Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Prescott, Wisconsin
    Posts
    220

    Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    We've been locked in the "mustard algae or pollen?" debate for about four days, after the bottom of our pool had yellowish drifts, then a powdery coat on the bottom & sloped sides (but not vertical walls) after trying to vacuum the drifts.

    On the "pollen" side: Doesn't grow on the vertical walls, settles into circulation-pattern drifts, doesn't feel slimy, FC holds overnight, zero CC, skimmer sock coated with yellow, no worse in shady areas, powderly when dried on cement, and a water sample settled into clear water.

    On the "algae" side: Worse after solar cover is on, water slightly yellow, water sample eventually grew green algae, and there is coating on sloped sides.

    We tentatively decided it was pollen, and did our regular shock (to 15ppm) last night. Today, the substance was in larger drifts on the bottom than before, again in the circulation pattern. The first thing I did was backwash the filter -- and the water was bright yellow!

    Does this say anything definitive about the problem?

    I'm planning to test again tonight, then tomorrow and compare to see if FC drops, so I don't have any numbers on that yet. But here are yesterday's numbers, before raising the water level and shocking:

    FC 1.6
    CC 0
    pH 7.4
    TA 115
    CH 265
    CA (out of reagents, but dipstick shows plenty)
    Sat 0
    Temp 81F

    Also: if it's pollen, will slowly sweeping it into the floor filter take care of the problem? (My husband's idea -- he hates vacuuming.)
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  2. Back To Top    #2
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    SWSuburban Chicago, IL
    Posts
    11,963

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Quote Originally Posted by singerteacher
    We've been locked in the "mustard algae or pollen?" debate for about four days, after the bottom of our pool had yellowish drifts, then a powdery coat on the bottom & sloped sides (but not vertical walls) after trying to vacuum the drifts.

    On the "pollen" side: Doesn't grow on the vertical walls, settles into circulation-pattern drifts, doesn't feel slimy, FC holds overnight, zero CC, skimmer sock coated with yellow, no worse in shady areas, powderly when dried on cement, and a water sample settled into clear water.

    On the "algae" side: Worse after solar cover is on, water slightly yellow, water sample eventually grew green algae, and there is coating on sloped sides.

    We tentatively decided it was pollen, and did our regular shock (to 15ppm) last night. Today, the substance was in larger drifts on the bottom than before, again in the circulation pattern. The first thing I did was backwash the filter -- and the water was bright yellow!

    Does this say anything definitive about the problem?

    I'm planning to test again tonight, then tomorrow and compare to see if FC drops, so I don't have any numbers on that yet. But here are yesterday's numbers, before raising the water level and shocking:

    FC 1.6
    CC 0
    pH 7.4
    TA 115
    CH 265
    CA (out of reagents, but dipstick shows plenty)
    Sat 0
    Temp 81F

    Also: if it's pollen, will slowly sweeping it into the floor filter take care of the problem? (My husband's idea -- he hates vacuuming.)
    I assume by "CA" and "Plenty" you mean CYA? At any level of CYA, even 10ppm, a FC of 1.6 is too low to properly sanitize your pool. At the very minimum, I would maintain 2ppm at all times. Your CYA should be 30-50, and test strips are woefully inadequate for accurately measuring CYA. Again, a FC test that has the same results after an overnight test, means it's not algae. The backwash water being yellow is from all the gook you vacumed up.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Prescott, Wisconsin
    Posts
    220

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Yes, by CA I meant CYA. I've seen both abbreviations, but I'll be careful to use CYA in the future so I don't irritate people.

    I had read (elsewhere) that 1.5ppm of FC is adequate. I like the idea of having as little chlorine as possible, so I've been maintaining FC between 1.5ppm and 2ppm. However, I will change my goal to between 2ppm and 3ppm, per this forum. (Is 1.6ppm that far from 2ppm, from a health standpoint?)

    While I was strongly encouraged to purchase a test kit (the Taylor T-2006 test kit was mentioned most often, so I bought that one), nobody mentioned that I'd burn through the CYA (!!) reagent so quickly! I noticed now that the TF Test Kits contain a more balanced reagent amount for the average pool user. But while that information is mentioned in Pool School, it's fairly buried and somewhat cryptic, especially for the overwhelmed novice. Maybe it could be made a little more obvious? At any rate, I'm aware that dip tests are inadequate, but with no local pool stores carrying reagents I'm stuck with shipping delays and doing what I can in the meantime. It happens.

