I hardly ever post anymore, only when there's something I think might be useful, although I still browse the forum almost daily. With the swim season beginning, and seeing a lot of posts by new (and sometimes frustrated) people here, maybe this will help to offer a little encouragement.
(Very) Long story follows and I'll preface with this - I've been BBB'ing since a little after this forum was created.
Early last October, I had to leave home for work for a couple months. While the water was a little too cool to swim, it was still warm enough where the pool required daily (or every other day) attention. I knew that my wife, having to deal with her own job, the kids, and everything around the house, simply wouldn't be able to keep up with it. So I made the decision to just let it go for the winter, even knowing what I would be facing this spring.
Fast forward to this spring, March 9th, to be exact. I got tired of looking at the green monster in the backyard. So...opening time! After adding water, this is what I started with. Yes there is a fallen tree behind the pool, which I started cleaning up, and am now procrastinating on finishing.
I knew this was going to take a LOT of bleach! (will get a final count of jugs and a pic tomorrow)
Testing and adding bleach hourly, this is what I had the next day:
The first was taken in the morning, second that evening. Foam! And lots of it. Sometimes an inch or two thick, covering the pool!
I didn't even think to test at first, but with the extreme chlorine consumption and astronomical CC's, I'm pretty sure beneath the foam was a solid 24 foot brick of ammonia! (yes that's a little exaggeration ) The water was far too murky for the CYA test. With no reagent, the dot disappeared well before the 100 mark, so I just used my last test result from last year and adjusted when it cleared up enough to do the test.
Anyways, very little day to day improvement in water appearance. Although I wasn't having to add nearly as much bleach at a time, frustration was beginning to set in. Finally, by the 21st, there was enough improvement to take another pic.
At this point, I'm nowhere near passing the OCLT, and I KNOW it! I'm not even dragging myself out of bed that early to try! So I just keep on trucking. Testing, adding bleach, backwashing, rinse & repeat. 12 days in, some improvement in appearance, and my supply of POP is running low...
Actually at this point I think it was long gone, but I just kept going because if I threw in the towel now, all that money, effort, and bleach would be wasted.
Pic from March 24th. Progress, but slooooowwww progress.
March 31st: I passed the OCLT! Not sparkling water, but I lost 1 ppm FC overnight and CC was .5. Close, but not good enough for me. So I continued to hold it at shock level through that day and the next.
April 2nd: Passed OCLT again - this time .5 ppm FC lost overnight and just the slightest hint of pink for CC, definitely not even .5. Still not good enough.
April 3rd: Passed again, with no overnight FC loss and no CC's! Since this overnight test, barely any FC loss during the day, and still no detectible CC's.
And a pic from today:
As you can see, still not sparkling, not even close. But, (can't tell with the pic) I can see the bottom, and there is finally daily improvement. I'm not saying to stop the shocking process before the water is sparking, and I cannot emphasize this enough - if you're told by the knowledgeable people here to continue shocking, LISTEN TO THEM!
So, with all that being said (and shown) this method works. It's tried and true. There's chemistry to back it up. Longtime BBB'ers can let their pools go and get frustrated with the process too. It happens. You all have no idea how tempting it was sometimes to want to go to the pool store to find something to try. But that doesn't always work, and can sometimes make things worse. BBB works. As long as you have a good test kit (and trust your testing!) and take the advice given here, it will work 100% of the time. The thousands of BBB'ers are a testament to that. Almost a month at shock level, 25 days (I think?) to pass the OCLT...it's a long time. But it does work.
I hope this helps someone out there that may be feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and thinking to themselves "will my pool ever clear up?" It will.
Now, since this has gotten a lot longer than I expected, enjoy your summer everyone!