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Thread: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire *UPDATE*

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    poolmomma's Avatar
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    Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire *UPDATE*

    Sent to a Mod then posted here for answers...

    I am not sure where to ask this question so could you point me in the right direction to get the right feedback? I am not even sure anyone has had this happen before so here goes.

    We had a Nor'Easter come through and dump tons of water and leaves into our pool along with God only knows what. Then, on Friday (the 13th), our neighbor's house caught fire on the side of the house closest to our pool. It was pretty intense and they had to spray our house to keep the flames from spreading. The smoke was super thick...black and white. The fire and smoke went on for about 3hrs and the water from the hoses, probably an hour or so. Today, after the storm and rains have settled, I was starting to clean up the mess in and around the pool. (We don't have a cover yet) Before I dropped my bot in I noticed, what looked like, an oily substance on the surface of the water. There is still a really strong smokey smell in our yard leftover. I haven't tested the water since the fire, the light of day has run out today! I plan on testing parameters tomorrow but I do not expect them to be out of range. What I am afraid of is something harmful like oil or something from the fire being in our water. Would the filter just filter it out when I turn it on or should I use my instincts and drain 1/2 the water?

    TIA for your help!!!
    15' RND 48" AGP 5,300 GAL
    16" Sparco Sand filter,I got a new pump in 2010, but not sure what it is
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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    There are enzyme products, like Pool First-Aid, that will clear oil from the pool.
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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    It's really hard to say what the oily substance is. A house fire produces lots of interesting stuff. Take a look at what Butterfly posted and then go to your local auto parts store and ask them for some oil absorbent pads. Use those to get as much off the surface as you can then use the Pool First-Aid if you have to. Since you have a sand filter I wouldn't recommend trying to filter it out.

    Here's one guys story. Oil in my pool I'm sure yours isn't nearly that bad but it gives you some idea.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    BIG BUMMER for your neighbors and you. House fires that close are very traumatic even if it wasn't your house directly involved. If you have children be sure to have some talks with them. It will help the children as well as adults.

    It's best to keep all of the stuff out of the filter. Otherwise you will more than likely need to do a complete breakdown of the filter for cleaning and new sand. If you have lots of black substance including particles it is very difficult to remove from vinyl and plastics. As the water cools it becomes even more difficult to remove.

    Stop in to your local fire station to chat with some of the guys/gals. That would be a good time, also, to take a few (or more) new stuffed animals for the firefighters to give to children involved in home burnings. They don't have to be expensive.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    This morning the pool was the ugliest shade of poo brown! And my FC is 0. Everything else appears normal except the pool is brown instead of the hazy color I had before with the leaves and oily stuff on top. There is still an oil sheen and when I pulled the bot out, the bag was clogged with some brown mucky stuff and leaves. I got MOST of the leaves out Sunday, but Oh My is it really nasty looking today. I will try the oil absorbers first and see what happens as the muck settles to the bottom. I am so sad this has happened. I must say that even though we have converted with a lot of luck, I have had the crappiest luck with the pool this year!!! Any way to add chlorine without turning on my pump and ruining my NEW sand??

    GG, we are collecting donations right now for the neighbor but we haven't seen them since Friday. The house was condemned on Saturday afternoon because it is not livable or structually sound. Here is one of the pics we took as it blazed away...

    15' RND 48" AGP 5,300 GAL
    16" Sparco Sand filter,I got a new pump in 2010, but not sure what it is
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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    Great that you and your neighbors are helping out. There are loads of positives including you'll get to meet some neighbors you've been wondering about.

    I'm not sure what type of bags your cleaner uses but it looks like the kind my Vero uses (Aquabot). I have the very fine bag, with the flannel like inner lining and the regular bag. Of my three cleaners the flannel, fine, silt bag captures our silt the best but it clogs up too fast with the amount of silt we have. At any rate I ordered some "disposable" bags, "NastyBag", but I do wash and reuse mine (cold, gentle, no detergent). It says on the I love my Aquabot site, "If your robot uses a bag, chances are these disposables will fit." They filter almost down as tiny as the flannel lined bag but just enough larger that it doesn't clog quite as fast as the very expensive flannel bag does. They will probably absorb some of the goop that would otherwise go to your filter too. Here's the link:

