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Thread: Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

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    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Austin, TX
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    Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

    Hello again!

    I'm nearing round 3 with some sort of staining on my pool surface. 6 months ago I had the pool acid washed and it looked awesome. Now, after working the BBB method, I'm getting incredible staining/scale??? It's spreading like wildfire and is worse than ever.

    Here's the history:

    March 2014 - Acid washed the pool / refilled pool
    April - after a month of running balanced, added borates
    July - started to notice a change in the plaster
    Aug - plaster started looking real bad. I did a vitamin C test, and it didn't quickly work. I picked up a Jack's Stain ID kit, and the copper & scale packet worked immediately. No other test in the kit produced better results. So I started down the copper route - I also have always had brown staining in the pipes. I requested the most recent water analysis from the city and copper was just over 1.5ppm and failed. I concluded copper was my culprit, and added 2 bottles of Jack's Magic Purple. Also, based on recommendations from this forum, I reduced my pH to 7.2-7.5.
    Sep - the Calcium test jumped from 275 (which was consistent for months) to 400!. My fill water is <200. Also, while I was out of town for a short period my TC jumped to 9.0. It's now down to 4.0 (see below).

    Today: it is worse than ever and another acid wash is really not possible here due to water restrictions. Here are the current water test results:

    FC/TC = 4.0
    CC=0
    TA=60
    CA=425
    CYA=60
    Temp=78
    pH=7.2

    Here are some picturesIMG_0654.jpg
    IMG_0655.jpg

    Any thoughts/suggestions? Since Jack's Copper & Scale remover worked, I'm considering going that route, which will require some plumbing changes to bypass the heater. While that's fine and may work, I'd like to prevent it from coming back.

    Is there any chance that the Borates affected/exasperated the prior issues? Also, would a sequestering agent cause an increase in CA reading? I have been continuing to add Jack's weekly - could that be accelerating it?

    Thanks in advance
    16,000g in-ground plaster pool, attached spa, BBB, DE Filter, SWG

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    Tucson, AZ
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    Re: Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

    I'm still thinking about this one but I wanted to post something I do know that is relevant to your testing - the Taylor calcium hardness test can be interfered with by metals. So if Cu or Fe are present, that can screw up the test results. Also, any sequestrant you add to the water can also potentially sequester calcium as well (HEDP can sequester Ca) and, while it is unclear as to how much it can affect the CH test, it is another possibility for CH error.

    Borates should not affect your staining. They add a small amount if TA to your water and suppress pH rises.

    I'll think more on your staining issues but it sounds like Jacks Magic products are helping you.

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    Bakersfield, CA
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    Re: Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

    I have a hard time believing there are enough metals in your city water to cause staining. If this were the case every pool in town would have the problem and local pool service Companies would know how to deal with it, or they would have a lot of unhappy customers! Maybe you could check this out with a couple of local pool service techs?

    If staining is not a common issue in your area then the problem is specific to your pool, I can think of four causes:
    1) there was a spike of metal content in the city water when you filled your pool.
    2) there is a source of metal contamination somewhere in your water piping after the connection to the city.
    3) there is a source of contamination in your pool pumping system or in the pool itself.
    4) sometime after your fill in March you had a one time metal contamination of the water in your pool.

    Have you purchased the TFTestkits copper and iron test kits, and how do the test results for your pool compare to a neighbor's pool and to fresh city water?
    http://tftestkits.net/Individual-Tests-c6/

    If all the tests show up negative then maybe your stain is not metal related? If so I guess a SLAM would be your next best bet.
    Cheers, Peter
    20,000 gal, 52'x17' kidney shaped IG, Pebble Tec, IntelliPro P6E6VS4H-209L pump. Intellichlor IC40 SWG.
    300 sf Sta-Rite System 3 cartridge filter. Poolvergnuegen 4-wheel suction pool cleaner. TF-100 test kit.

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    Re: Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

    I agree that it is unusual, and it could have very well came from my fill, assuming a spike as you indicated. I will get the kit to test the water myself. I can treat it using Jack's, but until I identify the source and can prevent whatever it is from happening again, I won't move forward (although I am preparing to do so).

