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Thread: Milky water that won't quit!

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Milky water that won't quit!

    My pool turned cloudy after I opened it and added chemicals per my installer/local pool store. I've been there three times with water samples, and each time there's more to do, but the numbers keep fluctuating and the pool remains cloudy.

    Here are the results from May 1 (store analysis):
    FC: 0.0
    TC: 0.1
    pH: 8.1
    CH: 75
    TA: 71
    CY: 15
    They instructed me to add 5# sodium bisulfate and wait 4+ hours, add 20# sodium bicarbonate and wait 4+ hours, then add 40# calcium chloride... which I did, over the next two days. At that point, the pool was pea green, so the next day I shocked it with 5# chlorine shock. The green color went away, but the water was milky.

    On May 5, they tested the water:
    FC: 0.5
    TC: 4.0
    pH: 8.2+
    CH: 200
    TA: 143
    CY: 25
    They recommended I vacuum the pool (which was hard, since I couldn't see the bottom!) add #4 sodium bisulfate and then add 15# shock. I vacuumed the pool and added the sodium bisulfate that night, then shocked the pool the following night. The cloudiness remained.

    On May 8, they tested the water and obtained these results:
    FC: 0.0
    TC: 2.6
    pH: 7.5
    CH: 400
    TA: 168
    CY: 25
    They told me to add 14# of sodium bisulfate, which I did... and the water remained milky. I was really confused by the increase in the water hardness - since I hadn't added any more calcium chloride to the pool since about May 3rd.

    On May 9, I pulled apart the DE filter to see if there was a tear in the filter grids; I found a pea-sized hole which I repaired. The filter has run for 36 hours straight now (4+ complete changes) yet the water is still milky, so I don't think it's suspended DE.

    In addition to the chemistry results, here's some more information:
    My pool: ~22,000 gallons, in-ground, vinyl
    Pool chemicals: chlorine sanitizer (others used recently listed on attachment)
    Pump and filter: Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-4 (1 hp); Pentair SMBW 4036 DE filter
    Other info: no bather load so far (just opened); Polaris 380 autocleaner

    Sorry for the length of this tome, but I'm totally frustrated. Any ideas on what I can do? I tested the pool with my own kit tonight and got the following results (the low TA result really confuses me):
    FC: 0.0
    TC: 0.0
    pH: 7.0
    CH: 375
    TA: 70
    CY: 25

    Thanks in advance!
    My pool and equipment:
    • Vinyl in-ground; ~23,000 gallons (36'x16')[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair Model 300 autochlorinator (no SWG)[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-4 (1 hp, 1.25 SF) pump[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair SMBW 4036 DE filter[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Polaris 380 autocleaner[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]

  2. Back To Top    #2
    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    Welcome Heckcj!

    Not to worry. You've come to the right place. Everyone here has been through this ordeal.

    First things first.

    1. Read Pool School, re-read, and read again. You'll find it up at the top header.
    2. Are you using testing strips or a drop test? A good drop test kit is key to sanity. Most pool stores will carry a Taylors test kit: http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Complete-F ... B0002IXIIG. Or you can get a Trouble Free Pool test kit here: http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

    Let's understand the chemicals you added here:
    *sodium bisulfate is dry acid meant to lower pH. pH in pools should be 7.2 -8.0 range. Optimal around 7.4 -7.5 for bather comfort.
    *sodium bicarbonate is baking soda and used to increase pH and Alk.
    So the pool store had you bouncing your pH around on a regular basis here. Ugh.
    *calcium chloride is used for raising calcium, which is not really required in a vinyl pool unless you have a heater. The milky water could be from the high calcium, but maybe not.

    Basic chem values for a vinyl pool:
    pH - let's shoot for 7.2 (low end) for now as that is the best range for fighting algae.
    FC - free chlorine is dependent upon CYA (stabilizer level). At 25 CYA, you need to shoot for a shock value of 10ppm.
    TC - is free chlorine plus combined chlorine (the bad stuff). You want zero combined chlorine.
    CYA - for plain chlorine pools about 30-60.
    Calcium - I have a vinyl pool and my calcium is basically fill water levels at 110ppm. I add no calcium. You have too much calcium.
    Alkalinity - 70-90. Your alk is okay for now.

    You can crank up your SWG, or just add bleach. I'd recommend adding bleach for now and saving your cell until everything gets balanced.

