how to remove copper

hkaro

Member
I have an inground 5K gallon pool built into sand with a high water table. I have high copper levels of 3.3ppm and ideally would remove and replace the water. This is not an option as the pool would pop out of the ground due to the high water table. I added a metal removal product for 24 hours and then backwashed the filter and replaced 1/3 of the pool water. Copper levels remained at 3.3. All of this was done after bypassing the water heater in case the heat exchanger is causing the copper issue. PH is low at 6.4, as is hardness at 136. Cyanuric Acid is high at 160 and phosphates are high at 403. Have tried raising PH but to no avail. I'm told copper is overriding any attempt to elevate PH levels and copper must be lowered for PH raising chemicals to work. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,812
Northern NJ

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,812
Northern NJ
Did your CYA go down with the water exchange?

The acid in your trichlor tablets are causing your low pH. Not the copper. You need to stop using them and chlorinate with liquid chlorine or a SWG.

What brand Trichlor tablets do you use?

What is your TA?

Get your own test kit and take control of your water chemistry.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
11,021
Franklin, NC
Trichlor tablets are almost half CYA, so as you drain it out you are replacing it.

You need your own accurate test kit rather than relying on teh pool store testing.


Not much credence is given to pool store testing around here. While you would think that a "professional" would be the best, unfortunately in most cases it is quite the opposite. Between employees who blindly trust the word of chemical sales representatives and high school kids working in the pool store for the summer you end up with poor results from their testing. Plus, the results of their "testing" is used to convince you that you need to buy things. Why do you think that testing is free?

But, what can you do?? We base our pool care system on accurate testing and only adding what the pool needs, when it needs it. To do that you need your own accurate test kit. Order a TF-100 Test Kit ™

Please don't go back to the pool store for a test kit. To effectively practice the TFPC methods, the FAS/DPD chlorine test is essential. The TF-100 Test Kit ™ has this test while very few other kits do. The kits sold at the pool store generally won't won't cut it, but be careful pool store employees are known to say “it's the same thing”. Generally it's not!

While you wait for it to get delivered, you have a homework reading assignment. Start with these:





So, welcome to TFP!!
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,336
OV, CA
Hi Hkaro!
Welcome to the forum! We should find out where the copper is coming from. Do you know? are you using algecides or shocks that have copper in them? Also how are you chlorinating? I mean with what product exactly. Also how are you testing your water? If you are getting your numbers from a pool store you need to get your own test kit so we know you are getting reasonable test results. There is no point in doing a large water exchange until you have control of what is causing the high copper levels.. they will just come back.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
14,631
Evans, Georgia
As others have said copper can get in the water from too low pH with a copper core heater; Clorox XtraBlue pucks and algaecide; lower priced algaecides; certain "shock" granular products.
As the copper rises so. do the stains, *particularly* in fiberglass pools, almost like a magnet for metal stains!

Do you know where your pool's copper problem came? If you can't figure it out you risk having it repeat again. Any pool companies work on your pool routinely?

Maddie
 

hkaro

Member
Thanks for all the insight. I've ordered the TF-100 test kit which will arrive in a few days. My PH is 6.4 which is why I bypassed the heater for fear the damage has been done and the heat exchanger is the source of the copper. When I tried to elevate the PH the chemical added did not raise the levels. Could the fact that the copper has gotten into the sand filter be the reason that the copper levels won't drop as the copper just keeps cycling from pool to filter. If so would a change out of sand help.

Harry
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,071
Laughlin, NV
Copper does not get trapped in the filter. To remove copper from the pool water, the water needs to be exchanged for fresh water.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
11,021
Franklin, NC
Harry,

I think you are listening to the pool store too much. Your pH and your copper are two separate and distinct issues. Don't combine them in your mind. They don't effect each other.

