I've never seen CYA this low with FC this high before

Jeanne Marie

Member
Aug 23, 2021
8
Wilmington, NC
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
As I mentioned in my introduction, my husband and I own a condo in a coastal town in North Carolina and thus we are part owners of the condo complex pool. This past week was the first time I had entered the pool area or into the pool itself. First thing I noticed was the plaster was pitted in areas and a chunk of plaster the size of a large man's palm was missing on the pool floor by the drains. The water felt odd, too. Absolutely no smell of chlorine. Once a few guests realized I was an owner, I was asked if the pool was a salt system to which I replied, "No, it's chlorine." They could not smell any residual chlorine either. While the water was clear, it did not have that lovely sparkle that clean, well balanced pools have. There was some globs, for lack of a better word, of algae on the grout of the tiles at the water level. I decided to do a simple water test and see what the pH and FC was.... 8.4 pH and 3 ppm of FC.

The next morning (9 am) I took a water sample to a pool management company (not ours) 2 blocks away. This is their test results after a night of heavy rain:

pH 7.7
FC 4.18
TC 4.18
CH 158
Alkalinity 107
CYA 2

How is it possible to have a FC of 4.18 in 91 degree, sunny weather but have only a CYA of 2? Are we burning through chlorine like it's water? Is the low CYA due to failure to add any to the pool, drastic loss of water necessitating refill with fresh water, or is there some chemical reaction going on that I do not understand? I do believe there is a possible leak in the pool where the plaster is missing because there is a constant stream of water exiting from the base of the retaining wall nearest the missing plaster that flows into the drains in the parking lot.

The low CH would certainly explain the pitting and deterioration of the plaster to the point that a piece has gone missing.
 

mknauss

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TFP Expert
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May 3, 2014
44,845
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
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Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
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What is used to chlorinate the pool water?
The lack of a chlorine smell is a good thing. Means the CC is non existent.
 

Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
23,494
Bedford, TX
Jeanne,

If this is the first time you have been to the pool, how do you know it is not a saltwater pool?

You would think that with a CYA of basically zero, that it would burn through chlorine rather quickly.

Where is the chlorine coming from??

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Jeanne Marie

Member
Aug 23, 2021
8
Wilmington, NC
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I know it is not a salt water pool because I asked the HOA president as well as the property management company which it was. Confirmed that it is chlorine. However, the property management company is being elusive as to details. A pool management company is sub contracted to the property management company and from what I can see so far, are not doing a good job. For example, the pool ceramic tiles are absolutely filthy with accumulated grey scum, there are coping stones missing over the skimmer. I just got a copy of the 04/08/2021 Health Department inspection which noted problems with pitting and missing plaster so this is not a new problem. It may take more digging to find out how more information.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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May 3, 2014
44,845
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
A pool with a saltwater chlorine generator is a chlorine pool.

Chlorine is being added. Seems to be continuous because if the CYA is low, the FC would burn off very quickly in the day time.
 

Jeanne Marie

Member
Aug 23, 2021
8
Wilmington, NC
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
mknauss, yes, I know laymen falsely presume a salt water pool has no chlorine when they actually do. The pool management company refuses to give me any information on what type of chlorine is being added to the pool, whether there is an automatic water leveler, etc. So this has been escalated to the HOA board, none of whom are pool owners/knowledgeable about pools so I have to explain why the chemical imbalance in the pool is a problem (pitted and missing plaster), water leakage through the missing plaster, and the expense of using chlorine with little to no stabilizer. I obtained the Health Department annual pre-opening inspection reports for the years 2018- April 08, 2021. The pitted and missing plaster was noted by the inspector in April 2021 so the question I have is why was this not repaired before the summer swim season started with pool putty? And shouldn't that have triggered an investigation as to why the plaster is deteriorating?

