Please help me bring a dead inground pool back to life!

Chrispyny

Member
Jul 3, 2015
19
Albany, ny
Guys. Girlfriend rented a house with an inground pool in the back yard. We are trying to bring it back to life.
The house is owned by a private owner in town who hired a building management company to run the ins and outs of the house. The building management company said the pool hasn't been opened for a couple years. Shaa, as if. More like at least 5.
My girlfriend was advised that the pool use comes with the house if we maintain it and sign a waiver. Ok fine. A couple weeks ago, the girlfriend contacted the management company and started the ball rolling on trying to open it back up. The cost of the filter install includes the round of chemicals it will take to initially open the pool.
We have been weed wacking the 5 years of growth from around the pool on and off for a couple weeks. We pulled the tarp cover out of the pool which fell in long ago. The pool is in barely fair condition but we don't care as long as the water is clean and cold.
The Building management company hired a pool company to survey the pool and components. Turns out the sand filter was supposedly shot and the pool house supposedly vandelized as per the pool company. So the pool company, via communications with the building management company, at the building owners expense, replaced the filter with a brand new one. The motor and attatched basket thing are original.
So today, we are officially on our first vacation this year. I get here and survey the pool, it's conditon, the replacement of the filter, and what more it will take to get it up and running.
It's a disaster. Firstly, the pool has one intake at the skimmer like all pools do, and this one has two return lines leading to Jets on each side of the pool. This can be seen by two black pipes for the returns to pool, and one white line from the skimmer.
Well the pool company hooked up one black jet as intake, and the other as return. They just left the white pipe from the skimmer laying on the ground!

Naturally, the filter is doing almost nothing to filter the water as the pump is struggling to pull in a large volume of water through a return jet 16" below the water line, and then send it back out through one clean water return jet. It's designed for a large volume for intake from the skimmer, and designed to return clean water via 2 jets, not one. DOH!
So i just got off the phone with the management company and they are going to call the pool company. Ok, thats being taken care of.
Last night the management company drops off 2 five gallon jugs of shock, and a big tub of a sodium bicarbonate thing to bring up the ph. I dump in one jug of shock and sprinkle the entire contents of the baking soda stuff into the pool. Per the management company, we wait 2 days and dump the second shock jug into it.
Here is my next issue. So the pool is filled with tadpoles and frogs. So i go out there this morning and start skimming to get rid of leaves and animals, moving or otherwise. Well, i take off the cover to the skimmer, and i find this in the skimmer. It just barely fits.

Naturally, the girlfriend pokes it out towards the skimmer entrance, i snag the snapper with the net, and dump it into the creek down the hill next to the house where it came from.
Here is where the real problem starts. I start skimming the top for leaves and in 10 minutes, the floaters are gone. Next i start scraping the bottom. The nightmare begins. I filled this large wheel barrow up in 30 minutes, and there is NO END in sight. The pool is roughly 20'x30'? And what you see is only 30 minutes of the 3 foot shallow end. The drop starts 6 feet towards the deep end and i fear the worst is down there.

It smells horrible, of course it does, it's decomposing leaves, tadpoles, and who knows what else.
Here are a couple pics to show you what we are dealing with.
From shallow end.



From the deep end.



So the problem is, once the filter is hooked up correctly, it will take a team of ten guys working 8 hour shifts, about a week to skim out the several years of decomposing matter and who knows what else down there. If i bring this up to the management company, they will relay the info to the owners who may ditch the idea of opening the pool all together.
My assumption at this point is that the owners figured that the house is worth more in rent with a working pool. And since we volunteered to try to open it, we are the guinea pigs to see if we can.
The issue is, even if i dump a dozen five gallon jugs of shock in the pool, it's not gonna help the years of decaying matter at the bottom of the pool.
I considered renting a trash pump and having at it but this isn't my property and i'm just the boyfriend trying to help.
For those who have done this before, is my only option to drain the entire pool with a trash pump and refill with fresh water?
If thats the case, the management company will have to step in and take over.


Can anyone help who has done this before please ?


Thanks !
 

pooldv

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Moderator Emeritus
Aug 10, 2012
25,412
FL panhandle
You are right that adding chlorine right now is not going to be much help. You can either scoop all the debris out with a leaf rake or pump out the water and shovel out the debris. Either way will work.
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,681
Longview, Texas
Yup. Others in similar condition have been saved.
The main thing right now, is get as much gunk off the bottom as possible.

