Pool Swamp

mpickle

New member
Jul 16, 2021
4
Indianapolis
My dad's house has fallen into decrepitude the last several years since he's had more and more trouble moving around. The backyard especially has grown into an awful state. The old in-ground pool in particular is one of the large hurdles I'm trying to leap. It's a concrete pool that is 4ft deep on the shallow end and I believe 10 ft. deep on the other end, the deeper end being the one with the ladder. The cover was originally on a motor operated rail system, but as you can see from the photos the huge amount of unattended leaves and refuse has weighed it down and ripped the rails right off the screws drilled into the ground. There is a drainage ditch maybe 15 ft. from the pool with some erosion control that we pump the water out of the pool into, the erosion control seems to have been slightly damage over the years, but is still mostly intact. I live in Indianapolis in mostly flat terrain.

Right now, I just want to clean it up enough that I can send professionals back there to tend to other matters without me worrying about them falling in. Theres a lot ground damage from weeds and trash trees growing under the concrete slabs that may have damaged the concrete within the pool, and I'm concerned that draining the pool completely would cause the whole thing to collapse within a matter of days. As of now my plan is to use a pool skimmer to get as much stuff off of the cover as is possible, then pump water off of the cover until I can lift the cover up and out of the pool, then refill the pool itself back to full. Does that sound like decent triage to you guys? Is there anything else I could do to make the job easier or prevent further damage? I don't know anything about the chemistry of a pool and don't know if I should dump chlorine in or not.
 

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PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
6,443
Damascus, MD
Pool Size
29000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
Wow what a mess. Step one - do not empty the pool! It sounds like your water table could be fairly high and emptying a pool could cause it to "float" and pop out of the ground. Clean out everything you can and see where you stand. You are going to need lots of chlorine along with possibly new pool equipment. Do you have pics of the equipment pad? I'd get a professional in there to evaluate the motorized cover. Those are very expensive and hopefully yours can be salvaged. Good luck that is quite the job!
 

cowboycasey

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LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
8,648
Southern OK
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
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SWG Type
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Welcome to TFP :)

You have a swamp going there and we love these threads like no other... Your pool can come back from the dead and many have.. It is all about one step at a time...

1. Start by getting as much junk of the cover and start pumping the water off..
2. order a test kit, I would whole heartedly get a TF100 with the XL option and a speed stir... it will make your job easier in the end.. one of these kits..
TF-Pro with SpeedStir this one is a little more but has a nice container..
TF-100 Test Kit ™
3. once the cover is off see if anything is under it, from the looks of it all of the gunk is on the cover so not really anything should be under it..
4. we will start to tackle the water, once you test it we can go from there...

How does the equipment look? depending on how long it has been you may have to get new equipment.. Post up some pictures of the equipment pad so we can get a look at whet you have..

You can do this :)
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,892
NY
Man pickle……. You ain’t kidding. That’s quite the pickle. Easily in our top 20. But there’s good news too, we’ve seen it at least 19 other times. And a boatload of times that were plenty bad enough but didn’t quite make top honors.

My initial thoughts for now is your plan is great to start. Besides the water you’ll want to get as much of the muck/mud and whatever all that foliage is rooted in off as well. It is going to literally weight a ton. Maybe several because it’s wet.

As said above. You got this. You also got us now too. Welcome !!
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
8,648
Southern OK
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool SJ-40
I really love this pic, that is actually growing in the pool on top of the cover... :)

1626439650565.png
 

jtpipkin

Bronze Supporter
Oct 2, 2016
329
albany, ga
I would start by getting that water off the cover asap and let everything start to dry. Dude was right and removing that waterlogged stuff is going to be difficult - will definitely help to start the drying process and decrease the weight...
 

sls

Member
Jun 13, 2007
22
Poplar Bluff, MO
You can bring it back to life. Here is a friend's pool after it sit for 35 years with no cover. He did all the repairs/re-paint etc. Yours will probably be easier since you had a cover over it for some of the time.
 

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mpickle

New member
Jul 16, 2021
4
Indianapolis
Wow, thanks a lot guys! After posting on the pool subreddits I was thinking I wasn't going to find much help online. They were incredibly dismissive, one guy even just responded with, "Fill it."

Getting it swimmable and back in working order is pretty low on my priorities list as, unfortunately, the pool is just the tip of the iceberg. The roof has been leaking for more than a decade, the kitchen+laundry room flooded when a pipe burst, and the I'm pretty confident the gutters are just funneling water onto the foundation. Right now I'm thinking the long term solution is selling the place, but I haven't even looked at the financials yet and that might not be able to--even to a house flipper--without a lot of money into repairs or a herculean amount of effort on my part. If getting some chlorine in there and starting to muck with the chemicals would help get the cover up (perhaps by preventing more growth or killing the stuff in there--I'm not sure) I'd be happy to do that. I can't access the equipment pad at the moment due to trash trees, weeds as tall as I am, and a fallen fence, however once I get a path cleared over there I'll post pictures of that as well.