    http://www.nastybag.com/

    Be well and keep up the good work helping others.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    My goodness! WHAT a picture...How scary for you and my prayers go out to your neighbor.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    Thanks gg! I looked on the site but it says that it won't fit Robo Kleens and that is what I have. I emailed them and asked why it wouldn't fit. We shall see what their response is. I am ready to get this fixed again.
    15' RND 48" AGP 5,300 GAL
    16" Sparco Sand filter,I got a new pump in 2010, but not sure what it is
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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    Ask your neighbor who their home insurance is with and contact that company. Since the damage was caused by the neighbors house fire, the insurance company may pickup the cost of having the fire debris professionally removed from your pool.
    26,000 Gallon Gunnite IGP
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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    Quote Originally Posted by poolmomma
    Thanks gg! I looked on the site but it says that it won't fit Robo Kleens and that is what I have. I emailed them and asked why it wouldn't fit. We shall see what their response is. I am ready to get this fixed again.
    I know your need is immediate but I've often thought of making a bag for my Polaris from the material that the "ScumBags" use to try to catch the really fine silt. I've purchased products that look similar to the material. Two that come to mind are allergy pillow protectors and a mattress protector. I'd have to check to see if these fabrics only allow air through. Some of the fabrics that look like that are for stopping moisture going through. Curious as they look the same as the bags.

    When I get around to it and get my sewing machine out I'm going to sacrifice one of the "ScumBags" to make a Polaris bag.

    I would like to hear what they have to say about the fitting issue with your cleaner. Maybe it can be adapted. Again, this isn't going to help you in the next few days. I just hate to see you having to purchase $60 replacement bag because of all the goop. Do you wash your current bag? Mine gets so saturated with fine silt that it I can't use it unless I machine wash it after the outside initial rinse off. We're not supposed to use detergents but I do put a bit of white vinegar in the wash cycle. I, also, add an additional rinse cycle and use low speed spins (front load washer).

    I hate it when any of my bags get stained. Of course they work just as well but they can get nasty looking. I occasionally, soak them in a weak solution of Clorox 6% and water to help release the stains. The stains are usually organic from letting leaves sit in them. Our mud (sand/silt) out here stains also including the bags. I have some white work undershirts, 100% cotton, that I work in in summer, that I cannot get the stains out of even using loads of Clorox in the wash water. Some of the more "attractive" stains are big doggie footprints. The best ones are on my back where they give me a pat (for a good job of course ) when I'm crouched down doing something they need to help me with.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryH3
    Ask your neighbor who their home insurance is with and contact that company. Since the damage was caused by the neighbors house fire, the insurance company may pickup the cost of having the fire debris professionally removed from your pool.
    Wow Great Advice.
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryH3
    Ask your neighbor who their home insurance is with and contact that company. Since the damage was caused by the neighbors house fire, the insurance company may pickup the cost of having the fire debris professionally removed from your pool.
    They are over there today so I might have to ask them. Of course, I don't want to bug them while they are assessing fire damage!
    15' RND 48" AGP 5,300 GAL
    16" Sparco Sand filter,I got a new pump in 2010, but not sure what it is
    Successful Convert to BBB and lovin it!

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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    If the insurance assessor is there, go ask them. Sometimes they can cut you a check right on the spot.
    26,000 Gallon Gunnite IGP
    2 HP Challenger High Head Pump
    60sf Nautilus DE filter
    Polaris 280

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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    There were so many people over there but they were IN the house. I had to leave and when I came back they were all gone. I called MY insurance company and they said I can claim it on mine or go ask them and depending on their coverage, I could get them to cover it. It's definitely soot and chemicals just chilling out in my pool. There is like a ring around the side where the stuff has settled and a greasy ring on top of the water at the pool line. I am going to call a pool cleaner today and see how much it costs to have it professionally cleaned. Hopefully we do not have to drain. I will be upset.
    15' RND 48" AGP 5,300 GAL
    16" Sparco Sand filter,I got a new pump in 2010, but not sure what it is
    Successful Convert to BBB and lovin it!

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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    In case anyone is interested I got this from a pool guy out here that used to do pools in San Diego where they had a lot of fires! VERY helpful info and you can do it yourself especially if you have a smaller pool like mine.


    Swimming Pools Impacted by Smoke and Ash

    Pool Maintenance and Re-use: The following guidelines are recommended for the maintenance of pools impacted by
    smoke and ash contamination or fire damage. Do not allow use of the pool until the following steps have been
    completed.

    1. Clean skimmer baskets of debris and skim water surface of pool with pool net to remove floating debris.
    2. Brush sides and bottom of pool to loosen contaminants. Vacuum pool.
    3. Backwash and clean filter, discharging waste to municipal sanitary sewer only. Connected to a septic tank system,
    discharge the backwash to a pervious surface (gravel, lawn, open space) to allow for infiltration without erosion.
    Backwash to the storm drain system (alleys, driveways, streets, storm drains) and creeks is prohibited by law.
    4. Check pH and adjust to between 7.2 and 8.0.
    5. Check free chlorine level and adjust to minimum of 2.0 parts per million (ppm).
    6. Ensure the recirculation system is operating properly by checking filter pressure and/or flow meter.
    7. Reopen pool to bathers when pH levels are 7.2 to 8.0 and free chlorine is level 2.0 ppm.
    8. Due to the amount of smoke and ash in the air, these steps may need to be repeated after cleaning the filters.
    9. Alternatively, a swimming pool service company may be contracted to clean the pool. Check for their business
    license and experience in servicing pools. Pool service operators likewise are prohibited from discharging
    backwash to the storm drain system.