    Hijack: Speaking of which, any recommendations for online pool stores? My current choice is rather slow. /End Hijack
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  4. Back To Top    #4
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,887

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    The ideal FC level strongly depends on the CYA level. The more CYA you have the more FC you need. See this chart to get an idea of what the relationship is.

    Trying to maintain the lowest possible FC level is asking for trouble. At lower FC levels, CC tends to rise and it is far simpler for algae to get started. There is certianly no point in wildly overdoing the FC level, but having a comfortable margin above the minimum FC level is much safer in the long run.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  5. Back To Top    #5
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    SWSuburban Chicago, IL
    Posts
    11,963

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Quote Originally Posted by singerteacher
    Yes, by CA I meant CYA. I've seen both abbreviations, but I'll be careful to use CYA in the future so I don't irritate people.

    I had read (elsewhere) that 1.5ppm of FC is adequate. I like the idea of having as little chlorine as possible, so I've been maintaining FC between 1.5ppm and 2ppm. However, I will change my goal to between 2ppm and 3ppm, per this forum. (Is 1.6ppm that far from 2ppm, from a health standpoint?)

    While I was strongly encouraged to purchase a test kit (the Taylor T-2006 test kit was mentioned most often, so I bought that one), nobody mentioned that I'd burn through the CYA (!!) reagent so quickly! I noticed now that the TF Test Kits contain a more balanced reagent amount for the average pool user. But while that information is mentioned in Pool School, it's fairly buried and somewhat cryptic, especially for the overwhelmed novice. Maybe it could be made a little more obvious? At any rate, I'm aware that dip tests are inadequate, but with no local pool stores carrying reagents I'm stuck with shipping delays and doing what I can in the meantime. It happens.

    Hijack: Speaking of which, any recommendations for online pool stores? My current choice is rather slow. /End Hijack
    I didn't mean to sound irratated....

    Yes, it's hard to completely absorb all of the information it is definetly overwhelming. I swear when I first joined the forum I must have read everything like 6 or 7 times before it finally started to click.... I was adjusting my CYA at the start of this season and my reagent is 1/2 gone, and I have the TF100...and it comes with more reagent than the Taylor! These are basic kits, when there are specific issues or problems, its probably wise for people to order extra regents. So like if you are converting from Baq, order extra FAS-DPD, if you are adjusting CYA order extra reagent for that, etc....

    As your CYA starts to hold, leaving it below 2 will also allow algae to take hold....so keep that in mind that as the CYA goes up, so does your min FC so better safe than green....

    Anyway, good luck, let us know where the CYA results end up!
    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

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Prescott, Wisconsin
    Posts
    220

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Good news: FC dropped only 0.2ppm overnight. It's pollen.

    On the dipstick test (only thing I have for now), I'm getting 30-50ppm of CYA. I haven't had a problem holding CYA in the past, and since I'm getting a consistent reading on those dipsticks, I think I'm fine for CYA. Don't need to fiddle with it ... but it will be good to know the exact amount.

    I see that at those CYA levels, according to the Pool Calculator I should maintain at least 2 - 4ppm FC. I'm comfortable shooting for 2ppm, but I dislike the idea of more than that. I've been maintaining at 1.5ppm FC and have had no problems with algae or anything else, and I like the fact that my 4-year-old (who spends almost the whole day in the pool) isn't getting much chlorine. (I'm one of those health nut kinds of people who filters my drinking and shower water, so I'll be a hard sell for a higher chlorine level!)

    Regarding the reagent amounts: I don't think there are any pools that would use up all the chemicals evenly. Everyone will use more CYA (because you have to use so much reagent with each test) and FC reagents (because you test more often) than are allotted in the Taylor kit. It would be great if Pool School noted this info more clearly on the test kit page, so we can order extra from the get-go.

    Thanks for everyone's help with this!
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  7. Back To Top    #7

    In the Industry
    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sebring, Florida
    Posts
    28,418

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Regarding the reagent amounts: I don't think there are any pools that would use up all the chemicals evenly. Everyone will use more CYA (because you have to use so much reagent with each test) and FC reagents (because you test more often) than are allotted in the Taylor kit. It would be great if Pool School noted this info more clearly on the test kit page, so we can order extra from the get-go.
    If you have a pool that is currently in balance, there is enough material in the kit to last at least one season and frequently two. If you start out with problematic pool water or simply like to test a lot you will run out of reagent sooner.

