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Thread: Backwash Alternative

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    Backwash Alternative

    I am new owner of older home with older chlorine pool, new to TFP, and new to the care and feeding of pools. I have been evaluating converting to SWG or ionizer, and am somewhat leaning toward the SWG option. But I have not been able to get past my concern about the possible damage the salt water backwash may have on our landscaping. My property was developed into quite a garden by the prior owners, and am not willing to charge ahead and see what plants can and cannot tolerate the salty backwash.

    However, I am wondering if anyone has any experience with or has considered providing non-salted backwash water from a tank or other source - e.g., a source other than the pool.

    Would appreciate your thoughts.

    Leo
    Leo In Kennesaw, GA
    Older 40x20 rectangular pool
    38,000 gallons
    Vinyl In-ground - Buster Crabbe
    Pentair Chlorinator - Salt - SWG

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    Have you considered using a cartridge filter which does not require backwashing, this leaves the only time you have to generally worry about water discharge is when you need to lower the water level after excessive rain or if you have to do a water replacement one day.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    Ionizers are not recommended for use at TFP. They do not sanitize the pool effectively and add metals to the water which leads to potential staining problems down the road. The level of salt in a saltwater pool is low and not likely to cause any issues in the landscape. I have never seen any reports of trouble and have seen many posts from people saying they have not seen any issues with it.
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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    Isacc-1 - Thanks for the feedback. No, I had not considered that - was not aware of such a thing. One more item to get familiar with - I suppose. I have a sand filter and expected to use that.

    Have any experience and/or recommendation re a "cartridge filter"???
    Leo In Kennesaw, GA
    Older 40x20 rectangular pool
    38,000 gallons
    Vinyl In-ground - Buster Crabbe
    Pentair Chlorinator - Salt - SWG

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    cowboycasey's Avatar
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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    You can get a cartridge filter from hayward or pentair... The bigger you go the less you will need to clean the filters..

    Hayward has a bigger filter than pentair but the cost is more also..

    Amazon.com : Hayward C5030 525 Square Foot SwimClear Cartridge Filter : Swimming Pool Cartridge Filters : Patio, Lawn Garden

    Amazon.com : Hayward C7030 725 Square Feet SwimClear Reusable Cartridge Filter : Swimming Pool Cartridge Filters : Patio, Lawn Garden

    Pentair

    Amazon.com : Pentair 160332 Clean Garden
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    Your other option would be to go with a Stenner injection pump instead of an SWCG. Look up "The Liquidator" on this site. The upside of a bleach pump is that you don't need any salt in your water unless you specifically want to add it for softness.

    You definitely want to be careful about discharging salt water onto your property even at low concentrations. Salt will build up in soils unless the area receives lots of rain throughout the year and has soil conditions that allow for good water drainage. Where I live, the soil is all heavy clay and caliche which will hold and retain salt. Once the salt is in the soil, remediating sodic soils can be a huge hassle.

    DO you have a Municipal waste drain nearby or are you on septic? Can you run your backwash into that, is it allowed by your county/municipal ordinance?
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    Welcome, Leo

    Unless you're on a septic tank, what's keeping you from discharging salty backwash water into the sewer? There will be far less sludge going into your pipes than a DE filter discharges.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    I forgot to say, my grass and plants love the salty water.. I drain my hot tub (650Gallons) twice a year... They are now selling 10 pound bags of epsom salt for your lawn and shrubs at walmart, my lawn loved that
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
    links: pool school * Recommended-Levels * SLAM * CYA chart * Test kits * How To Post Pictures * Poolmath * OCLT ** Support your website if we helped you :) **

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Post Re: Backwash Alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by cowboycasey View Post
    I forgot to say, my grass and plants love the salty water.. I drain my hot tub (650Gallons) twice a year... They are now selling 10 pound bags of epsom salt for your lawn and shrubs at walmart, my lawn loved that
    Yes, Epsom salt (hydrated magnesium sulfate) is a good soil conditioner as most plants and grasses will happily tolerate it. The magnesium is an essential mineral for all plants as it is directly used in the production of chlorophyll. Sulfates are also useful in soils for balancing and buffering the pH of the soil.

    Pool salt, however, is sodium chloride which is harmful to many flowering plants, trees and shrubs. Sodic soils can do lots of damage to your landscaping; see this management document from Colorado State University's ag extension. There are many different kinds of grasses that are tolerant to sodic soils, see USDA publication here.