I included a photo of where I believe the water is leaking from the pool. The missing plaster location is about 2 feet to the left of the woman at the corner of the pool (far left of the photo). Note the deck is dry but there is a steady stream of water coming from the base of the retaining wall that flows about 25 feet in the parking lot to an inset drain. You can hear the constant dribble of water. This "riverlet" of water has been so consistent through the summer, it built up a layer of algae on it, a child slipped on it and fell, I reported it to the property management company and the algae accumulation cleaned up.
IMG_2344.JPG
 

Jeanne Marie

Member
Aug 23, 2021
8
Wilmington, NC
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Jimrahbe, I cannot get into the equipment room (it's locked) and the pool management company is refusing to let me know any information. NC law stipulates a daily testing and recording of pH and FC and weekly testing and recording of TA and CYA for public pools. I suspect this has not been done by the pool management company hence their reticence to tell me anything.
 
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Jimrahbe

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Jul 7, 2014
23,494
Bedford, TX
Jeanne,

I am confused... Easily done.. :mrgreen:

Who does the pool company work for? You or someone else? How is it even possible that they are not willing to show and tell you everything?

I assume they work for the HOA.. Is there a contract of some type?

Sounds like you need to get the HOA members on your side of this problem..

I agree it appears that something is leaking.. You would think that would be enough for the HOA to act. :scratch:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

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Jeanne Marie

Member
Aug 23, 2021
8
Wilmington, NC
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Jim, ....ok, here's the deal. We own a condo at a condominium complex that has a swimming pool. The condo complex is managed by a property management company who subcontracts out the pool maintenance to a swimming pool company. The pool company is subordinate to the property management company which is subordinate to the HOA board. I do not work for either the property management company, the pool management company or am a member of the HOA board. I am simply a retired aquatics facility manager and residential pool owner myself who recognizes a problem pool. I was denied information I requested due to my name not being listed on the contract as being a contact. I did note to the person declining to give me that information over the phone that, being a public pool, this information was a matter of public record. I can get it from the Health Department's application for certication submitted for the pool. I have gotten HD inspection reports but to find out what the disinfection system is, type of filter, etc., I'm going to have to contact the HD again to have a copy of the application sent to me. So why is a pool company refusing to give me data that is a matter of public record?

The annual Health Department inspection reports were mailed to the owner of the property management company. I don't know yet if the HOA president ever got a copy or simply relied on the property management company to handle everything. Due to circumstances beyond our control, my first time at the pool happened last week. I found a pool that had leaves and sand in it (laterals broken likely), bandaids/bottle caps/bottles/cigarette butts/peanut shells around the perimeter of the deck, trash can overflowing, two broken coping stones over a skimmer leaving a jagged edge and exposed rusted rebar, the missing plaster piece and grey scum so thick on the tile walls I could write in it with a fingernail. While the water was clear, it did not have that pretty sparkle to it that a well run pool has. A dirty pool raises the question of water quality and disinfection functionality. Someone isn't doing their job and I don't want to speculate at this point who bears responsibility for that so I've been trying to collate data in a factual manner to get the HOA board members up to speed on why these problems are important and let them make that judgment. I'm fairly certain the majority of the board has no idea what is going on in regards to the pool. Make sense now? :)
 
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JJ_Tex

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Jul 17, 2019
2,539
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
So... I'm going to suggest a different approach here.

I have no doubt that you know about pools and can identify an issue with the pool based on your experience.
On the flip side, I hope you understand that the pool subcontractor does not work for you, and that is likely why are you being met with resistance from your request to see testing logs, equipment, etc.

The contractors work for the HOA/management company. Typically, they are begging people to be involved in the various committees, boards, etc. I would find what committee deals with the pool company and see if you can get on that committee. With your background, it certainly seems like a good fit.

If you get on the committee, I would also suggest you do not walk into it "guns blazing". Give the contractor the benefit of the doubt, and back up your challenges to their methodology with facts.
 

Jeanne Marie

Member
Aug 23, 2021
8
Wilmington, NC
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
JJ, At this stage, there is so much factual data indicating poor management that simply reporting those facts will cause someone heartburn. We don't have a pool committee but it's a great suggestion for the future.
 
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