Conversion -- suspecting White Water Mold?

slayne11

New member
May 21, 2020
2
Central Virginia
Hi! Found this forum after searching for answers for my son's reaction to swimming in my parents' baquacil pool. They installed the pool in summer 2014 and had good success with baqua -- up until last year. Opened the pool and it took longer than normal for the white cloudiness to go away. Lots of flocc and eventually it went clear (~2 weeks). My son started having skin rashes break out each night after swimming. All summer long he battled a painful itchy rash -- eczema, allergic reaction, breakdown from multiple hand-foot-mouth viruses, we couldn't figure it out. We went to several doctors and a dermatologist to try to figure it out. Talked to "pool guys" and the pool company about what could cause it. The only solution was "wet-wrapping" (treatment for severe eczema flare ups) each night after swimming. (Try telling a toddler he can't go swimming in the summer.) We slowly started ruling out different things -- sunscreen, hot tub, or pool? Since opening the pool this year, we finally nailed down that it is the baqua pool. The hot tub is chlorine and he never has any reaction to it (as well as no reaction to other pool/hot tubs on chlorine/salt).
After looking at baqua conversions, it seems that white water mold may be the actual problem (not a reaction to the baqua chemicals themselves). Most say ~5 years in it becomes a problem, which would be last year's season. My dad keeps the pool in great condition, and it looked good and consistently tested well. Could he still have white water mold without really noticing it? He changed the sand in the filter last year as well, but no other difference from 2018 to 2019/now (no reaction from son during 2017-2018).

So now I am in the process of convincing/helping my dad convert to chlorine. The pool is about a 16x28' with an 8' deep end, vinyl liner. Here are a couple questions:
How long does the conversion process take? I know it's dependent on size, but is the time gain worth it to drain a significant amount?
If we suspect white water mold is present, any other steps to include? Do we need to scrub/soak skimmer, ladder, pipes, etc. or will converting to chlorine fix that naturally?
From everything I see, changing the sand in the filter is necessary again -- correct?

Thanks for any responses. After perusing the forums it seems that there are many knowledgeable people on here that are willing to be helpful.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,207
Tucson, AZ
White water mold will live inside the plumbing and become a constant source of inoculation to the rest of the pool. There’s no way to easily eradicate it without extreme measures.

As for conversion -

1. What is your current sanitizer level?
2. What is your current oxidizer level?
3. Have you used CDX in the pool?
4. Is water expensive where you are?
5. How many gallons is the pool?
 

slayne11

New member
May 21, 2020
2
Central Virginia
White water mold will live inside the plumbing and become a constant source of inoculation to the rest of the pool. There’s no way to easily eradicate it without extreme measures.

As for conversion -

1. What is your current sanitizer level?
2. What is your current oxidizer level?
3. Have you used CDX in the pool?
4. Is water expensive where you are?
5. How many gallons is the pool?
1 & 2 - Have added the baquacil once when first opened a couple weeks ago. Taking the water to the pool company for a sample tomorrow (assuming it will be best to buy our own kit going forward).
3 - Yes to CDX
4 - Not expensive. My dad is hesitant to drain some water, although I'm not certain why. I'm trying to find arguments for the value in doing it that way.
5 - Current best guess is 18000 gallons. I assume the pool company has that information and will be asking tomorrow.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
17,207
Tucson, AZ
With CDX in the water and Baquacil sanitizer, it’s going to be difficult to convert the pool. Honestly, it’s late enough now that you really only have two realistic options -

1. Muddle on through until next year and convert to chlorine very early in the spring when winter rain/snow has helped to dilute the water a bit,

OR

2. Drain the pool down to about 12-18” in the shallow end (enough to keep the liner from shifting), refill, mix, drain & refill again, and then try to convert.

The problem is this - the CDX product makes conversions a nightmare and slows them down considerably. If you tried to convert at present levels, the pool could be out of commission for weeks. That is likely not acceptable.
 

anthonypool89

Gold Supporter
Aug 26, 2016
557
Berks County, PA
Is it possible to have WWM and not notice it? YES....at least going by general appearance of the water clarity. Some products that can be used as part of a baquacil maintenance program appear to maintain water clarity to the point that you'd think there is no WWM. Assuming you're referring to an unground pool, if you check really close around the tiles / grouting - that's where you'll often find some - or inside an area where there is a plastic bar that a rope could attach to, etc. Around a love seat or other area that is sort of recessed from the rest of the pool. Areas like that are where you might encounter WWM. As has been mentioned, it's most certainly in the plumbing as well. I've managed a baquacil pool for probably close to 25 years already, and can honestly say you never totally get rid of WWM, but I believe it's possible to maintain the pool (with a vigilant attitude) to the extent that it is not a noticeable issue. You have to really want to use baquacil in order to successfully stay with it over the longer run. I still have times when I debate with myself over all this.
 

clduncan

Bronze Supporter
Jul 2, 2019
79
Waco,Texas
Last year we drained our baqa pool to switch to chlorine, for the same reasons you are my wife had a bad reaction, and it did not take long at all. We drained all but maybe an inch that took a day. Then we filled with fresh water that took another day, changed our sand out. Then we added chlorine it only took a day or two watching the chlorine levels for the baqa to be completely gone . I would do it that way if you are wanting to not go through all the bleach and the trouble of watching the levels constantly as long as the water in your area is not too expensive. Our pool was new and we only had water in it for a couple weeks I am not sure what will happen if the liner is not new and has water in it for a long time.