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Thread: Surface Scum

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    Surface Scum

    I am a 4 year owner of a gunite pool located in Bluffton, SC and have the water chemistry thing down fairly well. I have an issue that is new this year that I haven't seen in previous years. The water surface is covered with clear matter that I can't identify. Attached are 2 pics showing what it looks like. The water is perfectly clear and fairly well balanced (FC=5 ppm, CC=0, TA=100, pH=8.0, CH= 250, CYA=55). I have tried running the 2 speed pump on high and suction set to skimmer for 8 hours, but the next morning the stuff is still on the surface. When I try to skim it off with a net it just seems to disperse into smaller pieces. I backflushed the filter and the gauge reading is 10.5psi which is normal. The filter media has never been replaced or chemically cleaned, but based on consistent pressure readings of 10.5psi after flushing, doesn't seem to need it. It is a gunite pool, plaster, 11000 gal, Hayward 1 HP 2-speed pump, Triton TR-60 sand filter, Hayward CL-220 chlorine feeder. Does anybody know what this stuff might be and how to get rid of it?
    Last edited by wshale; 05-17-2014 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Additional info

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Surface Scum

    Welcome to the forum.

    I am not sure what it is but a remedy that is normally very successful is to simply elevate your chlorine for a day or two and run the pump 24/7 until it clears.

    I would bring the FC up to around 8-10 ppm with your CYA of 55 and I bet that will clear it out if you keep your pump going.

    I know you didn't ask but your pH is a little high at 8.0.....I would suggest 7.5 or so.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Surface Scum

    Most likely pollen.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Surface Scum

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyp View Post
    Most likely pollen.
    That was my first thought...
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Beens's Avatar
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    Re: Surface Scum

    I saw some of that on my surface a week or so ago. I figured it was some sort of pollen issue. I'm pretty sure it went away (filtered out) a couple days later. Haven't noticed it again.

    18' x 48" (42" water depth) Intex Metal Frame 6,700 Gallons
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    Re: Surface Scum

    Mine here near Columbia has the same thing (overnight), but mine appear to be a little smaller, almost snowflake like. Like you said they break apart, and when the pump runs, after a while they are gone! At first I thought they might be salt flakes since this is the first time I've seen them, and I have salt for the first time too! It doesn't seem to have affected my filter pressure. I back wash about every week or more since getting rid of the excess water due to all the rain we've had recently.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    ComputerGuyInNOLA's Avatar
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    Re: Surface Scum

    We had something very similar a few weeks ago. It was coming from 3 Bradford Pear trees that were blooming and greening up. The wind was blowing it in the pool as the trees are about 30 feet away.
    Gunite/Plaster pool at 13k gallons. All Jandy with CL340 series cartridge filter, 1.5 HP Jandy Stealth pump. Jandy 1400 SWCG and PDA4 controller. Dual waterfalls. Polaris 280. Pool installed August 2012. Southern Louisiana. And lets not forget my trusty TF100 test kit!

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    Beens's Avatar
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    Re: Surface Scum

    BRADFORD PEAR!! My arch nemesis! I hate that stupid tree!


    18' x 48" (42" water depth) Intex Metal Frame 6,700 Gallons
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1.0 HP pump
    Hayward Pro Series S166T Sand Filter
    Original Intex Floating Skimmer

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    Re: Surface Scum

    Thanks for the suggestion Dave. Am elevating FC and running pump now. We'll see how it looks tomorrow!

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    Re: Surface Scum

    In my case it can't be from trees or windblown source because the whole pool is screen enclosed. I'm elevating FC now and running the pump 24/7 for a day or so to see if it clears. Keeping fingers crossed!

