Pool Turned Brown Again!!

Racingpools

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
26
Orlando, FL
I'll try and keep this brief. I'm hoping those with more experience in this area can confirm my theories and keep me on track, so here's a break down.

Pool: 15,000gals. 15x30. Inground pool. Fresh pebble finish surface. Hayward 1200 cartridge filter with inline Chlorinator. Single Speed pump. Brand new filter (3rd one)with Anti-microbial.
  1. Day 1. Pool surface was refinished - Pool filled with house filtered well water that when previously tested showed no iron only some manganese.
  2. Day 3. Pool finished filling - Pool guy adds 5 gals of Chlorine and 2 Gallons of Muriatic Acid for start up. It turned BROWN immediately. A deep dark black/brown. See picture.
  3. Day 4. Staining began... I started adding Jacks magic Blue (3 quarts) & Magenta (1 quart) and Filter Fiber Stuff each cleaning. Began reducing the Chlorine with Chem Out.
  4. Day 8. Several days later I got the water clear but it had a green hue still. Massive staining was present everywhere.
  5. Day 9. Acid treatment - 10lbs of Citric (too much!!) & 1 bottle of 'all in one' Algaecide from Pinch. Stains began lifting.
  6. Day 10. The next day the pool went completely cloudy and bright. Potentially a good sign I thought... I kept the filter was running 24/7 and added 4 lbs of Stabilizer.
  7. Day 14. 4 days later the pool was beginning to smell bad and no changes were happening on the cloudiness. I was told to shock it. 3 bags of shock go in. So far so good... smell was gone but still cloudy blue.
  8. Day 15. Wake up in the morning to BROWN water. Certainly not as bad but can barely see the second step and instead of an alluring bright blue it's a horrible green/brown. I kept the filter running 24/7 and cleaning about once per day.
  9. Day 18. Added CuLator bags to the skimmer and the pump housing is reoccurring. Staining is reoccurring. I'm continuing to add Jack's magic about 1/4 bottle per week.
And that's where we are. I'm keeping the Ph around 7.2-7.4 with Muriatic acid. Not adding chlorine but currently FC is 5ppm (and decreasing) & TC is 5ppm. TA is 120ppm. Calcium Hardness turns purple at around 150ppm & CYA was reading below scale when last checked. About 600 TDS. I've ran Iron, Copper & manganese test strips but everything comes back negative presumably because of sequestering agent or bleaching from Chlorine.

My plan is to let the Chlorine work its way out naturally, at around that time hopefully I can get the water clear again just by continuously running the pump and regular filter cleanings and the Curators doing the heavy lifting. Once I'm there I can try again with a acid treatment and fresh Culators to grab the metals or alternative stain treatment that doesn't require removal of chlorine.

Any advice or just general reassurance that I'm on the right track would be appreciated. My pool guy basically picked up his check, told me it was my fault for using well water and has washed his hands of me so I've been flying blind for the last 3 weeks.
 

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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to TFP! :wave: Well, it looks like even with good intentions, you still have too much iron in that water. Then it appears a significant amount of chlorine was added with no stabilizer, and the chlorine is exponentially strong without stabilizer. That alone would drive the iron crazy to discolor the water and look for places to attach.

My recommendation would be to keep the FC balanced with the current CYA as noted on the FC/CYA Chart. You'll need a good test kit at this point as well. Don't use strips or fall for pool store testing or products. That's a waste. Get a TF-100 (link in my signature) or a Taylor K-2006C kit. That's very important. Normally with iron, we would advise to keep the pH on the lower end, but you have to be careful since this is new plaster. You don't want to etch the plaster with aggressive water.

While the iron is precipitated out, this is a good time to catch it. Checkout the page below (polyfill). Try to incorporate something like that now if you can.

 
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Racingpools

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
26
Orlando, FL
Thank you! I’ll take a closer look at the CYA. I was told that it can take a couple of weeks to get a good reading, and that adding too much stabilizer would lead to needing to drain part of the pool because it can’t be removed, is there any truth to this?

I’d heard about the polyfil but most the stuff I’d read was for above ground set up’s. That 55 gallon drum looks genius. I was thinking of setting up something similar but using the suction line normally used for the pool cleaner. Thoughts?
 

Racingpools

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
26
Orlando, FL
Thank you! I’ll take a closer look at the CYA. I was told that it can take a couple of weeks to get a good reading, and that adding too much stabilizer would lead to needing to drain part of the pool because it can’t be removed, is there any truth to this?

I’d heard about the polyfil but most the stuff I’d read was for above ground set up’s. That 55 gallon drum looks genius. I was thinking of setting up something similar but using the suction line normally used for the pool cleaner. Thoughts?
Also I have a Taylor K2005 already. Love it!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
The K-2005 is okay, but you need the FAS-DPD which upgrades teh 2005 to a 2006. Very accurate FC/CC testing. As for the polyfill, I would try it. The sooner the better to try and capture the iron. About the CYA, those who state the CYA takes a couple weeks is probably because the stabilizer was added to the skimmer and sitting in the filter waiting to dissolve. We recommend adding granule stabilizer by soaking in a sock and hanging near a return jet or in the skimmer. Then squeeze often to get it to dissipate. Once it's all in the water, your CYA is pretty-much there. So keep that in mind for next time.
 

Racingpools

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
26
Orlando, FL
The K-2005 is okay, but you need the FAS-DPD which upgrades teh 2005 to a 2006. Very accurate FC/CC testing. As for the polyfill, I would try it. The sooner the better to try and capture the iron. About the CYA, those who state the CYA takes a couple weeks is probably because the stabilizer was added to the skimmer and sitting in the filter waiting to dissolve. We recommend adding granule stabilizer by soaking in a sock and hanging near a return jet or in the skimmer. Then squeeze often to get it to dissipate. Once it's all in the water, your CYA is pretty-much there. So keep that in mind for next time.
Awesome. I'll get one on the way.