    Discharging backwash water may or may not be a problem depending on rainfall, drainage and soil types. If the soil is "loose" and drainage is good with lots of rain, then salty pool water likely poses little risk. If the soil is "harder" or composed of lots of clay and/or the property does not drain well, then you risk the build up of salt in your soil. The build-up process would likely be slow, but the symptoms of sodic soils on plants are often subtle, variable and confusing making it hard to distinguish a plant disease process from sodic water competition.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    And this is why I love this site, never knew or thought there would be a difference.. Now I am glad I went with a cartridge filter....

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Yes, Epsom salt (hydrated magnesium sulfate) is a good soil conditioner as most plants and grasses will happily tolerate it. The magnesium is an essential mineral for all plants as it is directly used in the production of chlorophyll. Sulfates are also useful in soils for balancing and buffering the pH of the soil.

    Pool salt, however, is sodium chloride which is harmful to many flowering plants, trees and shrubs. Sodic soils can do lots of damage to your landscaping; see this management document from Colorado State University's ag extension. There are many different kinds of grasses that are tolerant to sodic soils, see USDA publication here.

    Discharging backwash water may or may not be a problem depending on rainfall, drainage and soil types. If the soil is "loose" and drainage is good with lots of rain, then salty pool water likely poses little risk. If the soil is "harder" or composed of lots of clay and/or the property does not drain well, then you risk the build up of salt in your soil. The build-up process would likely be slow, but the symptoms of sodic soils on plants are often subtle, variable and confusing making it hard to distinguish a plant disease process from sodic water competition.
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
    links: pool school * Recommended-Levels * SLAM * CYA chart * Test kits * How To Post Pictures * Poolmath * OCLT ** Support your website if we helped you :) **

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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    WOW! Thanks for all the meaningful responses and questions. My situation is:
    1. Yes, I am on a septic tank.
    2. I have no means of piping the backwash (salty or otherwise) off my property, and even so, that wouldn't be prudent.
    3. My soil is good old Georgia clay.
    4. I have many dogwoods, magnolias, along with some giant hickory, red oaks, tulip poplars, and a few varieties I have yet to identify. I even have at least one "honey locust" (aka, the tree from ****). I have a broad variety of shrubs - many are "highland" and "forest" shrubs - i.e., numerous rhodedendrum, hydrangeas, and "native" varieties of mountain laurel and azaleas.
    5. My grass is Zenith Zoysia I've started from seed (had good luck with it before and loved it).

    I will definitely check out the cartridge filter alternative. A bit pricey, but clearly worth considering. But I'm definitely leaning in the direction of installing a water tank with an additional valve to the pump to allow me to use non-salted water for my backwash. I think I can get 200-500 gallon tanks locally for half the cost of the cartridge system and I have room for it in the vicinity of my pump and filter.
    Leo In Kennesaw, GA
    Older 40x20 rectangular pool
    38,000 gallons
    Vinyl In-ground - Buster Crabbe
    Pentair Chlorinator - Salt - SWG

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    You could also experiment with a slime bag. It's another filter you run your backwash through and it filters everything out and you can return the saltwater to the pool. I just know they exist from reading here I've never used one. So you now know everything I know about 'em.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    Yeah, those hydrangeas and azaleas will definitely not like the salt water. As well, pool water pH (~7.4-7.8), relatively speaking, is very alkaline compared to soil pH (6-7.5) and hydrangeas need even more acidic soil (pH ~4.5) to develop their beautiful blue color. Blueberries are similar.

    And yes, those honey locust trees were designed by the devil to frustrate pool owners and landscapes alike. We have mesquite trees here in the southwest which are always dropping something.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    Unless you have an excessive amount of rain, you will probably only have to dump water via backwash a couple times a season. I only have grass where my backwash line goes, and it has no problem with the salt.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Azgirl71's Avatar
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    Re: Backwash Alternative

    Richard, I have a Slime Bag and they do work. I never thought about attaching it to the backwash hose and letting the water filter back into the pool instead of losing the water. I usually attach it to the return after I backwash so it catches anything that may shoot out. Usually a teaspoon of sand...lol
    Lisa
    Intex AG vinyl 15' x 48" 4,300 gallons due to skimmer install, Krystal Clear SF pump combo 2800 GPH, Krystal Clear SWG, Pool Blaster Max vacuum, Hayward thru the wall skimmer, TF 100 test kit with speed stir, K 1766 Taylor salt test, My SLAM Process

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