool. It is more difficult for a gunite pool to float, but when it does the damage is much more expensive to fix.

    Completely draining the pool won't make the cleanup all that much easier either unless there is a significant accumulation of solids on the bottom of the pool.
    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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    saraiks's Avatar
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    Welcome to TFP.. !!

    Where are you located ? If there is a hepful member nearby who can lookover your equipment to see if it is servicable/working that wold get you started.

    you can always get your water checked at the local poolstore for free but don't buy what they recommend before you consult the experts here
    16,000 G in ground Gunnite (plastered) with attached Spa, Gemini 3 NG Heater, Sta-rite cartridge filter, Aquabot Mark V, TF test kit

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    Congrat's on the house and fish pond.. I just went through what your about to deal with and honestly, it's not that bad..

    I purchased a house last week and it had been empty for about 8 months with the pool cover half in and half out of the pool. It is in the country so it is surrounded by trees. I had about a foot of leaves in the bottom and thought I would have to drain mine also.. ( Don't) you will make a bad problem worse if it floats... Just get a leaf rake and block off about two hours and get to raking. I wouldn't worry about turning on the pump yet. It will just clog your skimmers with leaves for a few days.

    I got my water level to the middle of the skimmers and raked until I couldn't rake anymore.. Then I raked again.. You won't be able to see the bottom or if you got all the leaves for a few days and that's OK. After you put a dent in the leaf problem ( and fish) turn that pump on and see how she works.. If the skimmers start sucking and the vaulves start blowing water then your in business. I would then get your water tested and post your numbers... Leave the pump on 24/7 and clean out the smikkers and filter often. I backwashed mine three times a day for about 5 minutes each time. rinse 20 seconds after each backwash. After you post your numbers.. theses guys will help you with the bleach and any other additives you will need. I would get about 40 bottles of 6% bleach cheap stuff works fine, about .98 per bottle and you will need a lot.

    I had green and black water when I started this project and about 20 frogs, some alive and some dead. One week later I am frog and leaf free and can see the bottom of my pool. The water is a milky green/blue and should be completely clear within in a few days I hope....

    Listen to these guy's they know what there talking about and will save you a lot of money....

    Best of luck..,
    Clayton
    30k vinyl liner pool, Hayward pro series high rate sand filter, 1.5 pump motor

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    It isn't safe to fully empty even a gunite pool unless you know that the water table is below the bottom of the pool. It is more difficult for a gunite pool to float, but when it does the damage is much more expensive to fix.

    Completely draining the pool won't make the cleanup all that much easier either unless there is a significant accumulation of solids on the bottom of the pool.
    Oops

    I thought it was just for vinyl and fiberglass pools.

    Randy
    25,000 gal fiberglass pool, Raypak 200k BTU H200FDN gas heater, Pentair CCP520 520 sq ft Cart filter, Max-Flo VS2303VSP pump. iWave wireless remote,

    seperate spa, with own pump, cartridge filter, Hayward H200FDN heater

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    You may want to contact the county and see if they will take their mosquito fish back. They frequently are happy to do so and put them in another abandoned pool. They will probably want you to catch them alive, but you'll have to remove them from the pool one way or another. The best way to keep them is to get a cooler and fill it with water from the pool before you add any chemicals to the pool. Use a pool leaf rake (net) to catch the fish and put them in the cooler. Keep them there until someone from the county comes out to collect. Most likely they will come with their own cooler to transport them.

    If you follow the instructions in the stickies, you'll have a blue oasis in under two weeks. Cost for the chemicals shouldn't be too bad, but you will be putting in significant time and energy.

    Good luck and post photos. We love photos here.
    11x27 in ground, vinyl pool
    ~12,500 gal
    PAC FAB (Pentair) Pinnacle 3/4 hp pump
    Pentair 24 sq ft DE filter
    One skimmer, one return (no main drain)

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    WaterWoman's Avatar
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    Wow. Thanks for all the great advice! I'm feeling better about this already.

    I will get pix and more info to post on the pump and filter as soon as I can. Right now, we're waiting for the closing date to get here. (Anxiously!)

    Oh, and saraiks, we're in the Sacto area. It would be great if there were a member nearby who was willing to give us some in-person advice. Thanks for suggesting the idea.