    So looking at your values, you need to:
    1. Increase your FC -add chlorine to 10ppm. You can do that with plain bleach, or liquid shock from the pool store. There's a pool calculator in the Pool School, but you can quick link it here: http://www.poolcalculator.com/ Just plug in the numbers and it'll tell you how much to add. One gallon of regular grocery store bleach will increase your FC 6/2.2 = 2.7 ppm. If you add 4 gallons your FC will be 10.8. I add my bleach SLOWLY through the skimmer with pump going, but I have a sand filter. I'm assuming it's the same for cartridge.
    2. Increase pH to 7.2. Add 72 oz of 20 Mule team Borax. That's pretty much a whole box. Add half, wait, retest 30 minutes later, adjust next dose accordingly. You can find this at the grocery store/Wal-mart in laundry aisle. It's less than $4. You may find your alk increases slightly. But that's okay for now.
    3. You'll need to increase your CYA. You can get granular stabilizer at Wal-Mart/Home Depot. Based on the pool calculator, you'll need 60 oz to raise to 40ppm. Put that amount in an old sock, tie the end with a string and hang it on your ladder. It will dissolve SLOWLY.
    4. I don't know if I'd trust the 0 TC just yet. If you can hold your chlorine overnight without any loss, then there's no compounds in your water eating it up. If the milky water persists, then I'd suspect the high calcium is causing it. Getting rid of that will be another discussion.

    Keep filtering the water 24/7 if possible, checking chlorine levels and add more chlorine when it goes below 10ppm. That's the basics. Keep the faith, and have patience. You will get your pool sparkling soon. Good luck.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    heckcj..
    I'm a newbie myself but I have a question - is your pool only 8' on the deep end or is it 8' all the way like some type of lap pool? If it's 8' all the way through then your gallon calculation would be off.

    Since you don't have chlorine reading sounds like you need to shock shock shock using the pool calculator but I think work on the pH and cya first so you'll chlorine will work for you.

    Do you have a drop test kit?
    Location: East TN
    ? 15x30 Lomart Above ground

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    ivyleager and cardiacmommy,

    Thanks for the quick replies. In answer to your questions, I do have the Taylor complete drop test kit, and that's what I used for last night's test. The pool is a standard diving pool shape (no board for us, though!), so it's 8' deep at one end and 3' deep at the other. The 22,000 gallons I cited is what my installer/store tells me the volume is, although using other calculators and an average depth of 5-1/2 feet, I get 23,600 or 23,700 gallons.
    My pool and equipment:
    • Vinyl in-ground; ~23,000 gallons (36'x16')[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair Model 300 autochlorinator (no SWG)[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-4 (1 hp, 1.25 SF) pump[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair SMBW 4036 DE filter[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Polaris 380 autocleaner[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    ivyleager,

    One other question, since you mentioned my CY might be low. What's the correct height to view the tube on the Taylor test kit? If I hold my head close to the tube, the black dot remains visible longer... versus at a standing height with the tube on a table. Sorry if it's a stupid question, but depending on how I do it, it changes the CY value...
    My pool and equipment:
    • Vinyl in-ground; ~23,000 gallons (36'x16')[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair Model 300 autochlorinator (no SWG)[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-4 (1 hp, 1.25 SF) pump[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair SMBW 4036 DE filter[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Polaris 380 autocleaner[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    the 40# of calcium chloride would cloud the water pretty good if added to fast. even 4 doses of 10 lbs. each would cloud that much water. There is little doubt that dead algea is also in the mix. Have you been brushing the pool ? Thats an important step in killing the algea, since it will expose live algea hiding under the dead stuff. Shock and brush rinse/backflush filter. With cya so low I would bring to shock level and hold it there untill the cya can be boosted. That can take as long as a week after adding stabalizer . Follow ivyleague's advice to the letter. as far as the cya test hold the vial at waist level with your back to the sun. Don't feel bad its the hardest test in the kit to get right.
    coloeb,
    20k gal. IG fiberglass/plaster rectangle 32'x16'
    Hayward Superpump 3/4 H.P. primary Hayward model 5060 Booster Pump
    Hayward Pro Series High Rate Sand Filter
    Pentair Model 320 automatic Chlorine/bromine in-line feeder

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    Welcome to the forum. I second the advice to follow ivyleague's advice. If you follow the advice of these guys and post pics of how the pool is changing and what you are seeing, these guys will get your pool sparkly at the least cost. Don't be tempted to mix in pool store advice or chemicals. Be strong, don't get discouraged. It will work. They just finished helping me through a long battle! And it was discouraging as the pool didn't seem to be changing as fast as I thought or as fast as it has in the past. However now it is gorgeous water and it's staying that way. Where with pool store advice and their chemical recommendations it was always try this or try that and never consistent. These guys are consistent with products that work. My pool is becoming way less work than it's ever been.
    Above Ground 30ft x 4.5 ft deep, vinyl liner, hayward 1.5hp sand filter

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    heckcj,
    You might want to go to tftestkits.com and read how to do all the tests..they have instructions on the site there.
    Location: East TN
    ? 15x30 Lomart Above ground

  9. Back To Top    #9
    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    Ah, my error on the SWG. I saw autochlorinator in your sig at midnight last night and assumed (No, not that!) SWG. My bad.

    IMPORTANT: Keep the pucks out for now as adding bleach via the skimmer when there are pucks in the chlorinator IS VOLATILE. So make sure it's empty.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

  10. Back To Top    #10
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    Get yourself a TF100 and never go back to that pool store.

    They NEVER should have told you to raise your TA, especially on the same day as adding CH increaser, which is why the water got cloudy. As posted above, the CH increaser was unneccessary in your vinyl pool. Also the 15 lbs of "shock" if that was Cal-Hypo it will also raise your CH level. Please confirm what the active ingredient in the shock product was...we need to know if it was Dichlor or Cal-Hypo

    Your own test kit reading of 70 is unreliable considering how much baking soda they had you add, you should disregard.

    You need to shock the pool - you have no FC and a very high CC count.

    Read
    Shocking Your Pool
    Recommended Levels
    Test Kit Comparison
    ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry

    Now, no worries - we will help you get thru this, I promise.
    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

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    Thanks again to everyone for the quick responses. The autochlorinator is empty, and I haven't placed any pucks in it since I opened the pool ten days ago...
    I have brushed the walls of the pool (they feel fine to the touch) and the shock I used was 65% (or 68%?) cal-hypo, not dichlor. I'll retest the CY tonight - try the TA again, too.
    My pool and equipment:
    • Vinyl in-ground; ~23,000 gallons (36'x16')[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair Model 300 autochlorinator (no SWG)[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-4 (1 hp, 1.25 SF) pump[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair SMBW 4036 DE filter[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Polaris 380 autocleaner[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    I added 4 gallons of bleach, as ivyleager recommended. That was last night at about 6:00 pm; at 9:30 pm I tested the water and got the following results (although the readings were inside, under fluorescent lamps):
    FC: 2.0
    TC: 2.0
    pH: 7.2
    CH: 400
    TA: 90
    CY: 40 (used coloeb's method)

    This morning the FC and TC levels were zero. Using the new CY level, references on this site, and the pool calculator, I added another 6 gallons of bleach (target FC=16 ppm) and will monitor it through the day, since I'm home today.

    I also got a box of 20 Mule Team Borax, but given unless the pH changes, I guess I'll be holding off on doing anything other than monitoring the chlorine levels.

    Are there any other recommendations? The filter has been running constantly... water's still milky, but I know everyone has said to worry about that later.
    My pool and equipment:
    • Vinyl in-ground; ~23,000 gallons (36'x16')[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair Model 300 autochlorinator (no SWG)[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-4 (1 hp, 1.25 SF) pump[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair SMBW 4036 DE filter[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Polaris 380 autocleaner[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]

  13. Back To Top    #13
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    What are you testing with....?

    Keep shocking until the FC holds overnight. Don't adjust the PH yet.
    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

  14. Back To Top    #14
    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    Quote Originally Posted by heckcj
    I added 4 gallons of bleach, as ivyleager recommended. That was last night at about 6:00 pm; at 9:30 pm I tested the water and got the following results (although the readings were inside, under fluorescent lamps):
    FC: 2.0
    TC: 2.0
    pH: 7.2
    CH: 400
    TA: 90
    CY: 40 (used coloeb's method)

    This morning the FC and TC levels were zero. Using the new CY level, references on this site, and the pool calculator, I added another 6 gallons of bleach (target FC=16 ppm) and will monitor it through the day, since I'm home today.

    I also got a box of 20 Mule Team Borax, but given unless the pH changes, I guess I'll be holding off on doing anything other than monitoring the chlorine levels.

    Are there any other recommendations? The filter has been running constantly... water's still milky, but I know everyone has said to worry about that later.
    Yes, later being that there is a reasonable (not confirmed) suspicion that the milky water is due to the calcium. Regardless of the fact that that may indeed be true, it is also confirmed true that you are not holding chlorine overnight and are fighting something.

    So, it is best to fight the fight you know - which is the algae in the water. THEN, when that is taken care of, and if the milky-ness doesn't clear with it, we can turn our attention to the milk pot (so to speak).

    In short: it is best to work on one thing at a time, otherwise you will be dumping tons of chemicals on top of each other.

