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Thread: Dark Brown water - NOT IRON!!!!

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    Angry Dark Brown water - NOT IRON!!!!

    I need help. I've been to the pool store twice already and nothing seems to help.

    We installed a 15' Intext above ground pool last weekend. Filled it last Sunday with well water. When we added the water it was clear. I added shock from a HTH "getting started" kit. Within an hour the water started turning brown. I added chlorine. It got more brown. I researched and figured it must be iron in the water so I added coagulant and waited and stopped with the cholorine. Still brown.

    We brought a sample to the pool store and they told us there was NO iron in the water and gave us some things to raise alkalinity and calcium hardness. Also added stabalizer and clarifyer. Week later it still is coffee brown.

    Went again today to pool store for more tests. They did a more specific iron test as well as other tests. No iron. