Just cut the pool guy loose

tstack22

New member
Apr 12, 2019
3
Tucson
I bought a house this winter with a pool, and had no idea what I was doing. I hired a pool guy for the winter but cut him loose a couple weeks ago.

I think my water chemistry is all out of whack:

Free/total chlorine: 3-5 (free, total, and combined were all in the 7-10+ range when I first tested)
pH: 7.8 (requires frequent acid additions to keep it under 8)
Alkalinity: 300+
Total Hardness: 1000+
CYA: 300.

The pool is filled with well water that has a pH of 7.5, hardness 500, and alkalinity 250.

It's a fiberglass pool, about 11,000 gallons.

I'm worried the gel coat is failing on the pool. There seems to be more and more little brown spots appearing that I think might be indented when I rub my finger across them. There's also a stain along the water line.

I'm not sure when the pool was installed. I feel like I saw something showing it was put in in 1986, but can't find it again. There's a permit for some pillars and wood beams covering the pool from around 2000, so that may have been when it was installed too.

It's in Tucson, AZ.

I've read through this forum and other sites on the internet, but at this point I'm not sure what to do. I've read you can't drain fiberglass pools so a total water change isn't an option. Plus, the well water filling it might be part of the problem (I have similar issues with the koi pond's water chemistry).

Any suggestions on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
22,069
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Well.... a water replacement or reverse osmosis if available is the first step.There's no way to truly manage a pool with 300 CYA. You'd have to keep the FC so high that you'd never be able to trust the pH tests. The 1000 CH is also going to be a challenge. Those pits? Are you sure they aren't calcium spots? Do they feel rough?

Anyway.... let's summon @chiefwej, since he'll know if reverse osmosis is available in your area.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,796
Tucson, AZ
Last vendor I contacted about RO said his equipment was down and that he wasn’t in any rush to fix it. He just suggested a drain and refill (and also some magic potions to make the calcium go away ... 😂).

RO, in my opinion, isn’t worth it. It’s more expensive than doing a water exchange and you wind up dumping about 25-30% of your water anyway. You can’t do RO this time of the year anyway as you’ll be guaranteed to get an algae bloom.

Fiberglass pools are hard. You can do a water exchange where you drain from the deep end and refill in the shallow end. That should keep your level constant. If your worried you can brace the top of the pool with wood beams. You should have your well water tested for metals before starting this. That’s really terribly alkaline fill water but not much you can do about it and par for the course around here.
 

tstack22

New member
Apr 12, 2019
3
Tucson
Thanks for the advice. Looks like I'm just going to have to replace a whole bunch of water.

Is there anything than can be done with the drained pool water? Water the garden? Grow a rice paddy? Even though I'm not paying for it, I just hate wasting water in the desert like that. Also, it appears the waste line is routed to an empty lot on the corner of my property. Hope they don't start construction anytime soon 😬
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,796
Tucson, AZ
That water isn’t good for much of anything. It’s too hard and alkaline for irrigating anything besides the native plants that are used to growing in the cement that goes for “soil” in these parts. The chlorine will dissipate or get reduced almost immediately when it contacts the soil and the CYA is harmless (most soil bacteria will use it for energy). Basically just dump it off into the back corner of your lot and let the birds and squirrels use it for a bath. I like to mess with the ground squirrels on my front yard and I direct water discharge right down into their burrows. The crazy part is the burrows never collapse or fill up. I can literally send a thousand gallons of water down their holes without end. I imagine there some giant subterranean pool they’re happily enjoying ... :ROFLMAO:
 

chiefwej

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 12, 2011
3,395
Tucson
You could just use a tarp. Drain water from below the tarp, add fresh water above. You can buy a 30x50 tarp at Harbor Freight for less than a hundred dollars.
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,083
Connecticut
That water isn’t good for much of anything. It’s too hard and alkaline for irrigating anything besides the native plants that are used to growing in the cement that goes for “soil” in these parts. The chlorine will dissipate or get reduced almost immediately when it contacts the soil and the CYA is harmless (most soil bacteria will use it for energy). Basically just dump it off into the back corner of your lot and let the birds and squirrels use it for a bath. I like to mess with the ground squirrels on my front yard and I direct water discharge right down into their burrows. The crazy part is the burrows never collapse or fill up. I can literally send a thousand gallons of water down their holes without end. I imagine there some giant subterranean pool they’re happily enjoying ... :ROFLMAO:
100 feet over soil chlorine is not detectable; per epa/dep drain & discharge standard.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,796
Tucson, AZ
100 feet over soil chlorine is not detectable; per epa/dep drain & discharge standard.
Multiple Ag studies have shown that water with chlorine in it is pretty much neutralized within the first 6” of absorption depth (depending on organic/humus content). Chloramine presents a slightly harder problem because it can persist longer and travel deeper than chlorine and it is anti-microbial. So gardeners tend to get annoyed at municipal water suppliers that convert to chloramination as it messes up their plants. For my sensitive, potted plants, I leave a 5 gallon bucket full of water outside in the sun. That lets the chlorine/chloramine offgas and dissipate a bit. Then I use that to water stuff the next day. I still have the problem of excess alkalinity to deal with but the right mix of compost and little phosphoric acid makes all the potted plants happier ;)
 
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PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,083
Connecticut
My point is; I can drain whatever I want into a pond filled with endangered salamanders & face no penalty; I just need 100 ft of soil between my discharge pipe & the destination.. and I’m off the hook.
 

tstack22

New member
Apr 12, 2019
3
Tucson
Those pits? Are you sure they aren't calcium spots? Do they feel rough?
They do feel rough. I'm not sure if they're calcium deposits or not. There are some that are lighter and larger and don't really feel rough, and others that are some that are small and darker brown/red that feel rough, but I can't really tell if they're indentations or raise up.