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Thread: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

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    MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    Seems someone doesnt like me much and threw two quarts of motor oil and one quart of brake fluid (dot 3) into my pool yesterday. DE filter ran all day. I dissassembled and soaked in a de-greaser cleaned the best I could, reassembled and made a makeshift contraption with pig mats, a pole, and some wire ties to "skim" the surface. My BIG concern is the brake fluid as it mixed well with water when did an experiment at work today.
    Any advice from the chemistry guys?
    I did shock and purchased some enzyme stuff. Im sorry I dont have current numbers today, but everything was perfect up until yesterday at five p.m. when I got home from work.
    Sorry so short and rambling as im at work trying to get this and that done.
    As always...thank you for a great site and I hope someone can help.
    Littleton, CO

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    I absolutely hate hearing stuff like this! Makes you wish for the days of tar and feathers a bit!

    You've made a good start. You'll probably wind up changing the DE a few more times. I'd take a couple of those pads you have and place in the skimmer once you've gotten everything as clean as you can get it. After that it'll just take time to clean it all out of the system.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    Dang, that really sucks! I can't believe people can be so hateful...that's the second motor oil incident I've read about just in the last few weeks!
    20K gal IG plaster pool, Manually chlorinated with 6% bleach, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite Dura-Glas II pump, Pentair FNS Plus 48 DE filter, Polaris 280

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    It sounds like you are already doing all the right things for the motor oil. The brake fluid is a little more complex. Do you know which specific brake fluid was used? There are a couple of different chemicals used for brake fluid, some of which are fairly toxic if you drink them.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    yep this all stinks. the particular brand was from sears, and it is a DOT 3 type.
    i ran the MSDS for it and its all greek to me...i was hoping someone on here was alot smarter than myself and could understand it a bit more. i even called poison control but no help. looks like there could be possible eye damage, but im pretty sure that would be if you open the bottle and it squirts you. i guess i should have been more specifisc about the pool...AG 30' 52" wall. usually use 22,000gal.
    as my guide.
    i will post a pic of my skimmer contraption when i have a moment away from work. could help someone else someday.
    Littleton, CO

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    I would definitively add an enzyme. This products were originally developed to eat up oil slicks in the ocean.

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    thanks, i have doubled the dose of the "suntan" oil enzyme. i will breakdown the filter again when i get home and clean it again. i am concerned most about the brake fluid as from being in the buisness i know it eats some rubber surfaces (vinyl liner) and the MSDS sheet said some pretty bad stuff about the eyes. i would hate to hurt someone because i though it was diluted enough.
    thanks again
    Littleton, CO

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    A MSDS should have a contact phone number on it you can call to get more info.

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    Well, I recall that brake fluid and cal-hypo will react violently when mixed together - smoke/fire/explosion/etc. (Don't try this at home, and if you do, bear in mind that it can take several minutes for the reaction to start, so don't turn your back on it. Use gloves, eye/face protection, and lots of ventilation, and do not use a glass container. Oh yeah, and don't try this at home.)

    In a pool, I suspect that chlorine will oxidize the brake fluid but since there is such a large body of water any reaction should be small and distributed.

    I think that brake fluid should be something like polyethylene glycol - generally DOT 3 is a non-silicone type fluid - so someone should be able to figure out the exact reaction. Right?

    I think that the oil is the biggest concern, and that you should clean it off everything you can and keep your chlorine up.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    I believe brake fluid is considered a toxic chemical. Sick the EPA on them and make them(or the parents if its kids) pay for the cleanup.

