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Thread: New guy with a question on partially draining a pool

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    Question New guy with a question on partially draining a pool

    Hello all,


    For the past couple of weeks I've been doing a lot of lurking here and elsewhere on the internet to try to figure the pool thing out. My wife and I just bought our home with a 18000 gallon in-ground plaster pool last November and went to the pool store to get information on how to close it because neither of us had ever owned a pool. Of course, they told us to shock the heck out of it and load it down with chlorine pucks. They sold us another few hundred dollars in chems to put in it as well so we could put it down for a winter nap.

    Fast forward to this spring, it starts early in southern New Mexico, and I used some of the test strips left over from the old owner to find that our CYA is in the 150 range. Took a sample to the pool store and they verified that number. Our Alkalinity was super high too (250ish), and they told me to dump half a gallon of muriatic acid in the pool without the filter running because if the filter isn't running it won't lower the PH but apparently will lower the Alkalinity? I dunno. I thought they were full of it but did it anyway because I'm no expert and they supposedly are. They told me not to worry about the CYA.

    After reading around here I don't think I'll trust anything they say anymore, and I have a TF-100 ordered and on the way so I can be in charge of my own destiny.

    Current numbers as best I can guess with the strips:
    FC: 10
    Ph : 7.0
    TA: 130
    CYA: 150


    In any case, my CYA is high enough that I can't keep FC where it needs to be without a barrel of bleach. I've already sworn off anything but liquid bleach or chlorine and I'm thinking that draining a portion of the pool should be where I go from here. The pool itself is very clear, so no worries about gunk or algae at this point (so long as I can keep my FC up).

    So now to my questions. I have two. First, since I live in a place that is always sunny and incredibly hot during the summer, should I plan on keeping my CYA a little higher than 50 and just understand that I'll need more chlorine?

    Second, I don't have a good place to drain the water to. We're on a septic system, and the best place to drain that volume of water would be to a ditch that's behind our property. It's about 100' from the pump, and I would need to go over a 5ft wall. Can a 1 1/2 hp single-speed pump (I don't know the brand or model) generate enough pressure to get the water that far and over a wall? We're already tight on money from dealing with the pool store and I'd like to avoid renting our buying a submersible pump if I can.

    Thank you all for your time and this great resource.
    18000 gallon in-ground pool, plaster, Sta-Rite S7D75 DE filter, unknown 1.5hp single speed pump.

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    triptyx's Avatar
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    Re: New guy with a question on partially draining a pool

    Good move - definitely don't trust the pool store - their goal is to take money from your wallet as fast as possible.

    Once you get your test kit, let's get a solid read on CYA, and then we can determine how much water we'll have to drain. I went through the same thing with my new to me house last April, I feel your pain.

    Yes, very sunny places often can benefit from 60 CYA. You can always start at 50 and raise it a bit if you decide you'd like to slow down the burn off a little.

    As for draining, Las Cruces is a bit nasty about that. Here is the info from their web site:
    Residents have two options for emptying pools. They may empty the pool into their yard if they follow the instructions below, or they may empty the pool into the sanitary sewer, but only after calling Adrian Carranza at Las Cruces Utilities at (575) 642-8314 (Monday thru Friday 7am – 4pm). Utilities must first check to make sure the water will not cause a backup of the sewer system.If a resident chooses to empty the pool into their yard, the following considerations apply:

    1. Often the chlorine level is low. However, if there are high levels of chlorine in the pool water, it could damage sensitive plants. There may also be other “guck” in the pool that will stick to plants and landscape.
    2. The resident may not cause the water to pond on the property; this is a violation of the Water Conservation Ordinance and Regulations. The water must be drained slowly so that no ponding occurs.
    3. The resident may not allow the water to run off the property. Water running onto a neighbor’s property or public right of way is a violation of the Water Conservation Ordinance and Regulations.
    4. It is not legal to drain a pool into storm drains, because this is allowing water to run off the property.
    Gack. So first of all, you'll likely want to rent (or purchase) a submersible pump. The drain will be way faster, and you don't risk issues with trying to keep suction and/or running your pool pump dry and damaging it. The key here is that you don't want your plaster to bake in the sun - it could be damaged. From septic, I'm assuming no sewer connection, so I'm not really sure what to tell you. If you're outside LC city limits, maybe the County's regulations are a bit looser?
    8,500gal plaster in-ground with attached spa, two floor drains, one skimmer. Chlorine, City Water.
    Pentair WhisperFlo 1hp Pump, MagnaTek Midcentury EPlus motor, Pentair CleanNClear 200SF Cartridge filter, Purex Triton MiniMax 250 Gas Heater, Pentair SunLite, AutoFill.
    Kreepy Krauly Cruiser, TF-100 with SpeedStir. :D

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New guy with a question on partially draining a pool

    Hey there Duskrider Good job ordering up that TF-100. You'll be in control in no time.

