Mud In My Pool. How To Clean Dirty Pool Water

by Andrea

I have a 36'x18' in ground vinyl lined pool. The liner was just replaced last year. We have to haul ALL of our water. Cost over $1,000 to fill the pool in 2012.

Recent heavy rains caused mud to come off the hillside and get into the pool. We vacuum to waste now every time it rains, but the mud seems to stay in suspension. Can't afford to drain and refill this year. HELP!!!

Thanks for the question Andrea

This is one of the tricky issues when you have a pool. What you're doing is right, to vacuum to WASTE. The issue is when you do vacuum you lose alot of water and need to top it off, but you said you have trucked in water for your pool.

How to clean dirty pool water is difficult when you need to do it yourself and you don't have a pool maintenance service. You want to keep the cost low and do the pool care and maintenance yourself. Pool maintenance costs can go up if you're not careful.

2nd, and this is what I had to do when big wind storms hit Arizona, you need to turn the system OFF for a while and allow everything to settle to the bottom. This may take a few days.

I would shock the pool and add a PolyQuat 60 algaecide. How often should you shock your pool is debatable but in this situation I think it's needed. Then allow everything to settle to the bottom and vacuum to WASTE. There really is no other way to do it but to vacuum.

You will lose water and need to continuously top it off. You'll want to do this before cleaning your pool. The system will be off for a while so you'll want the extra barrier against algae.

Be sure to use liquid shock for pools, not granular (calcium hypochlorite). The added calcium will settle to the bottom which will cause more work. Liquid chlorine for pools is 3 1/4 qrts. per 10,000 gallons.

If you need immediate assistance (within 24 hrs) or for emergency personal assistance, you can make a donation of your choice and I'll answer your questions by phone.


Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Silt And Mud In Pool

by Doreen

Our area experienced flooding from creeks and rivers and my above ground pool is filled with muddy silt-filled creek water. I have been running the filter, vacuuming, and adding clarifier.

Nothing is helping clear the water. What should I try next?

Thanks for the question Doreen

I have answered similar questions in these posts:

Heavy Rains & Now My Pool Is Filled With Mud

Cleaning Out Lots Of Dirt In The Pool

You never know what's in creek and river water. There could be micro-contaminants or water borne illnesses that you can't see or detect. It's not just the filthy water, but the contaminants in the water that cause the problems.

If you can't vacuum to WASTE on your filter, the best bet is to do a drain and refill. It must be done on a case by case basis.

Sometimes the pool can be salvaged and other times a drain, clean, and refill is necessary. With flood water, it's hard to tell what to do, but again, if you think it's too much to vacuum it out, you're probably right.

When you do vacuum to WASTE you're losing water anyway, then you'll need to refill it again.

Hope this helps and good luck with your pool.


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Brown Pool Water After Chlorine

by Bill Gustafson
(Fosston MN Polk )

I got a 6000 gallon pool and I filled it with well water. I tested it an it had high hardness.

Then I put chlorine in it and then it turned brown. I tested it again and it's all good but the alkalinity is 240.

Thanks for the question Bill

I'd like to have the rest of your chemical readings:

Chlorine, CYA (cyanuric acid/stabilizer), pH, Calcium Hardness, and Metals (iron and copper).
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.

Normally, brown water after chlorination means high iron content. This is common with well water.

Iron in Swimming Pool Water

If the tests come back with high iron, you'll need to use a good metal sequestrant.

Metal sequestrants that are based on HEDP, phosphonic acid and/or its derivatives are the most effective.

Some popular brands are Jack's Magic Blue, Purple, and Pink Pink Stuff, Metal Magic, Metal Free, & Metal Klear.

This is normally not a one shot deal. A metal sequestrant does not remove metal from pool water. It holds it in solution until it can get filtered. Then you backwash the metal out.

Because metal sequestrants break down over time and get filtered and backwashed out, you will need to add a bottle once per week.

Now for the total alkalinity (TA). The range is 80 - 100ppm, 120ppm being the top. Yours is 240ppm, so it needs to decrease by at least 140ppm. That's a good size jump.

It's 0.8 qrts. of acid per 10,000 gallons to decrease the TA 10ppm. You're going to need about 4 gallons of acid, but not all at once.

Start with 1.5 - 2 gallons. Dilute in a bucket with pool water (add acid to water, not water to acid). Stir with a stick and add in one spot with the pump off. Gently sweep the area. Allow to sit for 3 - 4 hours, pump on to FILTER for 8 - 10 hours, then retest and make another adjustment.

Get back to me with the other chemical numbers as soon as you can.

To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Well Water Problems/Iron & Copper" category.

Check back to this post for updates or answers.

If you need immediate assistance (within 24 hrs) or for emergency personal assistance, you can make a donation of your choice and I'll answer your questions by phone.

Contact Me


Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Dirt In Pool

by Darrin

We had a pool put in last November so it is not yet a year old. We have an infloor cleaning system, with Cartridges for filters (No sand). We can sweep the red dirt towards the floor drain at the deep end of the pool and it will be sucked through to the filter system. The next day we can have more of the same Red colored dirt in the bottom of the pool. Is there anyway that the dirt could be coming in from a leak in a water line. How would we know if we had a leak in the lines.

They did do a pressure test on the lines while the rest of the pool was being built. We have washed out the filters in the past, but have not replaced them. Any advice would be helpful.

Hi Darrin. Cartridge filters only last between 2000 - 2500 filter hours. After that the pleats become very thin and allow dirt to flow back to the pool through the returns. If you have your pool open all year, the hours can rapidly increase. It may sound like many filter hours but look at it this way. You run the filter 10 hours per day in the Summer X 30 days. That's a minimum of 300 hours per month X 6 months. You're already at 1800 filter hours. I'd first change the filter and see if that will solve the issue.

Next is a possible return side leak. It can happen, especially with an inground pool. Dirt can get back into the lines and go into the pool. If this is the case you're going to ned to get a leak detection company to find it. You can also get a grease pen and make a small mark at the water line. Check the level in 24 hours. If the level has dropped more than 1/4" you may have a leak. You allow it to keep leaking until it stops. Where it stops is where the leak is. Many times it can be found at the skimmer and/or light.

Hope this helps.

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