Salt Water Pool Turned Into A Murky Green Mess

by Toni
(Glendale, AZ)

Got a new salt water system. Had noticed green tinge to my water. Called a professional he took water sample and told me I have put too much salt in my pool.

He then told me to super shock it, which i did.
2 days later dark green soupy water....

Please Help

Thanks for the question Toni

Congratulations on your new salt system. I'm sure you'll have fun with it. I had one customer in Glendale. Very nice house with a 55,000 gallons pool. First, I'd like to have your complete chemicals readings:

Chlorine, CYA (cyanuric acid/stabilizer), pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, Metals (iron/copper, if any). It makes troubleshooting much easier and the process of clearing up your pool will go much faster. You can get this done at your local pool store.

If you don't already have one, a good Taylor FAS-DPD K-2006 pool test kit is what you need.

Pool Water Testing

Water Testing Kit

Without these numbers I'm just guessing at what the problem is. What was your salt level, and what is it supposed to be? And how did the pool professional take the sample?

Did he take the sample at pool side, or did he take it into the pool store then give you the readings later?

The reason that I'm asking is I'm trying to find out if he had a hand held salinity meter or if he just pushed a button on the salt cell.

Pushing a button isn't always accurate and they can give a false positive. Too much salt in the pool won't turn your pool green, per se.

What it may do is cause the cell to not function properly or to burn up, thus causing a drop in chlorine. That's why it's very important to keep the salinity in range.

Here's a post form another salt pool owner whose pool guy tried to pull a fast one:

Are These Salt Water Pool Balance Readings Right?

Sometimes questions just don't sit well with me. I've come across too many questions where a pool guy came in, said this and that, sold the pool owner $300 worth of useless chemicals, and walked out. Also, why did he tell you to shock the pool? Did he take the chlorine reading? What was it?

If you could email back with a few more details on what transpired and your readings, I'm sure I can help. Also, I know this for an absolute fact, pool guys are a dime a dozen in central Arizona. I had a route of about 50 pools in the Phoenix/Mesa area for years.

Hope to hear from you soon so we can get your pool back up and running.


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Cloudy Water In My Salt Water Pool

by Eva

I have a 14,000 gallon salt water pool. We have been experiencing cloudy pool water for months now.

We are located next to a river and our pool has a hydrostatic relief valve.

As you know there is alot of flooding going on right now and even though we are not flooded, the river level is much higher than normal.

We cannot maintain an acceptable pH level without chemicals, nor can we maintain an adequate amount of chlorine without chemicals.

We have shocked several times, used a sequester, backwashed (even though the sand filter did not have a high head preesure).

We have been reading our pool every 2 hours the past two weeks to try and get ahead of the problem and still the water is cloudy. When I backwashed I let it run for a full hour emptying about half the pool.

We refilled, added the correct amount of salt, adjusted the pH, and the chlorine, and let it run 24 hours, then I did the tests on the water.

These are the results:

pH 7.2

Alkalinity 210

Calcium hardness 200

My pool temp is 83 degrees (normally 80) and my salt content 3000 ppm.

My pool guy came in and had me shock it again but it has almost burned off and there is still no change. When I drained the pool I noticed no rust stains or algae.

I vaccum the pool every night and brush the walls daily.

I have cared for this pool for the last 2 years and have not had this problem before. I dont know what more I can do.

Is the river water contaminating my pool via the hydrostatic relief valve?

I have inspected my high pressure sand filter and found the sand to be pretty much level and filled to the proper level with the right grade of sand.

There were no holes in the sand that were visible.

We chemically dose the pool throughout the day.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for the question Eva. And very nicely written.

First, for other visitors that may not know, a hydrostatic relief valve is located in the deep end of the pool. It can be found under the maindrain or a box on the bottom of the pool.

Its purpose is to relieve the build up of pressure from underneath the pool. If the pool was drained with a high water table, the pool may float up or crack.

The hydrostatic relief valve then opens and allows the ground water to enter the pool. This keeps the balance of the pressure between the ground and pool (equalibrium) and to relieve any built up pressure underneath the pool.

That being said, I would suspect that you may have a faulty hydrostatic relief valve, but there could be a hundred reasons why your pool water is cloudy.

Cloudy Pool Water

Considering that, I have never personally repaired a hydrostatic relief valve. My pool route was in Arizona where it only rains about 8 inches per year, so I didn't have an issue like yours.

Other pool guys that I knew were familar with them, but they really never disscused it because it didn't pertain to Arizona.

The flooding will cause the water to rise to the top. We have that problem in Oregon where we get about 40 inches of rain per year. I drain the YMCA pool each September, do repairs, refill and balance it out.

We can't do it in Janurary because of the water table being so high.

Be sure when you shock you're getting to the super chlorination level. I just answered that question in this post:

Algae Will Not Die In My Pool

Check the chlorine stabilizer/cyanuric acid (CYA) and try to keep that between 30 - 50ppm.

Read this post about how to properly shock your pool and what to do afterwards.

Use a good metal sequestering agent only when you have metal (iron and copper) in the water. Take a sample of pool water to your local pool store for analysis.

If metals are found, you can use a good metal sequestering agent like Jacks Metal Free or Metal Wizard.

These agents won't get rid of the metal, but it keeps it in solution, or suspension, until it can get filtered and backwashed out.

Be careful backwashing so much. Each time you backwash you lose a little bit of sand. Sand filters need just a little bit of pressure to run properly.

If you need to lower the pool level, try putting the valve to WASTE or renting a pool pump. This bypasses the filter and you won't lose any sand.

Another thing would be the alkalinity. 210ppm is a bit high and might be contributing to your cloudy pool water.

You want it in the range of 80 - 100ppm.

You can go to this post to learn how to lower your pool alkalinity:

Pool Alkalinity

It has charts and exactly what you need to do.

Your calcium level is in line, but don't allow it to go higher than 250ppm or you'll run the risk of burning up the salt cell.

It sounds like you've done everything right the last 2 years, and if the only variable is the flooding, then I would suspect it is a faulty hydrostatic relief valve that is allowing river water and possibly contaminants into the pool.

I would encourage you to find a local pool store that can handle the repairs. I can't tell you how because that is one area I've never worked on.

Hope this helps and good luck with your pool.

The Summer is still young and hopefully you can get your pool repaired and have fun swimming.


Follow Up Comment
By: Eva
Date: May 28, 2011

Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

With the water table high right now I won't be able to do much to repair the valve at this time but you can be sure that I will as soon as I am able.

Thanks again.

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Salt Water Pool Green Bottom

by Ronnie

I have a salt water swimming pool in ground with a liner. Installed almost one year ago.The chlorine generator is producing 4ppm level. The chemicals get checked once a week. The latest test showed all levels were in appropriate ranges.

My problem is the bottom of my pool keeps getting green algae. I vacuum 2 times a week but the algae comes right back the next day. Since all my levels are ok I am not sure why the green keeps coming back. I was wondering if I could use sodium bicarb powder to see if that will help out? I have used it in the past but that was a pool that was not salt water. It has always worked for me to reduce algae. Thanks for your time!

Thanks for the question Ronnie. This sounds like a chemical question so I'd like to have your complete chemical readings, the actual numbers:

Chlorine, CYA (cyanuric acid/stabilizer), pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Metals (iron and copper) and names of any algaecides you may have used along with clarifiers, phosphate removers, and/or flocs. It makes troubleshooting much easier and the process of clearing up your pool will go much faster. Green water is a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. I also need the kind of filter you have and if it's working properly. If it's not working it must be fixed in order to clear up the pool.

If you feel your situation is more complex than this, I do phone and/or SKYPE consultations. 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. If you purchase a personal phone consult you'll get all 3 eBooks for free.

Pool Consultation

Clear Blue Pool eBook

How To Clear Up A Green Pool eBook

Swimming Pool Resources


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