    Steve
    18' x 36' vinyl, 3' shallow - 9' deep
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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    Just a follow up, when I got home from work a day later the pool looked great. It had a slight sheen on the surface no worse than a weekend party from suntanoil. I tore down the filter and recleaned the fingers and put it back into service while I took a dip and drank a cold beer.
    All of my numbers stayed the same. My fingers are crossed that the brake fluid is so diluted and
    will hopefully dissipate over time that it wont damage my liner or seals. I did contact the homeowners insurance company in case the liner or pump and filter are damaged in time.
    Thank you for your time.
    Littleton, CO

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    The world is full of ruthless knuckleheads...makes me think that now even more that I am going to start looking for security cameras for my pool. I had an incident where someone I think my knucklehead neighbor unscrewed my return hose from my solar pannel, and when my other neighbor came to check on the pool it was down 6-8 inches. I started looking at motion sensor lights and camera combinations but theyonly have a range of 30 feet for the camera. But it might be a good investment if stuff like this continues...Sorry for all your problems...hope the pool stays in good shape.

    Beave
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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    i used a product called pool first aid by natural chemistry it worked for me when i had 4 quarts of oil poured in my pool recently
    24k IG (plaster) Triton Sand Filter

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by baylorbeargp
    i used a product called pool first aid by natural chemistry it worked for me when i had 4 quarts of oil poured in my pool recently
    Who the HEL* does that to someone's pool???
    Beave
    Aqua Leader 24ft Round AG Wil-Bar Influence w/54 inch walls 13,500 gallons
    Swimline J-Blue Opal Liner, 1 4X20 Fafco Solar Bear Solar Heater
    Hayward 2 HP Swim Pro Voyager Pump Micro 150 with 4 way timer
    Swim Pro Voyager Filtration System with Hayward ABS Pearl wide mouth skimmer

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    Boy, this thread initially ****** me off, then depressed me. Needless to say, I'm happy to that you've apparently got this under control - at least to the point where you're poolside w/ a beer in hand. I remember reading a thread on The Pool and Spa Forum a year or two ago about someone having paint (oil-based, if I recall) dumped in their pool. What a gutless, mean-spirited thing to do.

    When we built our pool in August 2007, we also built an overhang on the patio adjacent to the pool decks - but while it's wired for a floodlight I've never gotten around to actually installing one. My wife just had the kitchen remodeled and the electrician isn't quite done. When he returns next week I'm going to have him install a twin flood on the overhang, as well as replace the flood on the back of the house above the overhang (the overhang blocks one side but I can buy a single flood and point it toward the masonry wall on the far side of the pool and the equipment deck beyond - I'll point the motion sensor toward the top of the wall to detect anyone/thing walking along the top of the wall/along the fence on that end of the pool). Also going to replace the twin flood on the outside wall of the sunroom that sits above the walkout on the other side. Going to set motion sensors on all 3 to highest sensitivity and leave them on! I wonder if some security website out there sells a flash unit that could be slave to the motion detector. Even if there's no camera attached, it would add some deterrence value since trespassers would think there was a camera up there somewhere. I'll probably install small locks on the door of my EasyTouch control panel, too. An inconvenience, but will keep anyone from messing w/ things.

    OK, rant over, I do have some advice to offer, in no particular order:

    1) I use skimmer socks year-round, and half the time I use BioGuard Skim-Mor socks. They are treated w/ mycelx, which was developed for oil-spill cleanups but is also widely used in commercial applications to filter oil from water. It has revolutionized those industries. The socks won't keep sunblock and oils from adhering to your waterline before they reach your skimmer(s), but I truly believe they keep that stuff out of your filter. Try a 5-pack (around $12) or two and maybe that will accelerate the last stage of your recovery. They're blue in color, you know they're working when they turn a greenish color.

    2) I found an MSDS for DOT 3 brake fluid:
    http://www.championbrands.com/MSDS/1400.pdf
    It's definitely glycol-based, and is evidently 100% soluble. Also appears to become flammable when you introduce chlorine, although I highly, highly doubt that's the case with the dilute concentrations of glycol and chlorine in your pool. FYI, mycelx won't absorb glycols.

    3) I'd suggest closing your pool a bit later than usual this year, and doing a few partial drains and refills before finally closing.