    If I may ask a question: what is considered "high" for copper in a pool where it would cause issues? The latest city water analysis, which has copper failing at 1.3ppm. I'd attach a copy of it, but I've exceeded my limit on this post. If that too high for a pool?
    16,000g in-ground plaster pool, attached spa, BBB, DE Filter, SWG

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

    Quote Originally Posted by tmarcoux View Post
    I agree that it is unusual, and it could have very well came from my fill, assuming a spike as you indicated. I will get the kit to test the water myself. I can treat it using Jack's, but until I identify the source and can prevent whatever it is from happening again, I won't move forward (although I am preparing to do so).

    If I may ask a question: what is considered "high" for copper in a pool where it would cause issues? The latest city water analysis, which has copper failing at 1.3ppm. I'd attach a copy of it, but I've exceeded my limit on this post. If that too high for a pool?
    Copper levels above 0.3 tend to cause stains.

    You can use a fee photo hosting site to post more pics.

    How old is your pool?
    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.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

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  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

    The pool is just under 7-years-old. I don't believe the copper is coming from within the system. I'm pure BBB and I've never had to even slam the pool since the refill and no algicides have even been added.

    Also, I did take a samples of water from both my pool and fill source and both showed levels of copper; although I don't recall the exact reading, it was above .3 That is why I requested the city water analysis report, and was stunned to see 1.3ppm.

    I will test both samples again to see where I'm at now.

    I did put jacks purple in at the rate specified for my size pool, and that seemed to accelerate the scale/stain. However, my TC/FC level from the SWG jumped up to 9.0 shortly afterwards. Would that account for a "breakout"? I don't believe jacks by itself would cause it, but maybe the combination? I've also been adding the weekly maintenance dose.


    16,000g in-ground plaster pool, attached spa, BBB, DE Filter, SWG

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    Re: Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

    Well it does look like your city water is the source of the problem, and most likely the copper content of your pool increased over the summer with evaporation and top up.

    It may be that Austin pool Companies tackle this problem by routinely adding some form of sequestrant. They may not know why they are adding it, but do so because every other pool Co does it, and it works....a bit like tribal knowlwdge. Maybe ask around and see what they use?

    Loads of threads about tackling stains on this forum but I guess long term your best option is to drain and truck in a load of copper free water. Top up water would then be your issue, I think a water softener may remove the copper, but I'm not sure.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
    Cheers, Peter
    20,000 gal, 52'x17' kidney shaped IG, Pebble Tec, IntelliPro P6E6VS4H-209L pump. Intellichlor IC40 SWG.
    300 sf Sta-Rite System 3 cartridge filter. Poolvergnuegen 4-wheel suction pool cleaner. TF-100 test kit.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

    I did put jacks purple in at the rate specified for my size pool, and that seemed to accelerate the scale/stain. However, my TC/FC level from the SWG jumped up to 9.0 shortly afterwards. Would that account for a "breakout"? I don't believe jacks by itself would cause it, but maybe the combination? I've also been adding the weekly maintenance dose.
    Any spike in the FC or pH can cause the copper/metals to fall out of suspension and can create a stain.

    Have you had pH spikes? (sorry if I missed this) As you know, pH control with SWG is more difficult to keep under control.
    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.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Re: Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

    Initially, it might have drifted up to 8.0, but a month or so ago I added an Stenner acid doser which pumps 15oz MA per day, and it's been a steady 7.2-7.4 pH ever since.

    I just had both the pool and tap water tested for copper. The pool water came in at @.3-.5ppm and the tap water was well over 1ppm, similar to the city analysis. Apparently, a sufficient amount of sequestering agent has not been used. Here is what I'm proposing:

    1. Get the copper under control.
    - Purchase a copper testing and Jacks sequest test kit to monitor levels of both the Jack's Purple and copper levels.
    - Using the two kits, determine the appropriate dosing rate to keep down the copper.
    2. Treat pool with Jack's Copper and Scale, per instructions
    3. Continue to monitor copper using the rates from #1, adjusting as needed

    It doesn't make sense to me to treat the stains before getting control of the copper levels, but I will take advice. Maybe I'm overthinking the balancing?

    Regardless, "Jack", whoever he is, will be seeing some of my paycheck in the near term. The test kits / treatment aren't cheap.
    16,000g in-ground plaster pool, attached spa, BBB, DE Filter, SWG

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Stain Help - I'm Not Giving Up, but need HELP

    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    Copper levels above 0.3 tend to cause stains.

    You can use a fee photo hosting site to post more pics.

    How old is your pool?
    oops, I meant to mention a free photo hosting site like photobucket.com
    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.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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