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Thread: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

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    Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    Long story short: pump sprang a leak just before 10 day vacation. Pool store repaired it while we were gone, but left it off and thus the water was green when we returned. I'm in the process of returning it to blue (shocking with bleach) and vacuuming up all the pollen that fell in drifts on the bottom ... we're on day three of shock regimen, so I know I just have to be patient.

    My question is this: my 4-year-old doesn't understand why she can't swim, and I'd like to give her an honest answer. She sticks her legs in the water while I'm vacuuming and doesn't have any ill effects. I tell her that she'll get itchy all over if she swims in a green pool, but since her legs don't itch I don't know if that's actually true.

    Also: is there any safe time to swim before the water is crystal clear? I'm thinking no, but thought I'd ask on behalf of a little swimmer!
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    I imagine it's a bit like swimming in a pond or lake. More of an issue of drinking the water making her sick, showering after would be important to wash off any potentially harmful bacteria.

    Can she play in a sprinkler instead?
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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    Basically, the issue is lack of FC.

    The algae will be using it up fairly quickly. Without FC, and with all that algae, what ends up happening is certain bacteria have the potential to thrive, since their isn't as much FC, and the algae will provide a better environment for it (less sunlight, and potentially a food source?)

    Lakes and rivers get algae, but they are more of an ecosystem. They have a balance of bacteria, much greater water volumes, and filtration going on by the plant life (at least in a healthy lake). There are issues with bacteria in lakes too, many beaches will shut down on really hot days if the bacteria takes off, it's just much more likely to happen in the small space of a pool.

    With a green pool, you end up with a much higher chance of getting an illness (especially a throat or ear infection).

    It isn't guaranteed though. It is more of a statistical thing.
    Jim

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    When the pool is full of algae the FC level is going to be zero. Without any FC there is no way of knowing if the water is safe. The algae is harmless, but various other things could get into the water and be dangerous and you wouldn't know until there was a problem. While you are not guarantied to get sick from swimming in a pool with algae, it really isn't a good idea.
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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    Another reason I think it's a bad idea is....

    What if she goes under and you can't find her?!!!!

    That alone scares the **** outta me more than "What if she catches something bad". KWIM?
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    Thanks for the replies!

    Here were our results yesterday:

    FC 9.4 (too high for swimming IMHO)
    CC 0
    pH 7.4
    Alkalinity 120
    Calcium 300
    CA 46
    Saturation -.1

    This morning FC was 4.2 and everything else was basically the same, including 0 chloramines. Haven't shocked yet. The pool is nearly blue, kinda blue-green and we can see the bottom. Still some pollen on the bottom -- in drifts, so I don't think it's mustard algae.

    I'm planning to shock heavily very soon, since clearly there is algae eating up the FC ... but am thinking about letting her take a dip first ... undecided about that.
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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    She's still wearing a PFD while swimming ... and I can see the bottom easily. The water is basically clear but with a slight blue-green tint, like very weak tea.
    -----------------------------------
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    BBB since the first month! :-)

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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    So you've seen lots of reasons why it's dangerous. Her feet in the water? Playing with fire! It's more like a cesspool or stagnant puddle than a living, breathing lake or pond or river. Algae in them is no big deal and is part of the ecosystem.

    Algae in your pool is the canary in the coal mine. The algae "eats" the chlorine so there's none to kill the dangerous bacteria, like the microscopic trace amounts of fecal matter every swimmer leaves. The chlorine hammers them into sterility--but algae robs you of that power.
    Stay ahead of your water!

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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    Okay, the fecal matter did it for me. No swimming today!

    About to shock with tons of bleach. When the water is crystal clear and FC stabilizes between 1-5 and all other levels remain normal, I'll let her swim again. (Anything else I should think about?)

    My daughter curses you, and I thank you!
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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    Brush your pool!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    I have to say: How is sticking your feet in the water is any more dangerous than sticking your arm in the water to take a water sample? She's not dangling them in for hours -- just stepping onto the steps, and getting out again when I tell her no. In comparison, I've been sticking my arm in repeatedly over the past three days while testing and vacuuming! Am I playing with fire too?

    Also, lest anyone call the authorities on me for letting my child put her feet in the water: the water IS NOT green soup! It is clear to the bottom and mainly blue, with a very slight greenish tinge. If it were soup, as it has been before, she wouldn't want to jump in. My spouse and family think it looks fine for swimming, but I can see that the color isn't right, and I've been testing. Having been through this when we opened, I know we are soooo close ... but not quite there!

    Been brushing frequently, vacuuming tons, backwashing, testing ... it's clearing up quickly, thanks to all the good advice I received on this forum!
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
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    BBB since the first month! :-)

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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    In case anyone is still reading this thread: I had to add water to the pool yesterday after hours of vacuuming, and that is part of the reason my FC dropped from 9.4 to 4.2. Prior to that, it had been holding overnight. Which is another reason I wasn't too worried about the green tint.

    Okay, I'll stop obsessing now ...
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    Feet/arms/hands etc are most likely fine. Your pool would have to be pretty bad for that to be an issue.

    With an adult, it's probably fine. I've swam just fine in some pretty ugly water bodies in my life that are much worse than a pool w/ algae.

    But, as a parent myself, I don't think a child will understand the difference. For that reason, I would probably make the pool off limits entirely until it is cleared up.
    Jim

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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    Good point. For the same reasons that she doesn't understand why she can't swim in a clear but slightly green pool, she wouldn't understand that her feet can get wet, but not her head.
    -----------------------------------
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    BBB since the first month! :-)

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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    Hard to explain stuff to kids sometimes! Yeah, I would let the feet and legs, too, but nothing else!
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    Re: Consequences of swimming in green pool?

    As a 10-year old, my friends and I would sneak off and swim in a stagnant part of the Missouri River.

    We all got leeches and two of us got empetigo. (bad skin rash).....more than once!

    I would hope my risk/reward assesment has improved somewhat since then but I would like to think it helped build my immune system as I have been an incredibly healthy adult.

    Moderation is the key to all things and I would consider being a germaphobe as silly as swimming in the Missouri.
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