Hello - I have been reading and mostly practicing BBB since we first bought our house in Dec 2011. Thank you so much for everyone who shares their knowledge and time on this board, it is really great!
This year, we decided to keep our pool open over the winter (in OKC) and equipped it with a freeze-guard timer which worked well. There were a really cold days that had us scooping leaves in icy temps over the winter (DH was not pleased) but I was much happier to look out the windows for 6 months of the year and not look at a swamp!
Anyway, we didn't have a "start-up" this year per se, but I did make the leap into the big test kit so was happy doing all the tests and fine-tuning some of our guesswork from last summer. (CYA being the biggie that we relied on the Pool Store to test for us last year.)
On Friday the 31st, our pool looked like this:
Then we got 10" of rain in 10 hours on Friday afternoon/overnight, and lots of dirt swept down from yard above the retaining walls and muddied the pool. I went out in the storm to pump off 5" of water that night, and while we slept, we got another 5", which overflowed one skimmer on the lower side of the pool.
And this is what it looked like the morning after:
We immediately pumped off about 5 more inches of water and headed to the store to stock up on bleach. We brought the pool to shock level (12ppm for us, as our CYA is somewhere between 20-30 -- that had been my previous chore to bring that up from less than 10 and have added 8lbs of stabilizer over the last few weeks, in 4lb increments one week apart. We get a lot of evaporation from wind - sweeping down the plains and whatnot - and have to backwash and vac to waste enough on our treed lot that our problem is keeping CYA up high enough with topping off the pool a few inches a week - hence the floating ducks which are currently empty but we do add pucks to for the added stabilizer.) DH convinced me to add a bottle of clarifier that we'd had on hand from 2012's swamp opening, as well, which I know isn't a core principle of BBB but what can I say, I was outvoted. We have a sand filter, FYI.
So then it looked like this by about noontime, the day after.
We did turn the pump off that night to see if the dirt would settle more to the bottom so we can vac to waste. It didn't appear to help the clarifier work much being off overnight, so we went back to running pump 24/7. We did run our robot a few times during the shocking process (even though the robot mfr. doesn't recommend) since we couldn't see anything in the bottom to vacuum. The robot did pull up a lot of mud, but I think might have been stirring it up, too.
Four days later, we'd seen some of the dirt settle in the shallow end. We could see the shallow end floor although the water was still very cloudy. We let the FC drop to 6ppm (another few inches of rainfall), and the CC was 0 on Monday. On Tuesday we had this:
We decided that since we could see the bottom of the shallow end, we would vac to waste at least on that side. On Wed morning, I thought I could see a slight greenish cast to the water, and when I tested I had 6 FC and .5 CC so brought it up to 12 FC again and have kept it there since. I neglected to take a pic right after we vacuumed to waste Tuesday, but it was very noticeably bluer. We're keeping it at shock level, but we are not brushing because I don't want to stir up the dirt that I'm trying to let gravity settle so I can vacuum it out.
This is how it looks this morning (Friday, almost a full week after the initial mud dump):
This morning, I could see the shallow bottom pretty clearly (it needs another vacuum, you can see dirt right at the edges) and in the deep end (8 ft, I think) I am just starting to be able to see the outline of the main drain (and a few leaves, actually). So we'll be vacuuming again in the morning.
Thanks for all the posts in the forum that I've been searching repeatedly as we go along. Of course, I'd hoped to have my pool sparkling again within a few days but we can't have everything we want, I guess! Posting this just to give others an idea of timeline, and will update as we hopefully get totally clear soon. I'm sure I need to add more CYA as I've had to pump out so much water and our pool has been so diluted with almost 15" of rain in the last week. Summer temps are supposed to be here next Wednesday, so am hoping swimming will be back on the agenda! I heard a psychic (of all things) on the radio the other morning telling someone in our area that they would need to drain and refill their pool because of the mud from the rains. Just goes to show - TFP beats a psychic just about every time.
Please feel free to chime in with input if you see anything we can do to speed the process. Oh, I've had to backwash a few times this week, too, but not too much. Our main drain doesn't work, it's been divorced from the system at some time in its 40 year history, so it's not pulling the dirt to the bottom and into the pump, which is probably helping as far as how often to backwash, but not helping in the speed of clearing it up. I did wonder about the brushing, but just don't want to suspend all the mud particulate in the water again, especially since I really don't think we have algae... just good old dirt.
P.S. When we get to do our dream pool renovation in a few years, we want to move the retaining walls back from the pool and install drainage along the walls, to help prevent things like this happening and make it easier to work with the scoop/vac/net around the pool. Actually would love to do that part sooner than later, but don't know if we can move just the walls without opening the can of worms of coping, tile, plaster. And since you can't get a pool guy to your house in our area (four calls to four different friend-recommended companies and still waiting months later), I guess we'll just have to wait it out.