Cloudy & Foaming - DE issue? Next steps?

JimmyGee

Member
Jun 16, 2022
11
Long Island, NY
Hello everyone! I am new to this forum, but belong to others and greatly appreciate the experts who contribute their time, expertise and advice to help others.

My pool is a 20x40 steel wall/vinyl liner (installed last year) 36k gallon igp. I have a 1.5hp Hayward pump/DE filter (model 4800? I think), without a heater.

I pulled the cover off about 3 weeks ago. The water looked great (clear) with some leaves in the bottom. I raked out about 80%, and then unexpectedly had to go out of town for a few days. I then assembled the filter and found the pump motor burned out. A replacement took 2-3 days. By this time the pool water was a green swamp. Added a case of shock (4 gallons 12.5% sodium hypochlorite) and ran the filter overnight. The next morning things were much worse. Very cloudy/murky and deep green. I couldn’t see more than 6” below the surface. Looking at the return jets I could see DE coming out. Disassembled the filter to check the grids and found the top manifold cracked. A replacement took another 3 days. Inspected the grids - all seemed fine (but replaced 5 of the 8 since I had new ones on the shelf). Added another ~8 gallons of shock to turn the water more blue than green, and let the pool settle overnight. In the morning I vacuumed the shallow end to waste where I could see DE pooled on the bottom, but I cannot see into the deep end so pushing the vacuum around - which I did, is like working blindfolded.

I added some algecide which produced some foam. Okay, a LOT of foam. About 1/3 of the pool surface is covered with foam. I then took a water sample to Leslies for analysis (results are ugly):

Free Cl2 = 0.18
Total Cl2 = 0.42
pH = 8.1
Total Alk = 48
Ca hardness = 116
Cyanuric acid = 5
Iron =0.1
Copper = 0
Phosphates = 152
TDS = 900

Today I added approx 30lbs alkalinity up and about 7 lbs of dry acid (over about 12 hours as directed). In the morning I’ll add a couple of gallons of shock and have the water checked again, but I see little change in the appearance. The tech at Leslies felt my issue was related to pool chemistry, but I believe even once the water is properly adjusted I will still have a DE problem causing the cloudiness.

I should also mention I have a ring around the perimeter what looks like granulated chlorine. I’ve only use liquid shock (since forever), and believe what I am seeing is DE aggregating (result of the algecide).

I am looking for comments/advice on next steps. The usual guidance on a DE problem is to turn the filter off (for how long? 12 hrs?) to allow the DE to settle which should clear the water and allow me to vacuum it to waste. So far it has not settled enough. Also - why do I need to vacuum to waste? Aren’t the filter grids designed to capture DE? I recognize this might cause the filter pressure to raise quickly - but I can watch that and switch to waste and/or backwash if needed.

Again - I appreciate comments/advice.

I will attempt to attach a photo (could be the worst foaming anyone has ever seen!).

Thanks in advance.
 

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JimmyGee

Member
Jun 16, 2022
11
Long Island, NY
Hello everyone! I am new to this forum, but belong to others and greatly appreciate the experts who contribute their time, expertise and advice to help others.

My pool is a 20x40 steel wall/vinyl liner (installed last year) 36k gallon igp. I have a 1.5hp Hayward pump/DE filter (model 4800? I think), without a heater.

I pulled the cover off about 3 weeks ago. The water looked great (clear) with some leaves in the bottom. I raked out about 80%, and then unexpectedly had to go out of town for a few days. I then assembled the filter and found the pump motor burned out. A replacement took 2-3 days. By this time the pool water was a green swamp. Added a case of shock (4 gallons 12.5% sodium hypochlorite) and ran the filter overnight. The next morning things were much worse. Very cloudy/murky and deep green. I couldn’t see more than 6” below the surface. Looking at the return jets I could see DE coming out. Disassembled the filter to check the grids and found the top manifold cracked. A replacement took another 3 days. Inspected the grids - all seemed fine (but replaced 5 of the 8 since I had new ones on the shelf). Added another ~8 gallons of shock to turn the water more blue than green, and let the pool settle overnight. In the morning I vacuumed the shallow end to waste where I could see DE pooled on the bottom, but I cannot see into the deep end so pushing the vacuum around - which I did, is like working blindfolded.