The reason the pool jumped up on my priorities list is actually because theres probably a dozen frogs living it now. They're real shy in the daytime and I couldn't get a good picture of them, but I'll try it again tonight if its not raining. They make quite the ruckus at night time, but, between them and the dragon flies, I am grateful that I don't have to worry about mosquitos out there. I'm hoping that if I can get the cover dry they'll find somewhere else to sing, this is the only standing water around for about a mile I believe. I also added some other pictures of the rest of the pool that I skipped last time, there's an old wire that the vines are climbing that I think was the power drop back in the 70's before IPL redid the neighborhoods poles.

You can see some of the ground has shifted due to the unwanted foliage, is that going to cause severe damage to the pool, or just the ground itself? Also, I have a new aluminum rod and net on the way, you guys think I should get a pump in there to try to dry it off while I clean? I was worried that the sheer amount of silt, algae, and whatever else would just perpetually block a pump and put years of wear on it over the course of a week or two. But if you guys think using it to help me get the cover up wouldn't break it I'm going to need one no matter what, no sense in waiting if it'll help.
 

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mpickle

New member
Jul 16, 2021
4
Indianapolis
Also, I'm sure there are tools better than a pool skimmer for the big stuff. I can't really reach it with a standard rake, you guys think I just get a long rake? I'm pretty new to landscaping (if you can even call this that) and am unfamiliar with the equipment.
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
49,078
Tallahassee, FL
Well that is a full blown eco system! Any tadpoles? How about turtles? We had one that had all of that. We were able to help him clear it!

Step one..........get a yard rake with plastic tines and start getting that gunk out. While you are working on that order the test kit and looking for a easy to get to source of liquid chlorine.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,892
NY
If you scroll through enough of the links in this thread, you'll soon realize that you are by FAR not the first to walk your path. As I said above, your path is a tad 'extra', but there are many that were close, or still just awful, and even a few that were worse. Check it out 👇
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,892
NY
😁 This guy :
 

NCMike

Gold Supporter
Jan 31, 2020
190
Raleigh, NC
Right now, I just want to clean it up enough that I can send professionals back there to tend to other matters without me worrying about them falling in.

Getting it swimmable and back in working order is pretty low on my priorities list as, unfortunately, the pool is just the tip of the iceberg.

I'm not an expert here but these 2 statements you made jumped out at me. In my unexperienced opinion there is no need to spend any money on chlorine or any other chemical unless you goal is to get the pool water clear and swimmable. There is really no in between with pool water. You either add enough chlorine and get the pump and filter running to get it clear and swimmable and continue to add chlorine daily to maintain it or you have green water with algae growing in it.

It sounds like your just trying to clean up the back yard and want people to be able to walk around the pool safely and not fall in. I would probably just rake/scoop all the solids out of the pool and get the cover out and call it a day until you have the time and resources to get it running. Make sure you cover up any skimmer openings. If the lids are really old you may even want to place a thin sheet of plywood/osb over them while people work around the pool. Id hate for someone to fall though an old brittle skimmer lid. The pool is the last thing I would bring back to life on that property, get all your other dusty, dirty projects done first then do the pool.

The experts here can absolutely help you get that pool clear and swimmable again, but I wouldn't do it unless you plan to keep it that way.
 
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dianedebuda

Gold Supporter
Jan 2, 2018
536
Austin TX
Pool Size
24500
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
If you scroll through enough of the links in this thread, you'll soon realize that you are by FAR not the first to walk your path.
I'm not sure whether to be happy or sad that my pool's not in this list. :LOL:

---------------------

@mpickle, you do have support and cheering squads here. (y)
 

PCR

Bronze Supporter
Jul 19, 2015
102
Frederick County, MD
Wow, thanks a lot guys! After posting on the pool subreddits I was thinking I wasn't going to find much help online. They were incredibly dismissive, one guy even just responded with, "Fill it."

Getting it swimmable and back in working order is pretty low on my priorities list as, unfortunately, the pool is just the tip of the iceberg. The roof has been leaking for more than a decade, the kitchen+laundry room flooded when a pipe burst, and the I'm pretty confident the gutters are just funneling water onto the foundation. Right now I'm thinking the long term solution is selling the place, but I haven't even looked at the financials yet and that might not be able to--even to a house flipper--without a lot of money into repairs or a herculean amount of effort on my part. If getting some chlorine in there and starting to muck with the chemicals would help get the cover up (perhaps by preventing more growth or killing the stuff in there--I'm not sure) I'd be happy to do that. I can't access the equipment pad at the moment due to trash trees, weeds as tall as I am, and a fallen fence, however once I get a path cleared over there I'll post pictures of that as well.