    For your CYA I suggest repeating it, but first take equal parts of pool water and tap water and mxing them. Then use this to perform the test but double the results. You may find you are well above 150ppm.

    In your area of the country it is common to keep a bit higher than average CYA level (not 150 though!!) because of the heat and sun. 50ppm to 60ppm isn't unheard of, but it is an individual thing with the realization that more CYA = higher FC requirement.

    How are you chlorinating your pool now? Liquid or pucks? Or perhaps a salt water chlorine generator (SWG -Gods gift to pool owners, IMO)

    Draining some water, say half the pool at a time and refilling, should help get you started. Any chance there is a hold or break in that wall that a normal garden hose might fit thru? You can try to use a hose to siphon the water off (no cost- free!) if the land dips in any fashion. Just lay one end of the hose in the pool and briefly suck on the other end to get it going then lay it down to where you want it to drain. Youtube videos exist to show how.

    Let me know if there is anything more I can answer for you-

    Yip
    Maddie :) 12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Skippy's Pool Cooler --> Skippy's New Fountain Our Build --> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: New guy with a question on partially draining a pool

    If you're outside LC city limits, maybe the County's regulations are a bit looser?
    I am actually outside the city limits in Dona Ana County. I couldn't find any information on regulations, but the county is usually pretty easygoing.

    I'm using only liquid chlorine from Wal-Mart now (10%). Was using dichlor packets and chlorine tabs until a couple of weeks ago when I started researching.

    There are no breaks or holes in the wall. It's a cinder block wall, and the yard slopes up to it a bit from where the filter is, probably about a foot in elevation difference and a horizontal difference of about 100 feet.

    I did drain the pool a little already... but I could only get down about 3 inches before I had too much standing water in the part of my yard that's only gravel with good drainage. Took about 36 hours for all the water to dry up / drain into the ground.

    Thanks for the info and for looking into regs in LC... I didn't know the city itself was so strict!
    18000 gallon in-ground pool, plaster, Sta-Rite S7D75 DE filter, unknown 1.5hp single speed pump.

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    Re: New guy with a question on partially draining a pool

    *cracks knuckles*

    Ok, now it gets interesting. I'll preface this by saying I'm not a lawyer, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night - take my statement as friendly advice.

    https://donaanacounty.org/sites/defa...dinance248.pdf

    Subsection 6 discusses the discharge of anything into, among other things, "channels", of which the wash behind your house likely qualifies.
    6.B. talks about an "affirmative defense" - this generally means you could still be charged and prosecuted, but could successfully defend yourself in court from the charges. One of the affirmative defenses is #15: A discharge of dechlorinated pool water.

    6.D. says that you're personally responsible for proving that your discharge met the guidelines if challenged.

    So, you ostensibly can drain your pool into that wash. The strict letter of the requirements says that FC needs to be below .1ppm - in my experience, the chlorine doesn't last much past the first couple of feet of running over the ground.

    My recommendation, for your sanity, is to get a submersible pump. I spent $60 to rent one from a major hardware store. Harbor Freight apparently has them for sale as well. You can likely have the pool drained in less than a day and be on to refilling using that method.
    8,500gal plaster in-ground with attached spa, two floor drains, one skimmer. Chlorine, City Water.
    Pentair WhisperFlo 1hp Pump, MagnaTek Midcentury EPlus motor, Pentair CleanNClear 200SF Cartridge filter, Purex Triton MiniMax 250 Gas Heater, Pentair SunLite, AutoFill.
    Kreepy Krauly Cruiser, TF-100 with SpeedStir. :D

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: New guy with a question on partially draining a pool

    Quote Originally Posted by triptyx View Post
    *cracks knuckles*

    ...

    Subsection 6 discusses the discharge of anything into, among other things, "channels", of which the wash behind your house likely qualifies.
    6.B. talks about an "affirmative defense" - this generally means you could still be charged and prosecuted, but could successfully defend yourself in court from the charges. One of the affirmative defenses is #15: A discharge of dechlorinated pool water.

    6.D. says that you're personally responsible for proving that your discharge met the guidelines if challenged.
    Oh, wow. Nice catch. I saw that same document and didn't see what you're talking about. Of course I see it now that you pointed it out.
    I think a submersible pump is probably the way to go. More expense but less headache. By the time I pump it I'm sure the FC will be low enough that it won't do any damage to the ditch.


    Thanks again!
    18000 gallon in-ground pool, plaster, Sta-Rite S7D75 DE filter, unknown 1.5hp single speed pump.

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New guy with a question on partially draining a pool

    Ya sure you don't want to drill a small mouse hole in the bottom of the cinderblock fence......?
    Maddie :) 12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Skippy's Pool Cooler --> Skippy's New Fountain Our Build --> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard

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    Re: New guy with a question on partially draining a pool

    Wow, here in Houston, it's so hot that I can drain half my pool into the street and it will evaporate before it makes it down the road. lol
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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