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Thread: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

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    Modawg2k's Avatar
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    Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    In a nutshell: 3 years ago my pool was built by a horrible all-in-one contractor. I took them to my state's registrar of contractors and won. They built a horrible water feature that was just a cesspool for bacterial to breed. I had another company come and fix it, but it still has its issues. I recently found this site and have started the shocking process of my pool due to what I believe to be mustard algae. I can get the pool up to shock level and it seems to hold pretty well, but I know I have to do something about my water feature.

    Here's a pic of it:


    I have two problems w/ this water feature:
    1) There is a small pool of water left at each of the two pipes. Previous years I didn't run the water feature often so that water would evaporate after a few days and be gone. The problem is the water would become nasty while it was evaporating. Any time I then ran the water feature, that water was going into the pool. I currently run the water feature every night during the cleaning cycle to put fresh chlorinated water there because I have had algae issue in there before.

    Here's a pic of their placements:


    The currently chlorinate water still has a ton of crud in it, including poop and what small amounts of green algae.






    Having the fresh water in these mini-ponds leads to problem number 2:
    2) Rodents and birds. They are on the water feature every day. There is poop all over the rocks. I believe I see poop on the paster in the pool.




    What do you guys think I need to do? I'm assuming if I get rid of the water source, the animals will go elsewhere.
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    You could try filling in the scooped out area and mound it up so the water doesn't pool there, or cap off the pipes and not use the water feature.
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3
    You could try filling in the scooped out area and mound it up so the water doesn't pool there, or cap off the pipes and not use the water feature.
    I would think lessening the scooped out area would be the best so I can still use the water feature when needed. I'm not real inclined when it comes to this area. What materials would be needed to fill those areas up?
    ~15k gallons, 3'-5'-4' Figure 8 Shape In Ground
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    I'd cut into those pipes and extend them out beyond so they drain downwards. Then mix up some concrete and fill in the rest. No standing water = no birds.
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    I would think some concrete would work, but you would want to match the color of the rocks. You may want to contact the last company that "fixed" it and see if they can fill in those areas for you.

    Some of the other members may have some ideas for you as well.
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    I'd cut into those pipes and extend them out beyond so they drain downwards. Then mix up some concrete and fill in the rest. No standing water = no birds.
    I have no clue how to connect pipes and seal them, etc, but looks like I will be doing that next! I spent the last few weeks doing pool school so I think I have water chemistry down pretty good. Time for the next level of classes. Will I need to be keeping the pipes the same diameter or is it ok to taper a little at the end point so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb?
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    I shop-vac'd out the remaining water in the two reservoirs. I bought a bag of pre-mix cement and will try to fill up those reservoirs this weekend. I saw a family of quail today on the rocks looking around for where the water went! The only thing left is to learn how to attach new pipes to extend them out and possibly how to color the cement to at least match the rocks a little bit
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    it looks like you could use street ells to turn the pipe back up to verticle. I'd then add enough pipe to extend well above where you think the concrete will end. Then fill the bowls with concrete. After the concrete hardens, I'd cut the pipes off a couple of inches above the concrete and run the water feature to make sure the water doesn't spray vertically in an objectionable way. If it looks fine, then cut the pipe off flush with the concrete. If it doesn't, you might need to install elbows or tees to direct the water where you want it to go. Additionally where the pipe you add on is coming up vertically, I might be inclined to install a bell reducer to increase the size of the pipe a couple sizes before it exits the new concrete your pouring so the water velocity is lower, and you will not be as likely to need an unatractive tee or elbow on the top. I think you're unlikely to be able to match the color of the concrete without a lot of trial and error. I'd probably chip off a sizable piece of existing concrete from inside the bowls, and have it computer matched at your local paint emporium in a flat enamel exterior floor paint or other reccomended product.
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    I thought those bowls were needed to create a more natural flow instead of just a stream of water down the face of the rocks? I would try filling those bowls up with a landscape rocks before I went with concrete. The rock will displace most of the water and you could put some type of screen over the open ends to keep the rocks from getting into the pipes. Or like mentioned above extend the pipes and pile the landscape rocks a little above the bowl so there will be no exposed water. They sale small bags of landscape rocks at lowes/home depot. Or you can probably get some from your own landscape to match up pretty good. I would just hate to put concrete in there and then not be happy with the end results.
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    When the water feature is shut off, the pipes in it remain full of water, right? I'm talking about up at the top where they come out of the bowls.

    How often do you turn it on?
    Where do you go to turn it on? By all your pool equipment?

    So do you just turn a valve or does it have it's own pump?

    Could not a different valve be used that allowed the water line going to the feature to drain out when it's turned off? If that was possible than you could drill a small hole in the PVC pipes sticking out of the bowls so that the water in the bowls could drain into the pipes.......
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    When the water feature is shut off, the pipes in it remain full of water, right? I'm talking about up at the top where they come out of the bowls.

    How often do you turn it on?
    Where do you go to turn it on? By all your pool equipment?

    So do you just turn a valve or does it have it's own pump?

    Could not a different valve be used that allowed the water line going to the feature to drain out when it's turned off? If that was possible than you could drill a small hole in the PVC pipes sticking out of the bowls so that the water in the bowls could drain into the pipes.......
    If it was me, that's the way I would tackle it. Add another valve inline of that line feeding the bowls. That way when you shut the water off to the bowls, you could then open that new valve to drain the line. As mentioned above, drill some holes around the pvc right at the concrete line so the bowl(s) will empty to it's lowest point when you want to drain.

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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Thanks to everyone for their input. Your time is very much appreciated.
    Hereís the answers to some of the questions

    - Each of the 2 reservoirs has 1 pipe. When the water is off, the water does run back into one of the pipes. The other pipe is angled down so I cannot tell if water flows back into it.
    Hereís a pic of the pipe that faces down:


    Hereís a link to a video I took of the other pipe that looks like it drains properly (but too high still because of the excess water that still remains below the opening):

    http://youtu.be/iCnsfnApiU0


    - I currently have the water feature run for 10 minutes every night during the normal cleaning cycle. I do this because when I wasnít running it, the stagnant water would become disgusting after a couple days. Iíve been running it every night to keep fresh chlorinated water in there so it doesnít get funky. In essence, providing fresh water for the animals!

    - It has an automated valve. Hereís a pic:



    Iím still debating on what I want to do, but Iím leaning towards drilling a hole into the pipe and then concrete a little to create a slope so water that is left in the bowl runs back to the pipe. I'm thinking that will try to keep the regular bowl for water flow but still create a way for the water to drain.
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Round 1: No success. After I drained the reservoir, I drilled a hole into the bottom of one of the pipes. Water start to flow out of the hole. I ran the water feature and then shut it off to see if there is any backflow of water into the hole. There isn't. The water only flows back into the pipe like it did before, leaving all the water that sits below pipe. No water gets sucked into the pipe through my hole that I drilled at the base of the pipe.



    On my pipe that runs from the equipment to the water feature, there is a 1-way valve on it. I'm guessing this prevents the flow of water in the opposite direction. Could this be a cause for why water does not flow back into the hole that I drilled on the pipe? Or is this valve needed on all water features?



    ~15k gallons, 3'-5'-4' Figure 8 Shape In Ground
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Yes, the check valve prevents the water from running backwards.
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    The check valve will prevent the flow back ... not sure why that was installed

    You could try removing the flapper in the valve.
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    The check valve will prevent the flow back ... not sure why that was installed

    You could try removing the flapper in the valve.
    The answer to why it was installed is because I hired the wrong contractor to do my pool They didn't know what they were doing and I ended up getting them shut down because I took them to the registrar of contractors. When you say remove it, do you mean just unscrew that plastic cover and pull whatever is inside out?
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Yes. There is a pin that holds the spring and flap in. It should be pretty easy to remove, but I have not done it.
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Yes. There is a pin that holds the spring and flap in. It should be pretty easy to remove, but I have not done it.
    Thanks. I know you said you haven't done it, but do you or anyone else know if there will be any problem with me removing it with water in it? I assume there is some water between the automatic valve and the water feature.
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Removing the cover or the flap? There is no reason to have the check valve that I can think of ... my waterfall does not have one.

    You pipe to the waterfall will drain when you take the cover off, but as long as the valve is above the pool water level you are fine.
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    Re: Help! My water feature is slowly trying to kill my pool

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Removing the cover or the flap? There is no reason to have the check valve that I can think of ... my waterfall does not have one.

    You pipe to the waterfall will drain when you take the cover off, but as long as the valve is above the pool water level you are fine.
    I took it off and all the water from the pipes and the most of the water feature went out thru the valve area. That's definitely a big first step!



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