    Deck Cleaning: Clean the pool deck and dispose of the debris with the rest of the solid waste. Don’t hose down the
    deck to storm drains. You may spray lightly first to minimize dust and ashes from becoming airborne, then use a stiff
    brush or broom to sweep up and put in trash. A mop and bucket could also be used for clean up.

    Draining Pools: Draining of pools is only recommended when necessary. Ideally, pool or spa filters and skimmer
    baskets and nets should be used to remove ash and debris through normal maintenance practices.

    1. Sanitary Sewer -- If you’re connected to the sanitary sewer, check with your local sewer agency to determine if they
    will accept your pool water into their system.
    2. Infiltration -- If you can’t filter the water or discharge it to the sewer, you may be able to infiltrate it into your lawn or
    garden, or another permeable surface. These surfaces will act as a filter to remove pollutants. Make sure that
    infiltration occurs at least 100 feet away from wells, septic systems, and building and home foundations. When
    you’re finished infiltrating water, residual ash and debris should be collected and put in the trash.
    3. Storm Drain System – Discharging to the storm drain system should be considered only if you’ve determined that
    none of the above options will work. Local stormwater ordinances generally allow the discharge of pool and spa
    water into the storm drain only if the water contains less than 1.0 ppm of chlorine, is between 7.2 - 8.0 pH, and does
    not contain other pollutants such as algicides, acid wash, or ash and debris. Under all circumstances, the best
    attempt possible should be made to remove ash and debris from water before discharging it. This should include
    manually cleaning debris and ash with a skimmer net, as well as filtering smaller particles through a cheese cloth, a
    “sock” filter, a grassy or vegetated area, or other material that will remove particles while allowing water to slowly
    flow through.
    Mosquito Breeding: Pools with standing water could breed mosquitoes.
    15' RND 48" AGP 5,300 GAL
    16" Sparco Sand filter,I got a new pump in 2010, but not sure what it is
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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly
    There are enzyme products, like Pool First-Aid, that will clear oil from the pool.
    werd

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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire *UPDATE*

    Quote Originally Posted by poolmomma
    Swimming Pools Impacted by Smoke and Ash [...]
    I would say this would be a perfectly reasonable approach to cleaning a swimming pool under any circumstance... fire or no fire.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire *UPDATE*

    To get rid of the oily residue it was recommended to use a towel stuffed in panty hose and put in the skimmer basket. BOY has this worked! The stuff that has accumulated is like a brownish black and, of course, there is algae residue also collecting. It's pretty gross. I have already vacuumed twice and backwashed a few times with success at removing SOME ash and soot. There is a whole ton of suspended particles in the water. It is just a big, soupy, poo looking mess. Oh well. So is the life of a pool owner. All work so that we can let others play!
    15' RND 48" AGP 5,300 GAL
    16" Sparco Sand filter,I got a new pump in 2010, but not sure what it is
    Successful Convert to BBB and lovin it!

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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire *UPDATE*

    I am guessing this clean up may have already been done.

    But it occurs to me that if the oily stuff is floating on the surface, it would make sense to just fill the pool until the surface water and debris overflows off.

    Then let the pool sit for a day to let the particulates settle to the bottom and then vacuum that stuff to waste while lowering the water level back to normal.

    -
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Question about my pool after Neighbor's House fire *UPDATE*

    Quote Originally Posted by haze
    I am guessing this clean up may have already been done.

    But it occurs to me that if the oily stuff is floating on the surface, it would make sense to just fill the pool until the surface water and debris overflows off.

    Then let the pool sit for a day to let the particulates settle to the bottom and then vacuum that stuff to waste while lowering the water level back to normal.

    -
    Yes, oily stuff WAS on the surface but there was soot and ash on the bottom that was NOT coming out with just vacuuming to waste. I have a light green pool right now, with only leaves on the bottom from various wind storms. I clean out the leaves every other day and still get a little brownish color when I backwash. The difference in color is freaking AMAZING!!!

    I tried letting the pool sit for a day, but nothing settled to the bottom and after talking to the guy in San Diego, he said not to let soot and ash sit too long because it will stain my vinyl and since the oily residue was probably from the vinyl siding melting, chemicals in the water the firefighters used and other things in the air during the storm, the towel and panty hose served a great help to grab it as it hit the intake. The towel was gross after about an hour and had to be replaced constantly for 2 days and then it finally just caught dead algae.

    I am sure, in the summer, I will have my crystal pool back. Until then, it will just be chiliing out.
    15' RND 48" AGP 5,300 GAL
    16" Sparco Sand filter,I got a new pump in 2010, but not sure what it is
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