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    Re: Surface Scum

    Beens I take it the bottom pic was taken last year or longr?? No Bradford Pears that I can see around here! My flakes disappear a short while after my pump starts and don't come back till the next morning.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    Beens's Avatar
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    Re: Surface Scum

    I hope it clears for you wshale, I noticed the reflection of the screen enclosure. I wish I could put something around my pool but the only thing I've ever found is close to $1000 and for my pool that would be silly! When I move to Florida I am buying a house with an inground pool with the screen enclosure! (Hopefully not living in a dream world..) I'm still thinking it's some kind of pollen that sorta forms together like flakes on the water. Mine was also smaller and looked kinda like snowflakes. (great description timerguy) Maybe it's tiny stuff that can float around through screen etc and then gathers together on the surface. Blech.

    Timerguy, the second pic was actually from about a month ago. The leaves had just come out and we had a bad storm. I guess they weren't strong enough yet and they ripped and pulled from the tree very easily from the wind. I had taken the net off because the flowers and garbage weren't falling as bad. I saw the forecast before work that day and ran out of time to throw the cover back on. I took a pic of the aftermath the next morning. :-\

    Thank God for my leaf net. It will have to go back on around july/august when that idiotic tree starts dropping it's little evil marble-like "pear" things in the pool.
    18' x 48" (42" water depth) Intex Metal Frame 6,700 Gallons
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1.0 HP pump
    Hayward Pro Series S166T Sand Filter
    Original Intex Floating Skimmer

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    Re: Surface Scum

    Quote Originally Posted by wshale View Post
    In my case it can't be from trees or windblown source because the whole pool is screen enclosed. I'm elevating FC now and running the pump 24/7 for a day or so to see if it clears. Keeping fingers crossed!
    With CYA 60ish, you should maintain the FC between 5 and 7, and never below 5. Since the CYA test is +/- 15 or so, I suggest you round up CYA on the FC/CYA chart for slightly better FC coverage. If you have maintained the FC at the low end for the CYA value, conditions could be ripe for a situation. My first thought, looking at the pics, was white tissue mold. I'm not saying that is what it is, but it is a possibility.

    The good news is, as Dave mentioned, raising FC level will kill it (and all organics) , but it may end up that a full on SLAM is needed.

    White tissue mold/white water mold is uncommon in chlorine pools unless the chlorine level is kept too low and even then it's pretty rare. Nevertheless, what you describe sounds like white water mold -- tissue-like on the surface of the water that breaks up when you try and remove it from the water. If you determine that it is white tissue mold, SLAM'ing will get rid of it, but you should check for other places it might be hiding out such as light niches or under ladders.
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

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    Re: Surface Scum

    Thanks Butterfly! If it isn't gone tomorrow, I'm going to full SLAM mode. Will be making a run on the local Walmart for bleach today!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Surface Scum

    The only time my pool has lookd like that was after a long barbeque session on a very windy day. Super-fine ash and probably greasey smoke settled on the pool. Went away with filtering.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: Surface Scum

    No flakes this morning! Just a dead frog in the skimmer.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

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    JesseWV's Avatar
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    Re: Surface Scum

    I also think it's pollen which has the same "clumping" action in my pool. Unfortunately your screen can't filter fine particles. Most screens are 16 mesh, but even smaller 20 mesh screens have openings that are 841 Ám. Pollen is 100 Ám or smaller and goes right through.

    Quote Originally Posted by wshale View Post
    In my case it can't be from trees or windblown source because the whole pool is screen enclosed. I'm elevating FC now and running the pump 24/7 for a day or so to see if it clears. Keeping fingers crossed!
    16k gal, 28'x3.5', Vinyl A/G, 1hp Pentair Dynamo 2-speed Pump, Hayward S160T Sand Filter, Intermatic HB800RCL Digital Timer, Intex 8110 SWG, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir Author: Jesse's Graphical Pool Testing Log

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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Re: Surface Scum

    Have you tried using skimmer socks ?
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

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    Re: Surface Scum

    No, Jeff I haven't. Do they just sit in the skimmer basket? Where can I buy them online? Thanks!

    Scott

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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    Surface Scum

    Yes they just float in the skimmer. I would imagine any pool supply website. Try a search on my best friend google ! 😎
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

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