Something's wrong... possible broken lateral... what should I do first?


Apr 4, 2017
Rochester, NY
Opened the pool and having some issues.

1) Water won't clear up - very cloudy after a week and a half or two weeks despite SLAM.
2) Still debris on the bottom. Left hubby in charge last week while I was out of town, so I thought he just didn't vac enough. Did it tonight and there's yuck shooting back out of the returns. (Is it sand or debris? I'm not sure. It's on my to-do list to check when the sun comes up tomorrow).
3) The filter pressure gauge is dead as a doornail. No reading whether on or off. (Potential air leak? No idea.)
4) The return that's farther away from the filter only has half the pressure of the closer return. They're normally the same.

I'm clueless if these problems are related or not. Wondering if I have a broken lateral, which is why I'm going to check that debris at the bottom of the pool for sand tomorrow first thing. Beyond that, I'm at a loss. If I find sand, I know I need to empty the filter of sand and inspect everything. But if there's no sand? I only notice the debris coming out of the returns when I'm vacuuming. Not during normal operation. Any ideas?


Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
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Jun 22, 2014
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Amy, there are multiple scenarios that only more time, questions, and answers will help tell us. For example:
1 - We don't know your SLAM details. What are your most recent test readings? Which test kit are you using?
2 - Sand or something else? You'll probably see tomorrow. You might also try affixing a sock to a return jet to see if you can capture anything. If it's only happening when you vacuum, you might get lucky and it's organic matter from an overloaded filter. Do you know the last time it was backwashed really well?
3 - Sounds like a bad gauge. has very nice ones at a god price.
4 - This sound more like either a valve is partially opened/closed if return water goes to different jets. If there's only one return PVC line back to the pool and they split underground, could be more tricky. Partial clog ro leak perhaps? No wet ground nearby I hope?

If it is sand, then you'll need to remove the sand, perhaps save on a tarp or something for reuse, and remove/inspect all laterals and the center standpipe. But at this point I would start with the easy things first.
- Post some good test numbers
- See if you catch some junk from the return jets. If not, check in the morning.
- Replace the gauge. You'll need to know your filter pressure. You can't really do a SLAM without knowing the pressure and when to backwash.
- Inspect the surrounding pool area for leaks or anything odd.
- Make sure the pump basket is full of water (primed) at all times when running.

Let's start there and see what info you have for us tomorrow.
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