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Thread: pool clean after forest fire

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    pool clean after forest fire

    Hello All,

    ═┤ve got to clean a pool which was sitting immediately on the edge of an enormous forest fire yesterday. The pool was crystal clear in the morning and now it┤s a swamp. Normally when I clear up a dirty pool I add floculante and vacuum when everything┤s settled to the bottom. However, in this case the surrounding patio and house is covered in a thick, sticky red substance which must also be in the pool (the pool┤s too dirty to see anything). I┤m guessing that it┤s tree sap from the burnt pine trees.

    Do any of you people have experience of cleaning up this substance and if so how do you clear it from the pool? The house is rented out to some unlucky holiday makers so I┤d like to do what I need to asap but this is a new one for me! The pool is small (20000 litres) so I wondered if it would be quicker and cheaper to just empty the pool, scrub this substance from the bottom and refill.

    Also of interest, I was at the pool yesterday morning before the fire and the chemistry was fine pH 7.5 TA 100, cya 60, free clor around 4ppm. This morning there┤s zero chlorine reading. I hate to think how much debris was blown into the water or even if a helicopter dropped water over the house (and pool) to prevent the fire, but I┤m in new territory here.

    Any advice would be greatly apppreciated,
    Nic

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    Re: pool clean after forest fire

    The red is probably fire retardant, which contains clay and phosphate fertilizer (helps put out fire and promotes regrowth afterwards). If the FC was already low then the phosphates would have helped push things towards swamp very quickly. There is probably a thin layer of clay at the bottom of the pool too.

    I am sure it can be cleared, but if refilling is an option it will probably be the fastest option.

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    Re: pool clean after forest fire

    What kind of filter do you have? Try scooping out a few areas with the pool rake. If there is nothing to scoop out then vacuum to waste if you can. Then you can start slamming the pool. If they did drop some kind of fire retardant in the pool then this may be a case where an enzyme product would speed the clean up process.
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: pool clean after forest fire

    Pictures!!

    I just did a little googling, and it's quite possible the aerial bombardment dropped ammonium phosphates, which certainly accounts for the instant swamp.
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    Re: pool clean after forest fire

    What kind of pool is it? Draining may not be an option.
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    Re: pool clean after forest fire

    thanks for your replies - sorry for the delay in replying but things were a little crazy here trying to clear up.

    thought you may be interested to see the pictures. does the red look like fire retardant to you? does anyone have experience clearing up after forest fires? although it was like a thick sticky oil, the pool quickly cleared and after vacuuming to waste a couple of times the holiday makers were able to start using the pool again.

    i was worried that the sticky substance would have stuck to the bottom of the pool but it must have disolved and / or filtered out into the sand filter.
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    Re: pool clean after forest fire

    From this document it appears that the fire retardant typically used is a combination of 85% water, 10% fertilizer (think phosphates and nitrates), 5% other ingredients that include thickener (natural gum and clay), corrosion inhibitors (probably orthophosphate or phosphonates), stabilizers and bactericides as well as iron oxide for color. More info is also in this article where they describe the slurry as sticking to plants so it's really mostly a slurry you can think of as "gelled water" that won't evaporate very quickly. That slows down burning of the plants as the fire has to burn off this slurry first and water requires a lot of heat to get from liquid to steam. This is why wet wood (or wood with a high moisture content) does not burn well.

    Most of the ingredients would filter out, but the fertilizer will require you to be more diligent about maintaining the proper FC/CYA levels in your pool. The iron is the worst part, but it's already an oxide so a solid so less likely to stain and more likely to get filtered out as well.
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    Re: pool clean after forest fire

    iron oxide, yes that┤s exactly the same colour as the slurry Chem Geek! hopefully it will be a long time before i have to see it again.

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