    Be patient.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    frustratedpoolmom,
    I have a Taylor K-2006 kit.

    ivyleager,
    I understand - I'm only focusing on the chlorine level right now. Unfortunately, after 3 hours, the FC and TC are down to ~1 ppm! So something is in there... I'm going to have to go get some more bleach, because I used the 10 gallons I bought yesterday!
    My pool and equipment:
    • Vinyl in-ground; ~23,000 gallons (36'x16')[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair Model 300 autochlorinator (no SWG)[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-4 (1 hp, 1.25 SF) pump[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair SMBW 4036 DE filter[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Polaris 380 autocleaner[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]

  16. Back To Top    #16
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    The TA reading was confusing me, ignore my musings... I guess the acid additions cancelled out any increase to the TA from the baking soda... for some reason I thought it was testing error or old kit or something odd...

    Just keep plugging away at the shocking process!
    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

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    heckcj,

    You have one issue in your pool the has to be your prioroty..........continually replenishing the Chlorine.

    You are currently not shocking your pool. Shocking involves a constant, high level of chlorine held continuously in your pool through frequent replenishment.

    Read "How to Shock your Pool" in Pool School and follow those instructions. It is very likely your pool will clear right up.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  18. Back To Top    #18
    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    Quote Originally Posted by heckcj
    frustratedpoolmom,
    I have a Taylor K-2006 kit.

    ivyleager,
    I understand - I'm only focusing on the chlorine level right now. Unfortunately, after 3 hours, the FC and TC are down to ~1 ppm! So something is in there... I'm going to have to go get some more bleach, because I used the 10 gallons I bought yesterday!
    Just for my entertainment, what percentage of sodium hypochlorite (aka - chlorine) of bleach do you have? Some stores like Dollar General have bleach but it's only 3 percent and it doesn't say Regular Bleach. My initial calculations are assuming you're getting the bleach from the grocery store (Regular Bleach) or Wally World and they are 6%. Just making sure here.

    Also, do you think there is still alot of leaves down in the deep end? Can you try scooping some debris out? Then after that and after adding bleach, BRUSH, BRUSH, BRUSH. I found that the brushing helps get the **** off the bottom and sides of the pool - and hopefully into circulation which will eventually make it to the filter. Keep making sure the cartridges are cleaned.

    My money pit, er, pool, got all screwed up with Carolina pollen this year. UGLY! It took better part of a week to return to sparkling. I brushed like I'd never brushed before, and kept adding bleach throughout the day when I could.

    Keep at it. Rome wasn't built in a day.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    ivyleager,

    Thanks for sticking with me... I bought Chlorox at Walmart yesterday - 6% sodium hypochlorite. As I mentioned, I bought almost ten gallons, thinking I'd be OK. I'm going to need to try and hit the store tomorrow (homebound today) and get a lot more!

    As for debris, while it's tough to tell with the water so milky, I have brushed, hand-vacuumed, and ran my Polaris. The Polaris' bag has been empty for the last couple of days, so I'm pretty sure there isn't anything significant in the bottom of the pool.

    I've also been monitoring the filter, although it hasn't needed to be backwashed since I disassembled it on May 9 (checking for tears in the filter grids).

    If I can get enough bleach first thing tomorrow, I'm home again most of the day so I'll keep adding bleach, monitor the chlorine level, and brush the walls down.

    Thanks again!
    My pool and equipment:
    • Vinyl in-ground; ~23,000 gallons (36'x16')[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair Model 300 autochlorinator (no SWG)[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair WhisperFlo WFE-4 (1 hp, 1.25 SF) pump[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Pentair SMBW 4036 DE filter[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]
    • Polaris 380 autocleaner[/*:m:1m8qh3c9]

  20. Back To Top    #20
    ivyleager's Avatar
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    Re: Milky water that won't quit!

    Quote Originally Posted by heckcj
    ivyleager,

    Thanks for sticking with me... I bought Chlorox at Walmart yesterday - 6% sodium hypochlorite. As I mentioned, I bought almost ten gallons, thinking I'd be OK. I'm going to need to try and hit the store tomorrow (homebound today) and get a lot more!

    As for debris, while it's tough to tell with the water so milky, I have brushed, hand-vacuumed, and ran my Polaris. The Polaris' bag has been empty for the last couple of days, so I'm pretty sure there isn't anything significant in the bottom of the pool.

    I've also been monitoring the filter, although it hasn't needed to be backwashed since I disassembled it on May 9 (checking for tears in the filter grids).

    If I can get enough bleach first thing tomorrow, I'm home again most of the day so I'll keep adding bleach, monitor the chlorine level, and brush the walls down.

    Thanks again!
    Any improvements?
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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