    I can increase the cost of the kit and include more reagent but it "punishes" those who don't have water problems and the cost of the kit is already high enough, IMO.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  8. Back To Top    #8
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    SWSuburban Chicago, IL
    Posts
    11,963

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Regarding the reagent amounts: I don't think there are any pools that would use up all the chemicals evenly. Everyone will use more CYA (because you have to use so much reagent with each test) and FC reagents (because you test more often) than are allotted in the Taylor kit. It would be great if Pool School noted this info more clearly on the test kit page, so we can order extra from the get-go.
    If you have a pool that is currently in balance, there is enough material in the kit to last at least one season and frequently two. If you start out with problematic pool water or simply like to test a lot you will run out of reagent sooner.

    I can increase the cost of the kit and include more reagent but it "punishes" those who don't have water problems and the cost of the kit is already high enough, IMO.
    Please don't do that!!! LOL...maybe you can make "specialized" kits that cost more than the basic kit...hehehe how about a TF-100 G (for those with a green pool) or TF-100 Baq-G (conversions) which includes an extra set of reagents of the FAS-DPD; and then a TF-100 C (for those with CYA issues) which includes extra CYA reagent ....

    My kit is lasting me just fine, but my pool was balanced to start. People with troubles will have more issues....
    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

  9. Back To Top    #9
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    SWSuburban Chicago, IL
    Posts
    11,963

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Quote Originally Posted by singerteacher
    Good news: FC dropped only 0.2ppm overnight. It's pollen.

    On the dipstick test (only thing I have for now), I'm getting 30-50ppm of CYA. I haven't had a problem holding CYA in the past, and since I'm getting a consistent reading on those dipsticks, I think I'm fine for CYA. Don't need to fiddle with it ... but it will be good to know the exact amount.

    I see that at those CYA levels, according to the Pool Calculator I should maintain at least 2 - 4ppm FC. I'm comfortable shooting for 2ppm, but I dislike the idea of more than that. I've been maintaining at 1.5ppm FC and have had no problems with algae or anything else, and I like the fact that my 4-year-old (who spends almost the whole day in the pool) isn't getting much chlorine. (I'm one of those health nut kinds of people who filters my drinking and shower water, so I'll be a hard sell for a higher chlorine level!)
    Just wanted to add one more thing.

    Back before I found TFP, I used test strips, and they showed my CYA was 30-50. In actuality, it ended up being over 100, which was causing me all sorts of trouble.

    My water was ALWAYS clear, it never turned green. But I developed tea-colored organic stains, my blonde friends and family members had their hair turn green, and I could never maintain a FC residual. It turned out my CYA was too high from using Trichlor, so I couldn't hold an adequate FC level, leading to the stains, and my green hair issues were caused by copper from the Pool Frog.

    Knowledge is key, and a good test kit. You CAN maintain low FC levels, that doesn't make it any "safer" or "gentler" than a slightly higher FC level with a corresponding CYA level. The effects are the same. But if you desire to remain at 2-3, then you must be accurate on your CYA level, and diligent about adding chlorine. With low CYA and low FC, it wouldn't take much sunlight to rob your pool of the FC and then your kids are swimming in unsanitized water. Just more for your consideration.
    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

  10. Back To Top    #10
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,887

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Running with FC below the recommended level is making the pool dramatically less safe and less healthy!

    If everything else was exactly the same then lower FC levels would be better. But everything else is not exactly the same. Maintaining appropriate FC levels protects you from things that can get into your water that are seriously dangerous. Lowering the FC level removes some of that protection and opens you up to some seriously dangerous risks. 95% of the time you can run at lower FC levels and nothing bad will happen. 4.9% of the time lower FC levels will lead to minor problems. But the remaining 0.1% of the time something seriously bad can happen. If you care about your health, as you say you do, you will not be taking those risks.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Prescott, Wisconsin
    Posts
    220

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Please note: I didn't complain that the TF kit has the wrong amount of reagents. The TF kit has a balanced supply of reagents. I suggested that since the Taylor kit (not the TF kit) does NOT have a balanced amount of reagents (the TF kit, for example, has 4oz of CYA reagent, while the Taylor only has 1.5oz), it would be nice if that information was more clearly apparent to the novice. It's kinda buried in Pool School. I wouldn't suggest changing the TF kit at all. But it would be good to let people know that if they do purchase the Taylor kit, they should buy more reagents. (Of course, now I wished I had bought the TF kit, because I wouldn't be out of CYA reagent ... but I digress.)