I would not recommend to completely drain the pool unless the "someone" has agreed to replace the liner in case its destroyed. Vinyl liners do not take well to having all of the water drained from them. Especially ones with a few years on them. Its entirely possible the liner may tear apart and have to be replaced.

If you drain water, only drain down to the point where there is about 1 foot of water in the shallow end.

Its going the be trash pump and some scooping with a big net to get the muck out and then start on clearing the water.

I think thats a fairly nice pool, and in my opinion, worth saving.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Welcome to TFP. That owner owes you big time ;)

I recovered a swamp with a liner from a foreclosure 3 years ago...without draining due to water table and nearby river. I'd be concerned about your water table if a snapping turtle got in ;)

That said, there is a way to still use a trash pump and fresh water called the sheet method, and I will try to dig up the link from the guy who did it. That would be quicker than hauling the stuff from the bottom, but as I said, I did I it tat way with a TFP kit (essential) and following te SLAM instructions, and in the very beginning, beating down the ammonia with high, hourly doses of liquid chlorine until same started to hold.

Here's the pic of 12 days of shock and awe ;) I will go find the other link now but if you go this route, post back and I'll give you more tips when i have a bit more time ;) Have a triathlete en route post race for a swim date ;)

Ok, here's the link to the guy who successfully used the sheet method: Foreclosure Swamp in Pensacola, Florida! - Page 4
image.jpg
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
Ps that was 20 wheel barrows of gunk, btw, and couldn't vacuum til near the end without clogging. Keep bottom drain only partway open to slw/reduce risk of clogs and babysit the filter in the beginning!
 

Chrispyny

Member
Jul 3, 2015
19
Albany, ny
Just wanted to update everyone on the pool. First i'd like to thank you all for taking the time to read about my problem, and then the time to post some help and suggestions. It's because if this, that i am here giving an update so those generous to have replied know how much i appreciate the help.

Firstly, the pool company came back and after tinkering in the pool house some, came back and told me that the buried skimmer line is bad. It needs replacing and that is why the pool filter was hooked up from one jet, to the other. The company just wanted to get things moving in the pool, and report back to the property management company, so they could notify the owner which will decide wether to pay to have the line dug up and replaced.
In addition, the return line the pool company chose to temporarily use as a skimmer line is also bad. It's sucking air with the water from the jet, so the pump strainer housing is never free from air. Regardless, the pool guy said the let it run, back flush it at least daily, until we get further notice from the owner.
I asked that the pool guy suggest to the management company that all three lines be replaced. There is no point not to since 2 of the three lines are no good anyway.
As far as how the pool looks, right now its between 4/28 and 4/30 in the picture above. The two of us have been scooping dead matter and leaves from the bottom of the pool for 3 days on and off. We are finally getting to the point where the green thick sludge is coming to an end, and the leaves are starting to become fewer and fewer.
On july 2nd, as instructed by management, we dumped a big blue jug (5 gal?) of shock in the pool and began to skim and scoop. I also tossed in the roughly 10lb pail of clearview PH up.
By yesterday 2/3's of the frogs and tadpoles we could not save prior to dumping the shock in were dead and the color of the green began to lighten. We continued to scoop dead frogs, tadpoles, muck, and leaves.
Per management, i dumped in another big blue jug of shock yesterday and did more scooping.
today the muck is mostly all gone and the leaves are getting fewer and fewer.
My girlfriend and i decided that the most we will continue to do is to scoop, that is until we hear back from the owners as to wether or not they will be replacing the lines. If the answer is no, the pool gets shut down and i'm done. if they replace the lines, i'll ask them to test the water again, and suggest a continued action plan for the pool.
I wish i snapped a picture for you all as nothing beats a visual but i'll be back at her house tomorrow and hopefully we will see an additional difference in water color, and get an answer regarding the line replacement.

Again, thanks all for your help. I psoted this dillema on another 2 favorite sites of mine. Ar15.com and subguns.com, they all seem to say i'm nuts for putting in so much effort to a pool that we don't own, but my girlfriends daughter is 16 and wants a pool to swim in so the work continues. If it wasn't for her, i'd call the manamgement company myself and tell them to either pay for the pool cleaning, the limited concrete work thats required at the pool perimeter, and the landscaping required to return this pool from the wild. But alas, the red blooded american christian in me says, toll ahead.

