Newbie uncovering a filled-in pool

yaryar

Member
Dec 11, 2010
17
Hey everyone, first time poster with many questions. This will probably be a bit long-winded, but I want to provide as many details as possible:)
So my wife and I purchased the lot next door(house was demoed due to hurr. Katrina), and there is an inground pool that was filled in, on the property. The original owners filled it in prior to Katrina. I have no idea why it was filled in, or any way to contact the previous owners to find out why. I have, much to my wife's dismay, dug out almost half of the pool with a shovel and wheelbarrow(good exercise!!!), but this weekend will rent an excavator to finish up the job. The pool is kidney-shaped, is 3 1/2 feet deep in the shallow end, 6 1/2 feet in the deep end, measures 12 by 22, so it is a relatively small pool. According to the measurement calculator, is around 10,000 gallons. It has one small hairline crack on one side, but I feel that is pretty repairable. The water level in the pool appears to follow the water table in our area, so I'm thinking it has to be leaking somewhere (relief valve popped???). I've located the plumbing for the pool, 3 lines, one is 1 1/2 copper going to the 2 return ports, one is 1 1/2 PVC going to the skimmer, and the other is 1 1/2 copper going to the bottom drain I'm guessing but I haven't gotten the deep end completely dug out, as there is 2 feet of water there.
I've stuck a hose in the skimmer line and return lines and the water flows freely, so the lines aren't restricted, thank goodness. My biggest concern is whether or not the deep end of the pool has been 'punched through' before it was filled in. Even though, a few local pool companies I talked with said it wouldn't be a big deal for them to fix that, including the drain(if it's damaged).
So am I out of my league here. I'm an avid DIYer and do electric, plumbing, carpentry etc, so I feel confident I can do this, just want to make sure I'm going about it the right way. With a 6 year old and 2 year old (and one due in June!!), this would be perfect for the summer months, but I hope to get this done over my 2 week break for the holidays. Thanks in advance for any advice or help!!!!
 

Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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SouthWest Alabama
The only advice I can give you is to Keep Digging!!! Anything that's wrong can be fixed but you won't know what you're up against until you have it all dug out. It could have been filled in just because they got tired of fooling with it and everything will be fine with a little repair.

A few pictures and where you're located will help.
 

257WbyMag

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Feb 23, 2008
5,061
Denton, TX
Welcome to TFP! Like Bama said, please post pictures if you can. This is the first that I have heard of someone "unfilling" a filled in pool and I am curious to see just how this progresses. Keep us updated! :goodjob:
 

dmanb2b

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
3,734
NY
Welcome to TFP...sound like you have a nice off-season project :shock: Please do post some pics as you progress.
 

yaryar

Member
Dec 11, 2010
17

First time posting a picture so hopefully it comes up OK. This is the first picture taken before anything was done to the pool. The property was abandoned for 5 years after Katrina, thus the reason why the china ball trees took root in there. The roots didn't hurt the pool walls. The pool actually acted like a huge flowerpot!! Will upload the latest pic, once my wife emails it to me!! Thanks again for the words of encouragement!!
 

dmanb2b

TFP Expert
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Apr 4, 2009
3,734
NY
I bet ya that will look really nice when it's done...I certainly like the stone decking and does not look like anything a liner or replaster can't fix :goodjob:
 

Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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SouthWest Alabama
That doesn't look bad at all. If that's before you did anything, I'd say it's a worthwhile project. Now that you've found this place maintaining it will a breeze once the repair work is done.
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,161
Coastalish 'down easter'
Welcome to TFP!!

I suspect that the reason the pool has water in it that matches the ground water level is because they popped a few holes in the floor prior to filling the pool in :( This is standard practice and is done to keep the shell from popping out of the ground.

It shouldn't be a problem to patch them, once you've got the rest of the dirt out.
 

