Start or wait on my green swamp?


May 4, 2017
Surprise, AZ
Hi all,

Quick timeline, in case it matters. Two months ago I moved into the house. A couple of weeks after moving in, got to work on the pool. Pool store water test showed too many dissolved solids and too much CYA, so drained and refilled. Looked awesome, pool guy came and put starting chemicals (not liquid chlorine), and everything looked great. Two weeks ago, came home one night to find my pump running dry; it never primed. Fought (and am still fighting) those issues for 5 days (no pump/no filter). During this time water turned green. I now can get the pump to reliably prime and come on, so about ready to tackle my green swamp...however, I am going on vacation for two weeks, leaving in one week. Leaving 5/19, back 6/1.

Current water numbers, according to pool store:
FC: 0
PH: 8.2
TA: 140
CH: 80
CYA: 0
Total Available Chlorine: 0

I do have a TF-100 test kit arriving tomorrow (though I'll have to learn how to use it).

In my very limited understanding, might my pool be a candidate for shocking with dichlor or trichlor, since my PH is high and my CYA is low (and obviously my FC is low)? Is that reasonable? Or should I still go with a liquid chlorine solution and work the PH and CYA numbers independently after getting the FC up? The Chem Geek's Chlorine/CYA chart doesn't even have a row for 0 CYA, so I would need some assistance with that.

Second major question: With one week to do this, then gone for two it best just to do nothing and wait, throw some chlorine tabs (how many?!) in and do nothing else until I get back, do something else entirely different (what?), or should I go ahead and try to read and learn how to SLAM all in the one week before I go on vacation...and then do it all again when I come back?!

Third major question: I **think** I have my pump reliably starting on timer now. Should I leave the pump on the time schedule while I'm gone? I might be able to get the neighbors to look in on it...if so, how often and what should I have them do/check for? Or should I just turn everything off since I already have a murky green pond instead of a pool? One other caveat...I do not believe my vacuum is working, only the skimmer (pump sucks air in and loses prime if I open the valve to vacuum).

Thanks for the help...this site is awesome!

- Paul
Last edited:

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Hi Paul! :wave: To your basic question, it's really up to you. If you started the SLAM now, it may not be done by the time you leave. You'll make some progress but then take a few steps back. If you wait, it will still be green when you get back. For now, you could simply add one gallon of regular bleach to the water each day just to keep it in somewhat of a status-quo. That way you're not wasting too much bleach before you go. Bleach by the way is the only way to go during a SLAM. Don't bother with any other products. :)

As for your pump, if it's a 2 speed I'd just leave it on low while you're gone. Not a huge power deal, it will (should) stay primed, and water still moving around. Maybe even ask a neighbor to drop a gallon each day in there for you (near the return jet(s)? A SLAM requires a bit of attention to maintain the proper FC and effort to brush the pool etc. So it's your call based on your schedule. Either way we'll be here to help if you still have questions.

Oh, before you add any bleach, make sure you have "some" CYA (stabilizer) in the water. Grab some granular stabilizer and shoot for a CYA target of "30". That's on the low end, but great for using less bleach during the SLAM. Hope that helps.

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