Now, the pH

What we are talking about here is basic chemistry. If you add the correct product, the pH WILL go up. Several years ago I helped a friend with his pool. All he ever used were pucks to chlorinate his pool and his pool and his also showed a pH of 6.4 Pucks are acidic and push the pH down. Overuse without adjusting the pH and your pH will go waaaaaay low.

Why 6.4? Because with many test kits this is the lowest pH the test will register. So, you may be WAY below 6.4 and while your additions are raising the pH, it just isn't getting high enough to register on the test.

So, with that being said -

You need to test the Total Alkalinity (TA). As long as it is above 50 things are good. If it's below 50 we will need to address teh TA first.

What you need is Borax. Borax is available as 20 Mule Team® Borax Natural Laundry Booster. It is sold in the laundry detergent section of most larger grocery stores and some big box stores. Borax is best added by pre-dissolving it in a bucket of water and then pouring that slowly in front of a return. Now, how much. Well, in your 5,000 gallon pool 64oz (by weight) 61oz (by volume) of Borax will raise your pH from 6.4 to 7.2

Add that much to the pool and test the pH again after it circulates for 30 minutes or so. if it's 7.2 or above, you are good. If not, you will add Borax again. You will keep repeating this until you get the pH up on the scale where you can read it.

The Copper is a different issue and not as important right now as the pH. Lets get the pH in line before you worry about the copper.
 
Last edited:

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,336
OV, CA
Thanks for all the insight. I've ordered the TF-100 test kit which will arrive in a few days. My PH is 6.4 which is why I bypassed the heater for fear the damage has been done and the heat exchanger is the source of the copper. When I tried to elevate the PH the chemical added did not raise the levels. Could the fact that the copper has gotten into the sand filter be the reason that the copper levels won't drop as the copper just keeps cycling from pool to filter. If so would a change out of sand help.

Harry
Awesome.. post up your test numbers when your kit arrives and we will have a better idea how to proceed! Do you know what chemical you added to raise your pH? We like you to know exactly what you are putting in your pool and what it does.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
11,021
Franklin, NC
Thanks for the borax solution to PH. Total alkalinity is below 50. Any suggestions to elevate would be appreciated.
How far below and is this from pool store testing?

Baking Soda, the normal Arm & Hammer stuff from the grocery store raises TA For your pool each 12oz (by weight) 9.4oz (by volume) raises your TA by 10. We only want it around 50 until you get your pH right.
 

hkaro

Member
The pool store report says TA is 0 with the following notation(Total Alkalinity has been adjusted due to the effect of CYA on tested alkalinity). On the test strips the alkalinity reading isn't registering leading me to believe it's well below 50.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
11,021
Franklin, NC
The pool store report says TA is 0 with the following notation(Total Alkalinity has been adjusted due to the effect of CYA on tested alkalinity). On the test strips the alkalinity reading isn't registering leading me to believe it's well below 50.
Sorry, I was out for the day....

TA will be your number one priority when you get your test kit. My guess is uncontrolled use of pucks which are acidic has crashed your TA/pH. Go to Walmart and get two pounds of Arm & Hammer baking soda.

While you are there pickup a couple of boxes of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. It will say " Sodium carbonate " as the ingredients. This is different than what I said before. Washing Soda raises both TA and pH.

So, 2 pounds of baking soda should bring your TA up inot the 30-40 range. We will then use the Washing Soda to bring the pH and TA up to where we ant to see them.

Do you have any test kit at all, like a cheap chlorine/pH kit?
 

hkaro

Member
I've ordered the TF-100 test kit but it hasn't arrived yet. I've been using test strips. I'm out of town today but will pick up the Arm and Hammer baking soda and Arm and Hammer Super washing soda. Tomorrow I'll add the Arm and Hammer baking soda and get back to you with a test strip reading.

Thanks for all your help. Greatly appreciated!
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,336
OV, CA
I wouldn't add anything to your besides maintenance doses of Cl until your test kit arrives. You really need to have a solid handle on the chem levels before you start making additions. Test strips are too inconsistent to do that.