TFP_wanna_be

Bronze Supporter
May 26, 2010
129
Orlando, FL
Awesome!! I'm excited to read and see your progress.... Even with holes in the shell, thats an easy fix... I'm no longer afraid of a little DIY on my pool either... No matter what people try - you can't mask a pool fill-in... They all look about this good IMO..

Keep the pics coming!! :goodjob:
 

Ohm_Boy

TFP Expert
May 1, 2007
1,344
Orlando, FL
Oh, [ Edit: Butterfly] - Chinaberry trees!!! Those things are highly poisonous invasive pests. Get rid of them as fast and far away as possible.

On the brighter side, the pool will be really nice when it's all together again. And there are folks here that have knowledge and experience with every aspect of what you may find in there. With the help of the talented people here, you can handle anything.

Seriously though - ditch the trees. http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/meaz1.htm
 

yaryar

Member
Dec 11, 2010
17
Update, rented an excavator this past Friday and dug out the remainder of the pool, then got the rest of the water/slop out. That was a bigger job than I imagined, as it was hard to determine where the bottom was, and the remanining foot of water had to be bucketed out, as it was a mess of muddy slop than kept clogging my sump pump. The main drain has been busted through, and there is about 3 holes drilled through as well. The pool definitely needs to be replastered, as rebar is showing in some spots, and there is pitting on the pool surface as well. There is some (1/8th inch) seperation between the pool and skimmer as well. I'll try to post some updated pictures later today or tomorrow. One company has already come out and quoted around $2K to repair the holes, drain, and replaster, and this is a reputable company that has been around forever. Does that sound like a good price??
 

susa

Well-known member
Oct 31, 2010
610
Deep South
> quoted around $2K to repair the holes, drain, and replaster

ask them if they will also repair and inspect the lines, if so, the price seems good. ask also if you can see some of their recent work, unless you personally know someone on the crew.
 

yaryar

Member
Dec 11, 2010
17
Thought I'd give an update on how this project has been coming along, with some pictures. As a quick timeline, our entire parish was wiped out by Katrina in 05. We rebuilt, but most of our neighbors didn't. After a few years we were able to buy both lots next to us dirt cheap(as the government bought them from the owners, then sold them to us as part of the 'Lot Next Door Program'). The property the pool was on was so overgrown, that we used to go there in April to pick blackberries, and actually walked over the pool without knowing it was there because the property was so overgrown. Here is a picture of the lot when we first bought it:

After spending many weekends clearing debris from the lot, here's the pool, full of mud from being filled in from the previous owners prior to Katrina hitting:

I figured why not try to dig the pool out using a shovel and wheelbarrow. Most thought I was crazy to attempt this. After a little digging, I found the steps:

After digging out half of the pool, I started to hit a lot of solid debris, and had to rent an excavator:

The pool was 'punched through' as we have a high water table here in south Louisiana, so the pool quickly filled up with water:

After getting some estimates for the plaster/tile work, I decided to do the electric and plumbing myself to save some $$$. I poured a new pad for the pump and filter:

Lastly, I installed a basic cedar fence to keep my little ones away from the pool:

That's where things stand now. Yesterday, the pool guy came by to pressure test the lines(all was OK) and drop off some supplies(sand for filter, light, vacuum head, pole, brush, etc). I bought a 1HP Hayward MaxFlo II pump, and a Hayward 24" sand filter, and will install those this weekend, as well as repair a small crack in the skimmer. In about 2 weeks the pool crew will come out to install a new tile band and do a replaster job, as well as handle the startup. This forum has been VERY helpful with my project as reading others posts has taught me alot. I'll post some pics in the future as this project wraps up!!!
 

frustratedpoolmom

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In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,250
Key West, FL
Such a cool thread - haven't seen it till now. Can't wait to see the finished product. A first for me too - now you have a great pictorial to show people. :)
 

esim13

Well-known member
Oct 31, 2009
324
Denham Springs, Louisiana
I missed it too! I'm glad I found it. This is a great story! Being from the NO area I am so proud to see someone taking back their part of the city after Katrina and making it their own little paradise. Keep the pics coming!