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Thread: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

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    How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    For a history of this pool's issues, see this topic:http://www.troublefreepool.com/help-...rs-t15637.html


    So far I have been most concerned with cleaning out the gunk and getting the water up and running properly in my pool. So thanks to Pool School and some great guidance here on the forums, now my pool water looks good and I have figured out the basics of what I need to be doing.

    This was a foreclosure home and the pool basically sat there open for 2 years, so alot of nasty cleanup has already been done.

    I have a black buildup on my pool stairs and dark stains on the walls of my pool, done some preliminary scrubbing with Nylon brush, and some of it comes off.

    Can anyone tell me what it is (is it algae?) and any suggestions on the best way to clean it up (if possible), any products, etc? Or should I just scrub scrub scrub like crazy with that nylon brush?



    Before:


    During (minus all the nasty scooping and the huge colony of frogs)


    After:
    Southaven, Mississippi
    Oval Pool: Approx 12000 gallons
    Pump: Centurion 1 HP
    Filter: 26" diameter Meteor TM High Rate sand filter
    Current Status: Flooded and dirty again, oh no!

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    Update:

    Touching it does not feel oily or slippery, which leads me to believe this is not algae. Local pool supply said they highly highly doubt it is black algae because we never see it in this area.

    Going super hard with the nylon brush has little effect.

    Local pool supply company recommended this special kind of acid (I believe ascorbic), said it will remove the stains on the vinyl at least and possibly the stairs, but at $50 bucks a pop (and they said we would probably need 2 bags of it for this case), I would want to verify that this would be the way to go.
    Southaven, Mississippi
    Oval Pool: Approx 12000 gallons
    Pump: Centurion 1 HP
    Filter: 26" diameter Meteor TM High Rate sand filter
    Current Status: Flooded and dirty again, oh no!

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    Try a couple things.

    Set a trichlor puck on the step where it is black, see if that fades the stain. Leave it on for a few minutes.

    Try the same thing with a tube sock, put some dry acid in it and set it on the opposite end of the step.

    Let us know if you get a reaction from either of these.

    I would look into trying a vinyl cleaner safe for pool use, also try a Mr. Clean magic eraser. If you have to scrub hard, don't use it. It if will work on the stain, it will come off with little effort.

    There are less expensive options out there right now than Absorbic Acid, a few recent suggestions were discussed at the end of this thread:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/i-hav...ns-t15674.html
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    What did you add to clean the pool?

    The steps aren't black in the durring pic! Therefore, something must have happened after the during pic was taken to turn the stairs black Do you have the date stamps on the pics and can you remember what was added after the 'during' pic was taken?

    If you can remember this and post it - odds are one of the chem gurus can tell you why it happened and how to get rid of it
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    does the pool need to be drained to the below the level where the stains go to or can this be done while full?
    Southaven, Mississippi
    Oval Pool: Approx 12000 gallons
    Pump: Centurion 1 HP
    Filter: 26" diameter Meteor TM High Rate sand filter
    Current Status: Flooded and dirty again, oh no!

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    Quote Originally Posted by waste
    What did you add to clean the pool?

    The steps aren't black in the durring pic! Therefore, something must have happened after the during pic was taken to turn the stairs black Do you have the date stamps on the pics and can you remember what was added after the 'during' pic was taken?

    If you can remember this and post it - odds are one of the chem gurus can tell you why it happened and how to get rid of it
    On the contrary, it was black before, you just couldn't see it as well through the murk, it has looked like that from the very get go. Maybe that particular picture doesnt show it as well, but in person it has looked like that the entire time.
    Southaven, Mississippi
    Oval Pool: Approx 12000 gallons
    Pump: Centurion 1 HP
    Filter: 26" diameter Meteor TM High Rate sand filter
    Current Status: Flooded and dirty again, oh no!

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    Full. - the first two suggestions to test the stain, also the magic eraser. The vinyl cleaner? I don't know, I assume full....
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    Didnt see any kind of reaction from either the trichlor puck or dry acid sock
    Southaven, Mississippi
    Oval Pool: Approx 12000 gallons
    Pump: Centurion 1 HP
    Filter: 26" diameter Meteor TM High Rate sand filter
    Current Status: Flooded and dirty again, oh no!

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    Then the stains aren't organic and probably not a result of copper algaecide.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    From looking at the 'during' pic again, I CAN see it on the walls of the steps, but the treads are free of the solid black. It's spreading As such, I've gotta say that we're dealing with an organic beastie that is fairly chlorine resistant

    If my deductions are correct, it's going to take a LOT!! of chlorine to rid the pool of this.

    What we should have asked for from the get go is test #s Any chance you can get us FC and either TC or CC?
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    Ted, the OP drained and refilled virtually all of the water, CYA was nearly 200 pre-drain from Pool Store's recommendation to use 50 lbs of Dichlor

    Anyway, this is the result after draining, the clear water revealed the black.

    He said a trichlor puck didn't change the spot, so couldn't this be something other than organic?

    I'd suspect organic too, given the history, but could there be another explanation?
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    I recommend getting an acid brush, (short stiff non-metal bristles) scrub the heck out of it and pour cal-hypo directly on it, repeat.

    this is the kind of brush we use on steps on openings

    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
    x-pertpool.com
    X-Pert Pool on Facebook and @XPertPoolServic on Twitter
    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    This is a vinyl liner.