    I'm able to hold FC easily, so I think my CYA is in the good range ... but I'll find out soon. I was lucky and found TFP soon after opening my "new-to-me" pool, so I've been on BBB since the first month of ownership.

    What exactly are the risks of keeping FC at 1.5 (where I've been keeping it) instead of 2ppm? Has anyone experienced those side effects personally? 1ppm is the minimum recommended by government agencies, ANSI/APSP and the National Swimming Pool Foundation ... and that's with CYA in a range from 0 to 100ppm!

    Also, does anyone know risks of swimming in water with high chlorine? If you have a high CYA level, then according to the Pool Calculator you need a correspondingly high FC level ... maybe even over 10ppm? What about the kids jumping in the pool the day after a shock, when it's usually under 10ppm ... but then you test and find out it's over 10ppm?
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  12. Back To Top    #12
    ivyleager's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Raleigh-Durham,NC
    Posts
    489

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Regarding the reagent amounts: I don't think there are any pools that would use up all the chemicals evenly. Everyone will use more CYA (because you have to use so much reagent with each test) and FC reagents (because you test more often) than are allotted in the Taylor kit. It would be great if Pool School noted this info more clearly on the test kit page, so we can order extra from the get-go.
    If you have a pool that is currently in balance, there is enough material in the kit to last at least one season and frequently two. If you start out with problematic pool water or simply like to test a lot you will run out of reagent sooner.

    I can increase the cost of the kit and include more reagent but it "punishes" those who don't have water problems and the cost of the kit is already high enough, IMO.
    I just go to the local pool store to pick up extra CYA bottles. Actually, initially bought Ben's kit and have been restocking same from aforementioned local pool store............no offense.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    N.E. South Carolina
    Posts
    68

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Quote Originally Posted by singerteacher
    We tentatively decided it was pollen, and did our regular shock (to 15ppm) last night. Today, the substance was in larger drifts on the bottom than before, again in the circulation pattern. The first thing I did was backwash the filter -- and the water was bright yellow!

    Does this say anything definitive about the problem?

    .)
    In the spring, my backwash water is often yellow, due to pollen. I guess the filter is doing what it is supposed to by catching the pollen.
    Judy

    Designated "pool girl" for 18' x 40' in-ground vinyl pool built in 2006

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Hi. I'm a newbie. So glad to find this site.

    I have the pollen here too, pretty bad. It's all over everything from the spa cover, deck, grill, new convertible, and yes, the pool. It seems to be only in the spring here. (Chicago burbs) What a mess. Yesterday we were watching it flying everywhere. When you see it in the air it makes you realize that you are breathing it in too. Yuck!

    I don't know if there is anything you can do about it other than wait for the season to end and keep cleaning it out of the filter.
    Don
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Pool: 23,500 gal, plaster, built in '75, diving pool, DE system, 1 HP pump all original except the DE tank.

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Prescott, Wisconsin
    Posts
    220

    Stirring up the pollen when vacuuming -- how NOT to do this?

    I'm using skimmer socks and vacuuming more often than I'd like. But it seems like every time I vacuum, I'm just stirring up the pollen. I know I'm pulling some pollen from the water because the backwash is yellow, but in a few hours there's another layer of pollen on the bottom when it settles. Frustrating! It can take 5 sessions of vacuuming the entire pool to get all the pollen.

    Is there a better way of getting rid of pollen than vacuuming and skimmer socks? I am contemplating the purchase of an expensive automatic pool cleaner, but I'm not sure whether it will help or not. Won't it stir up the pollen, too? Are some better than others at NOT stirring up dust and pollen?
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cupertino, CA
    Posts
    1,966

    Re: Uncommon for backwash water to be bright yellow?

    Quote Originally Posted by singerteacher
    Regarding the reagent amounts: I don't think there are any pools that would use up all the chemicals evenly. Everyone will use more CYA (because you have to use so much reagent with each test) and FC reagents (because you test more often) than are allotted in the Taylor kit.
    You don't really need to test CYA very often, a couple times a season is probably enough, unless you're fiddling with the levels or get excessive amounts of rain (which will dilute everything in the pool). Or you get really obsessive about testing. Or have two lumps of water to watch, like I do.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •