Starting with a swamp - order of operations?

CrystalRiver

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
310
Massachusetts
I've taken responsibility for a pool that has been neglected for three years. Not winterized, not covered, nothing. It's a swamp, to put it nicely. Started with visibility of 3 inches.

Pump/filter are almost rehabbed. K-2006 is on its way. I have new strips (I know) and old reagents (I know) in an hth 6-way, and their results are unsurprising - 0 FC, 0 TC, pH off the charts high, 0 CYA. I added some acid to get pH onto the chart, and started dissolving stabilizer via sock and pool noodle.

Once the pump is running, what's next? I assume a bunch of vacuuming blindly, running the filter, and backwashing. How much of this before I begin adding chlorine? No point in burning up chlorine on stuff that's going to get vacuumed/filtered out.

Then, for chemicals, I believe I should keep working on CYA throughout, first adjust pH to 7.2, then start adding chlorine by the pumper truck (not really) to SLAM.

What is a good CYA target? I'm thinking low-ish (20-30) during SLAM, then around 40 for regular use. Massachusetts, 12 hours full sun.

Once SLAM is complete, what numbers do I need to test and adjust, other than CYA and FC?
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,932
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
First you dredge and remove as much soggy compost as you can before it steals your bleach. You can also brush every inch blindly to loosen stuff up.
Study this as well. Ammonia - Further Reading You want to be sure there's no ammonia before you add any CYA.

There's plenty of success stories in Recovering my old inspirational links. The newer ones are last.
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,357
Laughlin, NV
Prior to adding stabilizer, and when you have a reliable method of testing FC/CC, do the following:
Raise your FC in the water using enough liquid chlorine to get to 10 ppm using PoolMath. Circulate the pool for 15 minutes. Test FC and CC. Report results here.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
1,582
Spring Valley, NY
Been there done that, first order of the day besides what was written above is to get all the organics out of the water by using a good quality leaf rake aka leaf net. The one in the Walmarts and the like will break from the weight of that stuff. Amazon has strong ones with good ratings. The more you remove the quicker slam and expect it to take some time. You'll also need a stash of liquid chlorine so go get some 20 jugs before you start. Follow pool school slam methods to the T and keep those levels slam high a much as possible along with brushing twice daily.
 
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CrystalRiver

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
310
Massachusetts
I don't live with the pool, so it's difficult for me to stay on top of a SLAM like I should. We're also having a lot of thunderstorms which make it unsafe to go check on it at times.

Monday: Added 10 ppm chlorine, waited 10 minutes, tested and got:
FC 9.5
CC 1.0
pH 7.4

Tuesday: Did not test, just added 10 ppm chlorine and circulated the water for about 30 minutes due to t-storms.

Wednesday before chemicals:
FC 1.0
CC 0.5
pH off the chart low

What gives with that pH??

Second question - filter pressure rises from 13 to 17 in the time it takes to run a FC test. Do I just have to keep up with filtering and backwashing constantly until conditions improve? Since I don't live there, the filter can't run unless I'm standing there to babysit it.
 

CrystalRiver

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
310
Massachusetts
Things are slowly, agonizingly slowly, improving. Filter run time is increasing about 50% each time I backwash - we're up to three hours between backwashes now. Water clarity is finally beginning to clear up somewhat. I know there's still junk on the bottom, but I don't dare vacuum blindly. I've pulled out sticks, and I know there are broken pieces of a wier door down there. I don't want to push anything through the liner, so slow and steady is my game.

TA was 20. I've brought that up to about 50 now. pH (when FC is low enough to test pH) is still trending down, but I have trichlor pucks in a floater so I'm not surprised. The pucks were there, and the pool needs chlorine and cyanuric acid, so why not use them.

Chlorine demand is gradually dropping, filter run time between backwashes is increasing, and water clarity is (finally) starting to get a bit better. All signs of progress in the right direction. When I can run the filter 24 hours a day (with a few visits to top up chlorine and backwash) I think things will get a lot better a lot faster.

Five inches of visibility now, only 40 inches to go!
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,357
Laughlin, NV
If there is still solid debris in the pool, the SLAM will be very slow to clear. The chlorine is oxidizing all that stuff. The sooner you can get the solid debris out, the sooner you will have success.
 
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CrystalRiver

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
310
Massachusetts
The pool has definitely turned a corner. The filter ran all day yesterday and only rose 1 psi. We stopped it and cleared out the skimmer basket every ~2 hours, but other than that it was on. There are some large oak leaves coming up - larger than my hand - and it only takes a few to block the basket. I returned to a clogged basket and struggling pump once, before capping unattended run time at two hours to prevent a repeat.

The water is beginning to clear, with visibility down to about eight inches.

Most noticably, chlorine demand has dropped off precipitously. My target FC is 12. I had been arriving to a FC of 6, 6.5 most mornings. Yesterday it was 11.5! AND I only needed to add 4.5 cups all day. At the beginning of the process, I was adding 2.5 quarts several times a day.

Definite good progress. Now I'm worried that I will run out of titrating reagent before my refill arrives. I thought I had it ordered, but apparently failed to submit it. I will be carefully logging my chlorine demand for as long as the reagent lasts. When I run out, I will have no choice but to make my best guess on dosing, and the logs will help with that.
 
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setsailsoon

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LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,508
Stuart/FL
Once you get sufficient visibility to get the crud off the bottom it will reduce your SLAM time. Any chance you can lift the door parts with a vacuum then move it to a place where you can pluck it out without damaging the liner? Then get the crud out? As the experts above have indicated a few grams of solids take a LOT of chlorine to fully oxidize and they can extend the time your CC stays above the required levels.

Chris
 

CrystalRiver

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
310
Massachusetts
I've been reading and I'm considering merits of adding some DE or cellulose to the sand filter to help the water clear faster. Clear water means I can see bottom means I can confidently remove solids.

Does that sound reasonable at this point?
 

CrystalRiver

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2020
310
Massachusetts
Did two rounds of cellulose fiber today. Pressure held steady at 13 psi (starting) for a while, ten minutes or so, then shot up rather quickly to 17 within 30 seconds. FYI for anyone else who may be in a similar situation, keep an eye on the gauge, it's not a linear rise in pressure over time.

Spent a while vacuuming. Really didn't get much. A handful of leaves and a bunch of pine needles. Less than one bag full in an hour or two.

Not sure what's going on, why it won't clear. Vacuuming isn't getting much, and is frustrating as it is a blind fishing expedition. I can't see anything past eight inches down, and that's if I clear the foam. Oh, the foam! The surface is solid foam, no visible water at all.IMG_20200712_163932.jpg

I know you'll ask for chemistry.
FC 11.5 (raised to 12)
pH 7.2 last time I was able to check
TA 50
CH 30
CYA calculated to be 30. Can't test because pool water is too cloudy.

Still missing weir pieces.IMG_20200712_125253.jpg