Thanks again all! Stay tuned for updates tomorrow!

ps, yesterday while dumping jug number two of shock, i found an additional 2/3's full 5lb pail of clearview ph up, so i made that into a slurry and dumped that over the one working jet, hopefully broadcasting it through out the pool. I edit this post to add this info so as to specifically detail each action i take so as to allow you all to follow along and meter exactly what i'm doing to get this pool moving along. Thanks!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,019
Tallahassee, FL
That is quite a follow up! NO wonder the pool was never opened up!

Here is hoping the owner goes for getting the lines fixed. I so agree that if they do not-------DONE!

I hope the 16yr old is helping with the scooping and cleaning. It will be good for her to experience the work for the pool SHE wants to swim in.

It so sweet of you to be helping with it!

Kim
 

f3justusc

Well-known member
Aug 15, 2012
690
Orlando, FL
I think I would empty out the pool with a fish pond pump and then get a pressure washer and wash and bleach the whole thing down after draining it.
Why do you suggest this? This pool has a vinyl liner that should not be drained completely. Once all the gunk is removed, SLAM and brushing will clean it fine without the need to drain.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,835
Grand Rapids, MI
^+1. This is a vinyl pool. No one, ever, should completely drain a vinyl pool unless replacing the liner...otherwise min. It ill wrinkle and float...and max. The walls can cave in. Lowest level in vinyl liner pool would be leaving a foot in the shallow end, and only THAT far if the water table isn't high.
 

Chrispyny

Member
Jul 3, 2015
19
Albany, ny
Updates!
We put in another 5 gallons of pool shock last night (july 6) and we continued to net fewer and fewer leaves and almost no mud. Just little pockets of mud here and there. Not like before.
These pics were taken just a moment ago.





I weed wacked inside and outside, and used The leaf blower to clean up sand and debris. I also cleaned up the dirty pool house (shed). Organized and put everything in its place, tossed out a bunch of garbage and arranged tools in their places.

We are still waiting to hear back from the owners regarding the line replacement. Until then, building management is continuing to pay for the chemicals to initially start up the pool. Our primary contact at the management company said she has seen it take up to 10 five gallon containers of pool shock used to start a green black pool. We are on our third, with a fourth as a reserve in the garage.
A little more news, some paperwork from the pool company quotes the pool at 20,000 gallons for those interested. I'll update my signature accordingly.
Stay tuned for additional updates!
 

COBrien

Well-known member
May 6, 2015
184
Chickasha, OK
Surely that pool has a main drain in the deep end... It would be difficult to get proper circulation without one. Be sure and ask the pool company about checking that plumbing, as well.
 

Chrispyny

Member
Jul 3, 2015
19
Albany, ny
Surely that pool has a main drain in the deep end... It would be difficult to get proper circulation without one. Be sure and ask the pool company about checking that plumbing, as well.
If there is a main drain in the deep end, i can not find where it drains to. There is no sign of a drain at ground level. It's possible it comes up above ground somewhere at the southern end of the pool, but it's all wooded there and i'm not crawling in there to find out.
 

borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,317
Pacific NW
Lots of pools don't have main drains and they are not necessary for proper circulation.

Though they can be helpful to have for EXTRA circulation and draining, when needed.

Here's hoping they fix the plumbing.
 

Chrispyny

Member
Jul 3, 2015
19
Albany, ny
Updates yay!
scooping with leaf net results few leaves and almost no sludge of any kind.
Yesterday we added the fourth 5 gallon jug of 12.75 % bleach to the pool. Today we tested the water and here are the results.


The pool company gave us product and instructions to folow to ensure seeing the bottom of the pool by sunday!
They said put half a bottle of this into the pump housing to make the sand sticky and trap more cloudiness.


Then they said to add 3-4 oz of this stuff directly to the pool to also clearify the water.


then they said to put two of these bags in, scattered through out the pool, and gave us 2 more to put in saturday.


Lastly, a pic of the pool taken 30 min ago.


So far a grand total of $110 of chemicals at the owners expense, and countless hours of weed wacking, weeding, pool house cleaning, scooping tatpoles, frogs, turtles, leaves, 2x4's, muck, and vinyl fence parts has ensued on our expense. In addition, the owners incurred the cost to have a new hayward s210t sand filter installed.
We are still waiting to hear if the owners will pay to replace the line to the 2 return jets and skimmer line. A visit to the pool place today and some inquiring lead us to find out that the pool company hasn't even put a figure together to forward to the building management company. SIGH.

the pool is getting some frothy fizzy bubbles to it, leading me to assume the chemicals are working.

Stay tuned!