    You guys are great. I am in your debt already. You've relieved one of my major concerns about buying the house already.
    20,000 gallon in-ground gunite ~ sand filter (62 gpm) w/Vari-Flo valve (75 gpm) ~ 1.0 HP dual-speed pump

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    new swamo

    Welcome to the group, these folks are great. But can someone please tell me what "mosquito fish" are? Are they something you can grill or eat? Or are they like goldfish? Maybe a regional thing? Thanks, Kimrst in Michigan
    5 years 18' Intex Frame pool, July 2009 upgrade, 28ft rnd used Doughboy, 1hs Hayward Power Flow pump, Doughboy DE filter.TF test kit

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    WaterWoman's Avatar
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    Re: new swamo

    Quote Originally Posted by kimrst
    Welcome to the group, these folks are great. But can someone please tell me what "mosquito fish" are? Are they something you can grill or eat? Or are they like goldfish? Maybe a regional thing? Thanks, Kimrst in Michigan
    Thanks. And yes, these are really great people here.

    Mosquito fish are a relative of the common guppy you might buy at an aquarium store. They're way too small to eat. They eat mosquito larvae and are used as a natural control for mosquitoes in many areas. That's why they were put into my new pool. Here's a link to a page at the L.A. County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District about these little finny critters:

    http://www.lawestvector.org/MosquitoFish.htm
    20,000 gallon in-ground gunite ~ sand filter (62 gpm) w/Vari-Flo valve (75 gpm) ~ 1.0 HP dual-speed pump

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    WaterWoman's Avatar
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    OK... I talked with the head guy at the fishery for the Mosquito & Vector Control District. He said they will most likely come get the mosquito fish if there are enough still alive to warrant it, and that I should add some water to cool it off a little and keep them alive for him. He said it's just incredible the number of abandoned pools in the area they've had to stock with fish this year. They're actually getting low on fish and could use them to replenish their stock. He gave me his personal work#, said to call him when we're ready, and he'll come check it out to see if there are enough fish to send guys out to get them. If not, he'll tell us what we should do with them. Thanks for the advice on doing this, you guys!

    I went over there to add water (just ran a garden hose over and ran it for a few hours), and wrote down everything I could read about the pump and filtration system. I don't know what any of this means, so am hoping you guys will. It looks like the system was installed by Leslie's.

    1) Hayward Vari-Flo Valve
    Model: SP 710 X62
    Rated Pressure: 50 P.S.I.
    Rated Flow: 75 G.P.M.

    2) Hayward Pool Products (looks like the pump?)
    can't read the model #--too faded--will take a magnifying glass tomorrow and see if I can get a better look

    3) Magnetek Century Centurion (motor?)
    Model: SP 1610 Z 1 BEP
    HP: 1.0
    1081 Pool Pump Duty

    4) Leslie's Stay Clear Sand Filter
    Manufactured for Leslie's by Hayward
    Model: S LE 42084
    Filtration Rate: 20 G.P.M/fl.
    Media Required: .45MM-.55MM Filter Sand
    Amount: 300 lbs.

    There's also what looks like a chlorine dispenser under the decking at the edge of the pool, but I couldn't tell much about it, except that it's blue and white plastic.

    That's all I know right now...
    20,000 gallon in-ground gunite ~ sand filter (62 gpm) w/Vari-Flo valve (75 gpm) ~ 1.0 HP dual-speed pump

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    WaterWoman, take some pics and post of things that you doesn't know or without identification tag. Others on the forum may identify and advice.
    8,000 gal IG concrete & tiled lap pool, 1/2 hp pump, 24" sand filter, SWG Auto Clean, whole pool under shed, 3 X 2ft waterfall one end overflow the other end. TF100 Testkit. 80 F Water whole year round.

  19. Back To Top    #19
    saraiks's Avatar
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    Waterwoman.. I PM'd you some local resource info..
    16,000 G in ground Gunnite (plastered) with attached Spa, Gemini 3 NG Heater, Sta-rite cartridge filter, Aquabot Mark V, TF test kit

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    WaterWoman's Avatar
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    Got it. Thanks, saraiks!

    Quote Originally Posted by saraiks
    Waterwoman.. I PM'd you some local resource info..
    20,000 gallon in-ground gunite ~ sand filter (62 gpm) w/Vari-Flo valve (75 gpm) ~ 1.0 HP dual-speed pump

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