Chlorine Demand Issue - still have white, cloudy water

annrepka

Member
Jul 1, 2010
10
Hi all -
We're brand new to the forum and found it because of a problem we've been having - hope we can get some advice. We have a 30,000 gallon Desjoyaux inground vinyl pool with the frog mineral/chlorine system. We opened late this year and had a significant green algae problem to start - finally got it to go away (apparently) with shock, algecide and filtering. But our water stayed cloudy and all of our testing (test strips and pool store) showed 0 for both free and total chlorine over multiple days.

We were finally told about the "chlorine demand test" that a couple of companies do - we went to Bioguard and they told us we needed to add approx. 20 lbs of chlorine (using their burnout product). We were a little shocked at the price, but found a sale on liquid shock at another pool supply store (Namco) and basically added that much chlorine in liquid shock.

That evening, we also found this webpage and read about the correct approach to addressing this problem - i.e., adding bleach or shock to a desired free chlorine ppm level, and keeping it there until the free chlorine overnight demand test shows no decline (anyway, that's how I'm interpreting it). So we went ahead and continued adding bleach for the next day and a half using test strip estimates and the pool calculator (we also ordered a test kit - the TF-100 - it arrived yesterday afternoon).

Based on our initial test yesterday evening, it looks like we've been achieving a lot higher free chlorine than we needed to - our first test result last evening was 48 ppm (I actually diluted the sample with half pool water, half distilled so I wouldn't use up all the reagant too quickly). Our test result this morning (using same dilution method) was 52 ppm - I'm assuming the slight difference is inconsequential considering the dilution approach, so basically we're concluding our free chlorine showed no drop overnight. (To explain how I've been diluting - I use 5 ml pool water, 5 ml distilled water as a test - then I just go with the number of drops of reagant used, rather than dividing by half).

So we're tentatively (hopefully) thinking we've overcome our chlorine demand issue - however our pool water remains cloudy - it's a whitish cloudy, and when I clean our bag filters off (the desjoyaux pool uses bag filters that you can pull out and hose off) I see a whitish stuff that basically has the consistency of a runny mud or something).

What should be our next step? We're thinking we're done with adding bleach at such high levels for a while - but wanted to ask the experts. Our current levels this morning are -

ph - 7.4
FC - 52 ppm
CYA - 80 ppm
TA - 120

Again, last night our FC levels were 48 ppm - since I'm doing a dilution of the test sample, I figured the differences were inconsequential. Also, we didn't worry right now about testing for calcium - we have an inground vinyl pool.

Anyway, we appreciate all the information we've gotten so far from the webpage - I feel I know a lot more now about what's going on than over the past 4 years we've had the pool. In the past, the pool has actually been pretty trouble-free; this is the first major "crisis" we've had to deal with. Thanks in advance for your advice.
 

frustratedpoolmom

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How do you normally chlorinate? CYA of 80 is very high if you don't have an SWG. We usually recommend 30-50....

Once you defeat an algae issue, it can take several days for the water to clear - sounds like you are doing what you need to - hosing off the filter as you go.
 

annrepka

Member
Jul 1, 2010
10
Hello again -
Can't believe the quick responses, thanks. The filter is a little unusual to describe - it's basically two textile bags, about 40 inches long, 16" in diameter - the filters can be removed and hosed off - they come in different pore sizes, right now we're using the 6 micron size and running the pump 24/7.

We haven't been vacuuming much, instead brushing the walls and then filtering - we're also running our dolphin robot cleaner. No leaves or detritus in the pool.

If this is just dead algae, how long will it take to clear? Is 6 micron a fine enough filtration? It's as fine as we can filter, our other bags are 15 and 30 micron.

Thanks again.
 

annrepka

Member
Jul 1, 2010
10
Oops - forgot to answer the chlorine question. Our normal chlorination has been through the pool frog system using chlorine backpacks - I agree the CYA is high, when we went into this a couple of days ago we were reading a CYA of 50 on our test strips and had a pool store reading of 60 - this is our first time using the test kit for CYA, so we may be off a little - it seems like a pretty subjective test.
 

frustratedpoolmom

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Do you see my sig - the part about "dissatisfied Pool Frog" owner... guess how I found TFP? LOL

When I used test strips they read 30-50 for my CYA, it was actually over 100.

When you do the test, do it outdoors in bright sunlight. Turn your back to the sun, so that your body shields the view tube. The dot should completely dissappear.
 

annrepka

Member
Jul 1, 2010
10
And here's a really dumb question I forgot to ask initially - when can we start swimming in the pool? Is there a certain FC level we need to drop down to?
 

frustratedpoolmom

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It is safe to swim UP TO shock level. So you need to confirm your CYA level to know what your shock level is. If the water is cloudy there is the risk of clarity preventing someone on the bottom of the pool from being seen if they are in trouble... If you have CCs present they can irritate.

Additionally, FC levels above 10 can make the PH read a 'false-high'. I'd be curious to know what your PH actually is, I suspect its lower than 7.4. Low PH can also cause irritation.

Confirm your CYA level today. Tonight do the overnight test, don't add any bleach. don't dilute - use it straight so the count is accurate.

I would recommend if the FC holds overnight you let the FC drop down below shock level before considering swimming - I'd confirm the PH accurately before swimming as well.
 

annrepka

Member
Jul 1, 2010
10
I think I've figured out at least part of the cloudiness issue - I noticed when pulling our 6 micron filter bags this morning (you lift them up out of the filter well area) that as the water passed through them a lot of the cloudiness did also - I think 6 micron might not be fine enough to filter out the smaller particles.

Is it ok to use a pool clarifier to help "clump up" the particles and make them easier to filter? We have some stuff called "Majestic Blue" pool clarifier - we've never tried using a clarifier but I do think this stuff is passing through our filter and I don't really know what else to try. Any recommendations? Also, should I post this as a separate question on the website (I'm a little concerned it will get buried in this thread).

Thanks
 

JasonLion

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We don't normally recommend clarifier because it usually doesn't work, but every now and then it can make a dramatic difference. If you already have some sitting around you might as well try it.
 

duraleigh

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water-clarity-and-showin-off-just-a-little-t23969.html?hilit=showin off shows water filtered with a 30 micron sand filter...no clarifiers, no DE, no nothing....just sand.

I doubt the filtration is your issue. Perhaps you need to clean the filters more often. If the diret is flowing through, they may be saturated and need to be cleaned to cpature more junk.

I am not familiar with the filtering system you describe....We'd love to see a pic.

From your description, I believe you are in the last stages of clearing your pool and just need a little more patience. I would brush often, run the pump 24/7 and keep the FC around 30 until your pool water is sparkling.

Use of a clarifier may (and can sometimes be very dramatic) speed things up but most of us don't like them and they are frequently completely ineffective.......that's your call.....however, the price is right. :lol:

Most of us don't like them because they confuse the issue. Example.... (and perhaps very applicable to your pool) Let's say you have killed all the algae in a pool and left it with tons of dead algae to filter out. That usually takes a few days but then it clears very quickly at the end of the process. So the day before your pool was about to clear from just filtering alone, you dumped in some clarifier or flocculant which had absolutely no effect but, Voila!, the next morning your pool was clear.

You immediately have become a huge believer in clarifier (or floc) as the magic bullet and never learned how the clearing process worked.


Anyway, it does sound to me like you are simply over saturating the filter bags so they can't hold anymore detritus and it passes through. Just like a sponge can only absorb so much water. Would love to see a pic of the filtration.

Where are you located?
 

anonapersona

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I've got a question... if you turn off the filter, does this cloud settle to the bottom? If so, can you vac to waste?
 

annrepka

Member
Jul 1, 2010
10
Oops - forgot to respond to Dave - we're in the Frederick MD area. Our pool is pretty different from our neighbors, our pool pump is located in a hatch in our pool deck and we have minimal piping to circulate water. Basically, every fall I just pull the pump out of the hatch and take it inside for the winter. We have a filter compartment housing two filter bags that the pump pulls water through - generally (when things are going well, not like now) we pull the filters out once a week and hose them down. During this mess we've been going through I'm pulling them at least once a day and monitoring buildup on the filters pretty frequently.

I don't have any pictures I can post right now but here's a link to desjoyaux pools

http://desjoyauxusa.com/advanced-pool-technology/
 

annrepka

Member
Jul 1, 2010
10
Hi anonapersona - at one stage during our mess I did see that the cloud had settled to the bottom. I tried vacuuming, but the material just came back through our pool return - it was passing through our filters. The stuff just got mixed back into the pool and clouded everything up.

I haven't seen it settle out like that since, if it does I'll try the vac again.
 

anonapersona

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annrepka said:
Hi anonapersona - at one stage during our mess I did see that the cloud had settled to the bottom. I tried vacuuming, but the material just came back through our pool return - it was passing through our filters. The stuff just got mixed back into the pool and clouded everything up.

I haven't seen it settle out like that since, if it does I'll try the vac again.
Do you know how to vac to waste? I cannot help you (I've never even vacuumed my pool) but there are probably some here who can help you see if that can be done. That would let the dirty water exit the pool and not be returned at all.
 

annrepka

Member
Jul 1, 2010
10
Unfortunately, we don't have a vac to waste mode with our pool. Our story today - I added some clarifier last night (I know opinions were mixed, but we had the stuff) and the pool actually does seem a little clearer today - don't know if that was the normal progression or due to the clarifier. We took a FC reading last night and got a 51 ppm; this morning at about 8:30 am it was 46 ppm.
 

duraleigh

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It still seems to me like your big issue is overloading the filter bags. (when you install a clean one, does the junk still pass through immediately?) I think you will either have to clean the 6 micron bag much more often than you are now, or use the 30 or 15 mil (that's what I would do) until your water started to clear noticeabley and then switch to the 6 micron bag. That should allow you to not have to clean the bags so often.

That said, you're still gonna' have to clean them pretty frequently to clear your pool. Thanks for the link on the filtration system......it is different.
 

annrepka

Member
Jul 1, 2010
10
Our tests today shows our high free chlorine level (50 ppm) continues, possibly due to our high CYA (80 ppm). We saw something online called a chlorine neutralizer - some sort of sodium thiosulfate compound. Anyone have any experience with these (and should I pose this question as a separate thread)? If it "neutralizes" the free chlorine, what does it turn it into?

We realize if we just leave the pool alone for a while, the free chlorine will eventually dissipate - but at the rate we're going, it seems the summer will be over before that happens.
 

frustratedpoolmom

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As long as your FC is still higher than shock level - I'd leave it alone and allow it to drop down on it's own, should only take a day or two before it comes down. You're not adding chlorine correct? There should not be a bacpac in the frog system. Your CYA is too high as it is and the bacpacs are causing the CYA to get higher.

I don't recommend the use of the neutralizer. You are still WAY above shock level, but you still had an overnight loss of 5 on Sunday. Did you do another overnight test this morning?