A bit of trouble with high TA and cloudy water


Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2012
St. Louis, MO
This is my first post, but I have been reading the forums non-stop for several months with the greatest appreciation! If the below is too detailed, or should be multiple posts, I apologize in advance. I'm still learning what you need to know.

My pool was a black swamp to start with this year. Now it is sparkling, with the bottom clearly visible, but just a bit cloudy still, if that makes sense. This is the first year I am trying the BBB method, using my new TF-100 test kit. I'm already having fun just understanding the process better!

I would like to get to a point where I can add and maintain borates, but think I have hit a couple of significant snags, at least for me. For the assembled experts on this board, they are probably not as much an issue.

1. For some reason, my TA seems really high for no apparent reason. I understand that this a problem when contemplating using borates. It was well within the Pool Calculator suggested limits, then it skyrocketed in a few days to 220. I did have to add substantial water after vacuuming to waste to get rid of bottom debris. Our tap water TA tests at 60. Other recent chemical changes: I was not shocking, as FC loss was only about .5 per night for several nights and CC was less than 1. Then it dropped about 4 points over two rainy days. I also tested mid-day rather than in the morning, as preferred, so I suspect that the chlorine drop is probably to be expected based on rain and intense St. Louis sun today. I also added CYA last wednesday by placing the Pool Calculator recommended amount in a sock in the skimmer. It was totally dissolved by Friday. In what order should I take the steps to lower TA and keep pH where it belongs, while getting chlorine (and any other readings below needing attention) adjusted. When the pool was black, chlorine was the main focus. Now that we are getting to finer adjustments, the order in which to make Pool Calculator suggested steps are less clear to me.

2. Your indirect help has gotten my from black swamp to really quite good, but I want to get the water clearer per my specific test results. I do have about two tablespoons of sand by the bottom of the pool under the two return jets nearest the filter. This has accumulated over three or four days. At one point when I had the new variable speed pump at it's highest and on filter, I actually had small leaves and debris come out of the jets, but this does not happen at normal circulation pressure. At that point I had not backwashed for several days, and much muck had been vacuumed, although pressure had not increased a lot. Other posts on the board seem to indicate that the amount of sand in the pool does not indicate a broken lateral, but I am not sure what it does indicate. I stirred up the sand filter with a hose until the overflow ran clear as recommended on the board to deal with potential channeling. Clearly the sand in pool potentially signals a problem that could be a cause of the slightly cloudy water, but I am unsure what step/test to take next.

Many thanks for your time!

Today's test results:
pH: 7.2
FC: 2.5
CC: 1
TA: 220
CH: 120
CYA: 40


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Get some more chlorine in there pronto, it's too low for that CYA level. Aim the jets at the surface or something to get it aerating, pH will rise all by itself. And each time you adjust pH back down, TA will go down a little more.

If you keep FC from going below 5 ever for the next three days, it will probably clear up. And if it doesn't, then try adding DE to the filter.


Well-known member
May 21, 2012
York Pennsylvania
Just had the same issue. Pool was clear, just not crystal clear . I added 2 cups DE powder to my sand filter. Over night my filter needed back flushing and my pool regained that clear sparkle. Thanks again to a suggestion from TFP.