Possible Leave Water Contamination

by Ken

My question has to do with rusty colored water. I winterized my pool like I do every year although I am not sure on the choline level before I closed it. Usually I shock it to death before closing but last year I may have lowered it a bit. My question is..I picked up the cover yesterday to peak inand noticed rusty colored water. I have a steel cover which I used this year. I am wondering if the leaves mixed in with rain water at some point because there is brown water on the cover.

Could that have seaped through the cover and turned the water that color? I see no tears but noticed the cover may have stretched here and there. There iss still a think sheet of ice at the service but inside the ice there appears to be trapped dirt particles here and there.

Now I also think it could be algae which I have NEVER had an issue with but it appears the bottom of the pool is also covered in this stuff. If I take the net handle and run it on the bottom I can see clear streaks like its coming off.. Would leaf water contamination coat the bottom like that? There wasn't that much water on top of the cover really. I pumped it off and screened off the leaves so now I may have to open it ASAP. Any info would be helpful.

Thanks for the question Ken

The short answer to your question is yes, leaves and other debris combined with heavy algae can cause water to become discolored. It may be that your cover has rusted and that rust dripped into the pool but without a visual on my part it's just speculation.

The neighbor's pool that I take care of has a screen around it and can be seen in my YouTube videos. Many pools in Florida have them. Her screen has been ripped and torn from her dog which allows debris, leaves, and acorns to fall into her pool. All of this causes organic staining on the bottom that can only be remedied by shocking the pool and scrubbing with a wire brush. Any leaves or dirt that falls into the pool will eventually settle to the bottom and perhaps stain it as well. Again, this can be taken care of by bringing the chlorine level up to 12 ppm for a couple of days, rigorous brushing and filtering.

My advice would be to scoop as much debris out of the pool as you can, test the water and adjust everything but the chlorine. Turn the filter on and shock the pool with liquid chlorine. It's 1 gallon of chlorine per 10k gallons to increase the level 10ppm. Keep filtering and backwashing once per day. You may need to shock 2 - 3 times before the water starts to clear up. Shocking is a process, not an event. The trick is to get AND keep the chlorine above 10 - 12ppm for a period of time. You'll need to manually dose the pool with chlorine to keep it at 10 - 12ppm. Make the adjustment at night, then retest in the morning. You can go up to 15ppm, but no higher. Anything after that and you're wasting money and chemicals.

You'll know this is working because the pool will go from green to a white/grey cloudy and the chlorine will begin to hold better. First you may lose most, then 2/3, then 1/2, and so on. Once you only lose 1 - 2ppm of chlorine 8 - 10 hours after the last application you know the algae is dead. Now it's just a matter of filtering and backwashing once per day. Broadcast the chlorine around the perimeter of the pool and brush well. This will loosen up any algae adhering to the walls and bottom.

Shocking a pool isn't adding a bag of chlorine to a pool and expecting it to clear up the pool. Shocking a pool means to kill/eliminate the algae and organic matter. This is done by dosing the pool with enough chlorine to reach a high enough FC level and keeping it at this level to allow the chlorine to kill the algae and organics in the pool faster than they can reproduce.

I would also check the cover or any holes or cracks. Being it's metal it may have a tendency to rust and you don't want that going into the pool. Removing metal stains is totally different than removing organic stains and sometimes much more expensive.

If you feel your situation is more complex than this, I do phone consultations for a donation of your choice. It makes things go much faster and many people have found it extremely beneficial, saving them time and money in the long run. All your questions will be answered. I have nothing to sell you so you know I'm not bias.

Pool Consultation

Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Mar 19, 2015
Opening A Pool Early
by: Ken

Thanks for your response. I should have clarified a few things. I have an above ground pool with a vinyl liner and when I said a steel cover its actually made by Midwest canvas and it's called a steel guard so it's still a typical everyday plastic tarp like cover just supposedly tougher and more expensive.

I have a brush coming in the mail shortly but it's not steel bristles because of the vinyl liner. Also I live in Chicago and I still have a few months before opening. Would you recommend early opening to get this remedied asap? Will chemicals work in freezing water?

Thanks for the clarification. You're correct that you never want to use a wire brush on a vinyl liner. Because of the slickness of vinyl a normal nylon brush will work. The rule for pools is that you want to close as late as possible and open as early as possible. If you're still having sub-freezing temps I wouldn't recommend opening the pool. The reason is the water needs to circulate and filter properly. If this doesn't happen you're basically wasting time and money on chemicals. Many people in your area will open their pools in mid to late April, weather permitting.

I checked the weather in Chicago and it seems that you have lows in the 40s and highs in the 50s. Is that correct? If this is right then you could, theoretically, open the pool as long as you don't get any more lows consistently in the 20s. Once the water gets into the pipes and if the temps drop the pipes could freeze. The water then expands and can break the plumbing.

From your question and follow up it seems as if leaves and debris got into the pool during the Winter. This is not uncommon and can be taken care of but it will probably require some grunt work. It's your call if you can open the pool. If the weather is warm enough and will stay warm enough I would see no issue with opening the pool right away. The temps don't need to be hot, just warm enough that the water in the pipes/pump pot/filter won't freeze up.

If there's good circulation then you should be able to open the pool. Water temps, even in the 40s, won't cause the pipes to freeze. When I had my pool route in AZ the water temps in the Winter were consistently in the 40s, even high 30s, and I never had any issues with pipes freezing. Same in Florida.


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