    4) Finally, if you do some google searches, I bet you can find some mycelx mats or pads which you can use to wipe down your liner, skimmer boxes, and the internal components of your filter (****, call Mycelx directly at 888-306-6843 or 770-534-3118). Mycelx absorbs all sorts of hydrocarbons but will not absorb water - meaning it will absorb/remove oil along the waterline (and even underwater, although that should be a non-issue since oil - at least motor oil - floats on water).

    In sum, being an owner of a vinyl-lined pool (as am I), you probably know that you can't completely drain your pool w/o serious risk of a shrunken liner that will need to be replaced (the risk increases greatly as the liner ages). But you can safely drain to a level of about 18" or so in the shallow end (someone please correct me if I'm off on safe drain level for vinyl pools). That's alot of water to drain and refill even once, much less repeatedly, but you do it every year at closing. I'd recommend doing it 2-3 times before closing - as well as wiping down the entire liner at waterline and above, the skimmer box(s), return jets, any ladder(s), the step section and the inside of your filter + all internal filter components with some sort of mycelx material after every drain cycle. Probably overkill, but the combination of draining/refilling and wiping would probably reduce any glycol and oil residuals to nominal levels, so you can put this sad episode behind you and forget about it next season and the season beyond.

    Good luck!

    EDIT: didn't catch your reference to pig mats. I'm not sure, but NewPig products may well utilize mycelx or a similar technology - I see they offer a product which absorbs oil but not water. You're well ahead of the curve. Would still recommend the drain/refill/wipe cycle (using mycelx or NewPig oil-only wipes).

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    First-Aid will clean it up well and will be remarkably cheap than draining and rebalancing.

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by DBfan187
    First-Aid will clean it up well and will be remarkably cheap than draining and rebalancing.
    I have no experience w/ First-Aid products (although I've used enzymes for a much smaller problem - sunblock residue) but that's a pretty large volume of motor oil in his pool. If enzymes don't work, I'd take a pretty aggressive approach (per my suggestions) to put this problem to bed now. Water/refill is pretty cheap and water balance (except FC and pH) isn't really an issue until final closing. Just my opinion, and no offense intended.

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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    The nice thing about enzymes is that they are a catalyst that accelerate specific chemical reactions and don't get used up in the process. They simply accelerate oxidation done by oxygen or chlorine. So the large amount of motor oil will take more chlorine, but shouldn't require much more enzymes. Eventually, the enzymes will break down from the chlorine, but hopefully after they've done their job helping to accelerate the breakdown of the motor oil.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    Well again, thanks for all of the help. Everything seems to be back in perfect shape as it was before the "incident". Here are some pics of the pole and pads I used to help clean the surface, it
    seemed to work very well when the mats were "sweeping" the surface rather than just laying them ontop of the water. My circulation helped slide the oil slick under the mat and the oil was actually sucked off the surface of the water instead of daming up against it.



    Hope nobody needs to use it, but...
    Littleton, CO

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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    Re: MOTOR OIL AND BRAKE FLUID (DOT 3)...HELP!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by jkusmier
    Boy, this thread initially ****** me off, then depressed me. Needless to say, I'm happy to that you've apparently got this under control - at least to the point where you're poolside w/ a beer in hand. I remember reading a thread on The Pool and Spa Forum a year or two ago about someone having paint (oil-based, if I recall) dumped in their pool. What a gutless, mean-spirited thing to do.

    When we built our pool in August 2007, we also built an overhang on the patio adjacent to the pool decks - but while it's wired for a floodlight I've never gotten around to actually installing one. My wife just had the kitchen remodeled and the electrician isn't quite done. When he returns next week I'm going to have him install a twin flood on the overhang, as well as replace the flood on the back of the house above the overhang (the overhang blocks one side but I can buy a single flood and point it toward the masonry wall on the far side of the pool and the equipment deck beyond - I'll point the motion sensor toward the top of the wall to detect anyone/thing walking along the top of the wall/along the fence on that end of the pool). Also going to replace the twin flood on the outside wall of the sunroom that sits above the walkout on the other side. Going to set motion sensors on all 3 to highest sensitivity and leave them on! I wonder if some security website out there sells a flash unit that could be slave to the motion detector. Even if there's no camera attached, it would add some deterrence value since trespassers would think there was a camera up there somewhere. I'll probably install small locks on the door of my EasyTouch control panel, too. An inconvenience, but will keep anyone from messing w/ things.

    OK, rant over, I do have some advice to offer, in no particular order:

    1) I use skimmer socks year-round, and half the time I use BioGuard Skim-Mor socks. They are treated w/ mycelx, which was developed for oil-spill cleanups but is also widely used in commercial applications to filter oil from water. It has revolutionized those industries. The socks won't keep sunblock and oils from adhering to your waterline before they reach your skimmer(s), but I truly believe they keep that stuff out of your filter. Try a 5-pack (around $12) or two and maybe that will accelerate the last stage of your recovery. They're blue in color, you know they're working when they turn a greenish color.

    2) I found an MSDS for DOT 3 brake fluid:
    http://www.championbrands.com/MSDS/1400.pdf
    It's definitely glycol-based, and is evidently 100% soluble. Also appears to become flammable when you introduce chlorine, although I highly, highly doubt that's the case with the dilute concentrations of glycol and chlorine in your pool. FYI, mycelx won't absorb glycols.

    3) I'd suggest closing your pool a bit later than usual this year, and doing a few partial drains and refills before finally closing.

    4) Finally, if you do some google searches, I bet you can find some mycelx mats or pads which you can use to wipe down your liner, skimmer boxes, and the internal components of your filter (****, call Mycelx directly at 888-306-6843 or 770-534-3118). Mycelx absorbs all sorts of hydrocarbons but will not absorb water - meaning it will absorb/remove oil along the waterline (and even underwater, although that should be a non-issue since oil - at least motor oil - floats on water).

    In sum, being an owner of a vinyl-lined pool (as am I), you probably know that you can't completely drain your pool w/o serious risk of a shrunken liner that will need to be replaced (the risk increases greatly as the liner ages). But you can safely drain to a level of about 18" or so in the shallow end (someone please correct me if I'm off on safe drain level for vinyl pools). That's alot of water to drain and refill even once, much less repeatedly, but you do it every year at closing. I'd recommend doing it 2-3 times before closing - as well as wiping down the entire liner at waterline and above, the skimmer box(s), return jets, any ladder(s), the step section and the inside of your filter + all internal filter components with some sort of mycelx material after every drain cycle. Probably overkill, but the combination of draining/refilling and wiping would probably reduce any glycol and oil residuals to nominal levels, so you can put this sad episode behind you and forget about it next season and the season beyond.

    Good luck!

    EDIT: didn't catch your reference to pig mats. I'm not sure, but NewPig products may well utilize mycelx or a similar technology - I see they offer a product which absorbs oil but not water. You're well ahead of the curve. Would still recommend the drain/refill/wipe cycle (using mycelx or NewPig oil-only wipes).
    I found a motion sensor flood light with a built in camera that uses a 2gb memory card to take pics or 10 second shots of video. It is about $120.00 downside it is no good if the light is more than 15 to 20 feet from the pool. The camera has a 30 foot range...If you lighting is close to the pool this could work...You can find it at COSTCO's web page.
    Beave
    Aqua Leader 24ft Round AG Wil-Bar Influence w/54 inch walls 13,500 gallons
    Swimline J-Blue Opal Liner, 1 4X20 Fafco Solar Bear Solar Heater
    Hayward 2 HP Swim Pro Voyager Pump Micro 150 with 4 way timer
    Swim Pro Voyager Filtration System with Hayward ABS Pearl wide mouth skimmer

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