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Thread: Brown Water!!

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Vancouver, WA

    Brown Water!!

    We have well water, very high in iron. We used a sequestering agent to neutralize the iron when we filled the pool (Intex 15 x 42 4200 gallons). We ran the filter (sand filter) for 2 days. Had the pool store test the water, tested with no metals. Added the shock, now we have coffee colored water. Had the water tested again....everything looks perfect and they have no idea why the pool is brown. Is there ANY way to have clear water? It looked great before we added the chlorine. Is there a sanitizer/shock that will not react if there are metals? Is there something besides metal that can make the water turn brown with chlorine? It is obvious that the chlorine is the addition that caused the brown. ANY help would be appreciated! Is Bacquacil a viable option?

    Water Test Results:
    Free Chlorine 1.12
    Total Chlorine 1.22
    Combined Chlorine 0.1
    PH 7.4
    Alkalinity 118
    Calcium 200
    Cyanuric Acid 23
    Copper 0
    Iron 0
    Nitrates 0
    Total Dissolved Solids 200
    Phosphates 0
    Saturation Index -0.1
    Intex, AG, 4200gal, Sand Filter

  2. Back To Top    #2
    BoDarville's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    DFW, Texas

    Re: Brown Water!!

    Welcome to TFP!

    Metal stains and/or colored but transparent water most commonly appears in water containing metals shortly after the pH is raised or when you add chlorine. To keep the water clear, you need to add more sequestrant and keep the pH between 7.2 and 7.4. Just as chlorine is depleted by sunlight and by doing its job sanitizing the pool, sequestrant breaks down and needs to be replenished periodically. Sequestrants based on HEDP, phosphonic acid, or phosphonic acid derivatives are the most effective. ProTeam's Metal Magic and Jack's Magic The Pink Stuff (regular), The Blue Stuff (fresh plaster), and The Purple Stuff (salt) are some of the top sequestrants. You can also find many other brands with similar active ingredients, some of which may be less expensive.

    Continue to maintain adequate chlorine (FC) levels otherwise you will be battling algae and metallic water. Your current FC level is a bit low for your CYA. Aim for between 2 - 5 ppm.

    Avoid using baquacil sanitizer. It is incompatible with chlorine and will create a mess if added to a pool with chlorine.

    One other thing you can try if you don't mind dealing with the brown water for a short while: Temporarily hold off on adding additional sequestrant and try the "paper towel" method which involves placing paper towels in the skimmers. The paper towels may remove some of the precipitated metal particles. No guarantee this will work, but it is a low cost - low impact alternative worth trying, so I will put it on the table. Some members have had some success with this (see this post: - scroll towards the bottom to see a picture of the iron filtered out by the paper towels. If you try this method, check on the paper towels every couple of hours or so while the filter is running. Replace towels as needed.

    Even if the paper towel method removes some of the metals, you may still need to continue using a sequestrant on an ongoing basis. However, you may be able to use less of it if the paper towel method was at least somewhat successful.

    BTW, your test results look like they came from strips. If you don't already have one, you will need a good test kit to properly manage your pool. Here is a comparison of the recommended Test Kits.

    Finally, A couple of things to help us help you...
    • 1. Please add to your profile the state and nearest city in which you live. Donít need specific town, nearest major city is fine. Your climate is important to the advice you receive. By doing this, it will appear in all your posts without you having to enter it each time.
      2. Suggest adding information about your pool and related equipment in your signature. By doing this, it will automatically appear in all your posts so you do not have to re-enter it each time. If you have a SWG, please include those letters in your signature so it stands out as the advice for SWG vs. non-SWG is often different.
    Here's how to do both of the above: Adding location to your profile and pool info to your signature.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Vancouver, WA

    Re: Brown Water!!

    The test results are from the local pool store's computer system. The pool is new, and just filled. I am curious if the water is testing negative for metals, is there another reason it could be turning brown? We used the amount of sequestrant indicated for very hard water, basically a double dose. The filter ran for 3 days, and the backwash ran clear....then we put the chlorine in. There shouldn't have been any iron or metals to interact with the chlorine, as indicated by the test. I will give the paper towel test a go. Since it is a smaller pool, we were considering draining, washing, and starting over with Bacquacil. If brown, nasty looking water is unavoidable with chlorine. We put all of this money into it, we want to be able to enjoy it.
    Intex, AG, 4200gal, Sand Filter

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