    Edit: I would not recommend pouring cal-hypo directly on anything.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Ted, the OP drained and refilled virtually all of the water, CYA was nearly 200 pre-drain from Pool Store's recommendation to use 50 lbs of Dichlor

    Anyway, this is the result after draining, the clear water revealed the black.

    He said a trichlor puck didn't change the spot, so couldn't this be something other than organic?

    I'd suspect organic too, given the history, but could there be another explanation?
    There's a history???? It would be nice to have had that linked, or at least referred to [edit] was the black stuff there prior to the drain and refill??[/edit]

    Look at the during pic - you can see the 'tar' on the walls of the steps and starting to form on the top step, then look at the after pic and it's much more general and pronounced on the treads - this stuff is spreading! (the slight green in the water in the during pic shows ~ white treads!) and that little bit of murkiness couldn't hide the black!

    Also, current FC and TC (or CC) readings would also help indicate an organic problem

    X1088 - try the puck and the acid in one of the lighter areas to see a result - that stuff looks like it's 'matting' and it would take quite a while for the chems to eat through the 'mat' and show the white stairs again

    (OMG - this is just like one of those doctor shows :P )
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    You're right, I should have linked the two threads, but since it was a fresh fill, I didn't think I should bother....

    I edited the top of the thread to include a link to the first topic.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    I don't think it's spreading unless the owner says it is. I've seen stuff like this before, I don't think chemicals are needed you just need a little elbow grease the brush I recommended has flexible bristles on it, you won't do damage to the liner.
    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
    x-pertpool.com
    X-Pert Pool on Facebook and @XPertPoolServic on Twitter
    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    Ann, if I'd never made a mistake I'd load cr*p on you - but I've made so many 'wrong calls' that my soapbox dissolved

    I just went to X1088's profile and found the post y'all were referring to and the one pic given there is the 'during' pic. It also shows the 'ick' being confined to the walls of the stairs . At a first glance, with no indication of a problem, I'd pass it off as the sides of the stairs being spray painted black for whatever reason

    As some of it is above the pool water, as of the recent pic, I'd slowly pour a good bit of bleach directly on it and see if it doesn't 'melt' I believe it will!

    In any case, we still don't have solid cl #s to work with

    While I must admit that this is a new beastie to treat, this pool was unattended for a couple of years and something we normally catch and kill in it's early stages may have really taken hold and become something harder to kill

    One point of notice is that it likes warmer water - notice the growth pattern - it may be some sort of mold, rather than algae - though both prefer a warmer environment (and both HATE chlorine)

    {Consultation on the patient - do you think the bromine treatment would be best for this? I'm of mixed mind on this}

    Kevin, you may well be right My gut tells me that this thing is spreading
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    I've never seen anything quite like that in a pool. I don't think it is necessarily spreading, either. I'd have to say we need to trust the pool owner's info that it was indeed there from the get go. It could be the reason you think it wasn't there is because of a thick layer of silt/dirt laying on top of it in the during pics. It almost makes me think it's from a bunch of old leaves that sat there and rotted and became dried on and shellacked to the steps. Perhaps the water level got really low for a long time and a pile of leaves sat there.

    Personally, I have found it is easier to remove a lot of gunk if you lower the pH to 7.0 - 7.2, in case it is some sort of calcium buildup that is stained.

    Waste is right, we do need to see some testing stats. Perhaps a few days worth.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    I used to have a customer that had similar stuff like this on his pool every opening (safety cover), it was stuck on pretty good but chemicals did help it after a while. He lived very close by to a road with heavy traffic and also a metal recycling center I'm not sure if this had anything to do with his pool problem. Anyways we gave him the option of opening his pool early but leaving the cover on for a few weeks and he would add chemicals through the skimmer and this stopped his problem (when you took the cover off it just needed a vacuuming). One of my current customers had a similar problem on their openings but not as bad as the previously mentioned, her problem went away when the safety cover needed replacement and we replaced it with a ultra-loc. So I'm assuming it is some type of algae that is affected by lack of sunlight. Anyways, I'd still say scrub that with the acid brush it should flake off in a layers and float around in the pool. By the way check out the photo with the wood on the pool, they do the same thing around here when they foreclose a house they put wood down and cover it with tarps and what happens most of time is a death trap because the water on top of the tarps makes the wood structure collapse from the weight. BTW I don't think bromine is needed, just do your BBB stuff I never had troubling clearing this stuff up, it just takes some time and effort.
    -Kevin
    X-Pert Pool Service
    x-pertpool.com
    X-Pert Pool on Facebook and @XPertPoolServic on Twitter
    22,000 gal / 16' x 32' / Vinyl / Hayward s244t /Pentair SuperFlo 1 hp

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    Re: How to remove Black Buildup on Pool Stairs and dirty Walls

    Hey folks

    I'm going on the pics here - LOOK at them There is NO way that the steps are as badly infected in the 'during' pic as in the 'after' pic!

    Scrubbing the steps WILL remove the stuff (probably) - but the root cause needs to still be addressed!

    Scrubbing will make the steps white again, but only proper chemistry can keep them that way! (of course the liner also has this stuff on it )

    {again, it's like one of those doctor shows }
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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