I added some algecide which produced some foam. Okay, a LOT of foam. About 1/3 of the pool surface is covered with foam. I then took a water sample to Leslies for analysis (results are ugly):

Free Cl2 = 0.18
Total Cl2 = 0.42
pH = 8.1
Total Alk = 48
Ca hardness = 116
Cyanuric acid = 5
Iron =0.1
Copper = 0
Phosphates = 152
TDS = 900

Today I added approx 30lbs alkalinity up and about 7 lbs of dry acid (over about 12 hours as directed). In the morning I’ll add a couple of gallons of shock and have the water checked again, but I see little change in the appearance. The tech at Leslies felt my issue was related to pool chemistry, but I believe even once the water is properly adjusted I will still have a DE problem causing the cloudiness.

I should also mention I have a ring around the perimeter what looks like granulated chlorine. I’ve only use liquid shock (since forever), and believe what I am seeing is DE aggregating (result of the algecide).

I am looking for comments/advice on next steps. The usual guidance on a DE problem is to turn the filter off (for how long? 12 hrs?) to allow the DE to settle which should clear the water and allow me to vacuum it to waste. So far it has not settled enough. Also - why do I need to vacuum to waste? Aren’t the filter grids designed to capture DE? I recognize this might cause the filter pressure to raise quickly - but I can watch that and switch to waste and/or backwash if needed.

Again - I appreciate comments/advice.

I will attempt to attach a photo (could be the worst foaming anyone has ever seen!).

Thanks in advance.
One point of clarification - the pool is 20+ years old with a new vinyl liner installed last year.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
50,892
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Welcome to the forum!
You need to follow the SLAM Process. To do that, you need a proper test kit. I suggest the TF-100 or Taylor K2006C. A proper test kit is needed to get the accurate water chemistry results needed to follow the TFP protocols.

While you are waiting on your test kit, add 5 ppm FC worth of liquid chlorine / plain bleach to your pool each evening with the pump running. This will replenish the FC lost each day to the sun and also inhibit any algae in the water from growing further.
I suggest you read through Pool Care Basics - Trouble Free Pool and even look at a few of our videos TFP-TV - Trouble Free Pool
 

JimmyGee

Member
Jun 16, 2022
11
Long Island, NY
Mknauss

Many thanks for your response. I’ve been reading through the forum - it’s a great resource - and I’m learning a lot. I’ve had my pool for 20+ years and have never owned a test kit (heresy, I know!). I understand their are accuracy issues with test equipment, and pool stores have their own agenda, but I’ve found their testing “good enough” to keep my pool in use.

I found the pool marginally clearer this morning (I could see DE pooled on the bottom in the shallow end - the deeper end is way too opaque to see anything). Most, but not all of the foam was gone. I added two gallons of shock and turned the filter on. When I look at the return jets I believe I can see white DE coming out. The pool is getting more cloudy by the second, and the foam is building.

There’s no doubt I have a DE problem. I’d like to move away from the pool chemistry/slamming discussion (I’ll have the water tested again, but I’m certain that’s not the root of my issue) and focus on DE removal.

Allowing the pool to rest overnight does not seem sufficient to allow the DE to settle and the water to clear enough for me to see what I’m doing to vacuum it up. Does anyone have experience with this issue? How long should I have to wait? Note that the longer I wait the longer I am not adding chlorine and circulating the water - so as the DE settles I run the risk of algae formation and a green pool, and therefore cannot see the bottom.

Why can’t the filter grids remove the DE? Their normal operation is to load then with DE - so they must be impervious to it - so why aren’t they removing it from the water? And if it does settle sufficiently to be vacuumed, why do I need to vac to waste? Again, I am perplexed about the filter operation. I understand it may be a pressure issue and the rate of rise while vacuuming.

Lastly - I replaced the filter manifold and inspected the grids. All is good. What’s left? The spider gasket in the multi port? I replaced it three weeks ago, but didn’t have anything to glue it in with so did the press fit. On filter I know that water is being directed there as i can hear it filling and the air escaping the relief at the top. When the multiport is set to waste, the water does indeed exit the waste hose.

What am I missing???
 
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