Will find a solution to give polyfil a go. However, I've been reading that any mechanical filtration system will remove only the precipitated iron and will leave any soluble iron behind and I assume this means that at some point or other any soluble iron will eventually precipitate and cause staining unless you have a never ending regime of sequestering agent. So is it better to cut my losses and pay to have the pool refilled via delivery service, or how can I make sure all of the iron has precipitated and caught in mechanical filters?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Yes, the optimal time to capture iron is when it is agitated and visible as yours is now. Once the iron levels go down and no longer react to the chlorine, or you use a sequestrant, it becomes more difficult to capture. Water exchange would be the ideal solution, but since your pebble is brand new, I don't think you want to risk a water exchange at this time. So filtering through poly might give you relief for now until you find a suitable time to have fresh water trucked in.
 

Racingpools

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
26
Orlando, FL
Yes, the optimal time to capture iron is when it is agitated and visible as yours is now. Once the iron levels go down and no longer react to the chlorine, or you use a sequestrant, it becomes more difficult to capture. Water exchange would be the ideal solution, but since your pebble is brand new, I don't think you want to risk a water exchange at this time. So filtering through poly might give you relief for now until you find a suitable time to have fresh water trucked in.
But in theory, you can just stop adding sequestering agent, keeping chlorine levels consistent or even slightly elevated and overtime all the iron should precipitate and be caught? At which time you could run an AA treatment to release any last iron that is stuck to the surface, catch those and then it should be 0.0ppm iron? in theory, right?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
But in theory, you can just stop adding sequestering agent, keeping chlorine levels consistent or even slightly elevated and overtime all the iron should precipitate and be caught? At which time you could run an AA treatment to release any last iron that is stuck to the surface, catch those and then it should be 0.0ppm iron? in theory, right?
Yes, but you don't want to do an AA at this time. Not with the new plaster.
 

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Racingpools

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
26
Orlando, FL
Okay. What’s the theory behind not running AA treatment with new plaster? As explained I already did citric acid treatment so I hope I didn’t damage anything.
What will be the best move to remove any residual staining?
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
13,058
Houston, Texas
If you have small spots of staining here and there you can treat them directly by putting some crushed vitamin C tablets or left over citric acid in a sock and lay or rub it on the stain til it lifts. What you filter out will stay out and not redeposit on the plaster, however whenever you top off with well water you will be adding more iron to the pool, and eventually if unsequestered it will fall out of solution again. There are a few remedies you can consider.
1. Regular additions of sequestrant throughout the year. Sequestrant will keep iron in solution but it does break down and need to be replenished. The frequency will depend on your iron content.
2. Invest in a rain barrel system to capture iron free rain water and use that to top off the pool.
3. Add a water softener to your outside tap to top off the pool as needed.
 

Racingpools

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
26
Orlando, FL
Thanks Zea3. I'm pretty sure I'll be using method 3 - truthfully adding water seems to be rare for my pool. The volume of rain water here has seen me add water about twice in as many years.

As for the iron that's in there now, will enough Chlorine and no sequestering eventually make it all fall out of solution, so that I will not have any lingering problems from this fill water, or at least below 0.3ppm which I understand is the magic number?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
As for the iron that's in there now, will enough Chlorine and no sequestering eventually make it all fall out of solution, so that I will not have any lingering problems from this fill water, or at least below 0.3ppm which I understand is the magic number?
No. Sequestrants do not remove iron or make it fall out of solution. They do the opposite. They keep it in containment (solution form). Once it wears off, you need to add more or the staining returns. It's a band-aid fix. The higher the iron level, the faster it will interact with the chlorine. The more you can filter out now with polyfill tips noted earlier the better until you are able to replace with fresh water. If you filter out enough iron now, you might get away with not having to replace water, but you have to rig something up now.
 
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Racingpools

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
26
Orlando, FL
No. Sequestrants do not remove iron or make it fall out of solution. They do the opposite. They keep it in containment (solution form). Once it wears off, you need to add more or the staining returns. It's a band-aid fix. The higher the iron level, the faster it will interact with the chlorine. The more you can filter out now with polypill tips noted earlier the better until you are able to replace with fresh water. If you filter out enough iron now, you might get away with not having to replace water, but you have to rig something up now.
I see. I'm really hoping to not have to replace water, its expensive and risky at this time of year.

Polyfil going in today. I've read about people adding polyfil in the skimmer but I've seen no pictures. Is it as simple as adding the material to the basket, I assume it won't get pulled through the basket and into the lines?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Polyfil going in today. I've read about people adding polyfil in the skimmer but I've seen no pictures. Is it as simple as adding the material to the basket, I assume it won't get pulled through the basket and into the lines?
Yes, it's that simple. But if you have a separate water pump that you can drop in the pool, you can rig-up one of those separate polyfill containers as well to help expedite the filtering. That would be ideal.
 
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zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
13,058
Houston, Texas
Just don't pack the skimmer tight with polyfil. You don't want to starve the pump. Keep a bucket nearby and rinse out the dirty polyfil and you can re-use it.
 

Racingpools

Active member
Apr 29, 2021
26
Orlando, FL
So I’ve loaded up the skimmer with a couple handfuls of polyfil and left it overnight. I definitely did not overpack. The material had a very very light brown hue around the edges but not as much as I was expecting. Any pointers to expedite?

FC- 3
PH 7.2
TA 100
CH 180
 

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