Hi All. I have a 15,000gal inground, pebble tech, pool with attached spa. The house is 32 years old but not sure age of pool. It was resurfaced 10 years ago before we purchased the home in 2007.
4 years ago, I noticed an area of grass was slightly mushy all the time (see "A" on photo 1). I figured it was just settling sprinkler water at the low point of our lawn. When I shut off the main irrigation valve for a week however, the wetness didn't go away, so I dug up the grass. What I found is in photo 2 - a broken off 1" PVC pipe extruding from under the concrete. It was dripping water once per minute. At the time, the pool water level seemed fine, and I couldn't see a correlation between the 1" pipe and pool. I buried the mysterious pipe back up again and figured I would solve it later.
Life got busy, and it wasn't until 6 months ago that I noticed dampness in the seem between the edge of the pool deck and outer concrete pad (see "B" on photo 1). A month later, the dampness began to grow, and a shallow puddle appeared 24/7.
During the last 2-3 months, I've run the pump probably only a couple times a week (there's an unrelated reason behind this). A couple weeks ago I started to notice that the water level in the pool was dropping. The bucket test revealed about 1" every 2 days.
It's confirmed that it drops when the pump is not running regularly - and perhaps leaking more the less it runs(?). Also, the spa drops at the same rate as the pool. I've attempted to block inlets/outlets with rubber balls as plugs, but I have not plugged the drain in the pool or spa (Not sure how to determine the type of plugs I need). The concrete under the actual puddle has that kind of 'hallow' sound when you stomp on it.
My questions are: Do I need to still plug the drains if the leak occurs with the pump off, i.e. assume the leak is not on the suction side? Also, is there any way that the mysterious 1" pipe I uncovered, is related to the pool plumbing somehow? What should be my next steps? e.g. do I still need to figure out how to plug every plumbing port properly first?
Thanks for insight/suggestions/questions to help me troubleshoot!