Trying to keep my head above water... Trying


New member
Mar 20, 2016
Stillwater, PA
I took a job for a hotel. I am extremely qualified in all aspects of this job except pool care. I think I am getting the hang of the bromine system, which we have to use, and all the testing. But, I don't know any history on this pool, or how they treated it. The hotel has changed ownership and management, and I don't think it was friendly. Money is hard to come by, and that has been part of the problem.

Anyway... When I started, they were having a problem with staining. It starts on the steps, them moves to the bottom and walls. I thought I was told once that it was copper, but the pool store told me there isn't any copper or iron in my water samples (the pool water and the fill well water). The pool guy said it's magnesium, although he didn't test for it.

We were given "magic dust" by the scoop in an unmarked bag. We have been given 3 different types of sequestering agents as well. The dust removes the stains almost immediately, and I end up with a bright blue sides and bottom. The water gets extremely cloudy, and I failed the Department of Health testing for clarity. I was told my management to shock it, and the water changed colors and the staining came back worse than ever. It looked like a pond.

I started the dust treatment again. Lowered the Bromine level, shut down the pump for 24 hours, added the sequestering agent, then started the pump again and added a pack to the filter basket that is supposed to remove metals and change color. It hasn't changed color, which I was told meant it is magnesium. I let the pump run and run, but he cloudiness wouldn't go away. My levels were OK, except for the bromine. So, I had the health department coming by for another inspection, and the clarity was bad, really bad. I started adding bromine (4 days after starting treatment), and the stains started coming back. Dusted again, for the inspector, but the clarity never has come back. My pump pressure never changed at all, never had to backwash. I just read in another post that I should have put it on recirculate instead of filter though. I added some DE, to try and improve the filtering, and that bumped up the pressure 4#'s. But still haven't reached the 10 psi bump that would necessitate backwashing. I was told by the pool guy that backwashing too often can create more problems with filtering than it helps.

I now have staining starting again. I added Jack's Magenta Stuff, at the advice of the pool store. I am starting to lose faith in the pool store...

My numbers this morning were:
Bromine: 5
Ph: 7.2
TA: 80
CH: 209

That is all my tests will show me. As I said, money is hard to come by, and they bought a test 4 months ago. I have no idea how they went through all the important reagents, but most are incomplete. I bought a Taylor kit for Bromine out of my own pocket, but wasn't going to spend $100.
The MetalTrap was suggested, but that is pretty expensive for a what if and won't solve my problems with the metal that is already in the pool.

Sorry for the long winded opening thread, just wanted to get all my details. Any input great or small is encouraged and welcome.
Last edited:


TFP Expert
Feb 3, 2014
Central Minnesota
Keep in mind, this site is aimed at helping residential pool owners and does not support or claim to be capable of giving advice for a pool that must pass EPA and local government standards... though our pools frequently look better and are safer to swim in that commercial pools. :cool:

How are you adding bromine to the pool? Is your kit capable of testing for combined chlorine (combined bromine)? This usually means a FAS-DPD test for FC/CC.

You're likely seeing precipitation of metals stains when your pH rises and the metals come out of solution (pool water) and deposit on surfaces. Lowering the pH puts them back into solution, eliminating the staining temporarily. Metals are not a problem that is easily solved but there are some articles here, detailing possible solutions. Pool School - Metals in the Water and Metal Stains Cloudiness is typically not from metals problems. It is either from mineral clouding because of chemicals added on rare occasions, but most often it is due to improper sanitation: organics not being properly oxidized by chlorine or bromine.

When you shocked the pool, what did you use? It's important to know exactly what chemicals you're putting in the pool and perform proper, daily testing (probably more than once a day in a commercial pool). Without that, there is no hope for a clean pool.

Management must make a decision. Arm you with the tools and knowledge to manage the pool, hire outside parties responsible for the management of the pool or close the pool.


New member
Mar 20, 2016
Stillwater, PA
Thank you for the response! I had to make a decision and force managements hand today. I found a pool guy, with 24 years experience, and I have already noticed an improvement. He has a huge testing lab, and determined it is sulfur and iron. The other pool company that was doing my backup testing wasn't very reliable and was apparently just selling me quick fixes, which didn't allow me to keep levels to the Department of Health's regulations.

I test the pool water 3 times a day. Apparently previous people hadn't been taking care of it, and we were closed for bacteria. Mainly because they were keeping their santizers low because of the metal, which when I add bleach, the stains would become very angry, and I would get more dust (absorbic acid it turns out). I am learning as I go, and they are sending me for my Pool Operator license soon.

This new guy sent me back with stuff called Metal Magnet, and a Sparkle product to run through the skimmer. Also turns out that previous people also closed the main drains on the bottom, affecting the circulation. I am waiting to see if that was because of a leak or just stupidity. He also had me up my alkalinity and PH a bit more, which hasn't hurt with this new solution.

I will keep this posted if these product do what it is claimed they will do.

Thanks again!