The reason the pool jumped up on my priorities list is actually because theres probably a dozen frogs living it now. They're real shy in the daytime and I couldn't get a good picture of them, but I'll try it again tonight if its not raining. They make quite the ruckus at night time, but, between them and the dragon flies, I am grateful that I don't have to worry about mosquitos out there. I'm hoping that if I can get the cover dry they'll find somewhere else to sing, this is the only standing water around for about a mile I believe. I also added some other pictures of the rest of the pool that I skipped last time, there's an old wire that the vines are climbing that I think was the power drop back in the 70's before IPL redid the neighborhoods poles.

You can see some of the ground has shifted due to the unwanted foliage, is that going to cause severe damage to the pool, or just the ground itself? Also, I have a new aluminum rod and net on the way, you guys think I should get a pump in there to try to dry it off while I clean? I was worried that the sheer amount of silt, algae, and whatever else would just perpetually block a pump and put years of wear on it over the course of a week or two. But if you guys think using it to help me get the cover up wouldn't break it I'm going to need one no matter what, no sense in waiting if it'll help.
Good luck with this! I know trying to sort out a relative's house that has been deteriorating can be emotionally and physically difficult. I realize you are not wanting to spend a ton of money on this, but seeing the pictures .... perhaps consider hiring 2 or 3 laborers for a day just to clear trees and brush from around the pool and pull as much as they can off the cover to pile in some designated spot or take away. It might be money well spent and maybe not really cost all that much. That would give you a jump start on being able to remove the cover or find the equipment pad or whatever you decide to do and make it not quite so overwhelming! (Personally, the very first thing I would do is make 1000% sure there is no electricity still running in that wire that appears to be dropping into the pool!)
 

mpickle

New member
Jul 16, 2021
4
Indianapolis
Good luck with this! I know trying to sort out a relative's house that has been deteriorating can be emotionally and physically difficult. I realize you are not wanting to spend a ton of money on this, but seeing the pictures .... perhaps consider hiring 2 or 3 laborers for a day just to clear trees and brush from around the pool and pull as much as they can off the cover to pile in some designated spot or take away. It might be money well spent and maybe not really cost all that much. That would give you a jump start on being able to remove the cover or find the equipment pad or whatever you decide to do and make it not quite so overwhelming! (Personally, the very first thing I would do is make 1000% sure there is no electricity still running in that wire that appears to be dropping into the pool!)
Electricity in that wire, wow thanks for mentioning that! I didn't even think of that... I'm pretty confident that there isn't any electricity in considering the frogs (and I believe I saw a turtle at one point) but I'm the kind of worry wart that would check that first no matter what if I'd thought of it. I'm gonna get that out as soon as I can now.

If I don't decide to sell the house I still probably would never actually want to swim in it and would be looking for the cheapest way to make sure there are no expensive problems festering in it. What my dad was doing back when he was still mainting it was pumping the water off the cover, clearing off the leaves, and never opening it. That's probably the state I'd state I'd like to get it back to. As long as algae growing under the cover of the pool doesn't create any problems that some elbow grease and chlorine couldn't solve (in case I ever change my mind), I wouldn't mind it. But if filtering and chlorine is required to prevent a full-blown ecosystem from growing inside--even with a maintained cover and closed filters--then I'll need to do that as well. Speaking of which thanks for mentioning the filters, most of those are currently covered with weeds and ivy and I should clear those up and get those covered.

My new pool rod finally game and I was able to yank up some of the water weed and clear out a ton of algae. The thought of hiring a couple workers as definitely crossed my mind, but there are so many problems with the house right now and I have no idea as of yet how much insurance is going to come through, and I'm penny pinching as much as humanly possible until I get people out here for estimates on everything. And on top of that I'm a very paranoid individual and I have convinced myself that it would be just my luck that the first person to go back there would fall in or have a branch fall on them and immediately my dad's estate would be lost to a lawsuit.

Deer carcass! Oh my, thank you, I'm counting my blessings now.

Here's some photos of some of the stuff I fished out of the pool today and some of the progress I made. Definitely going to need a long rake, thanks for mentioning plastic tines, I probably wouldn't have got a metal one otherwise. That branch you can sorta see in the second photo there is in real good, I think I might need to get that carry along too and attach it to stump of one of the trash trees I cut down to get it out of there, but I also might be able to fish it up once I get most of the gunk off of it with that rake. Fairly confident I fished out a frog that immediately jumped back in but I'm not entirely sure.

Thanks again for all the help guys! I'll keep posting pics as I make more progress.
 

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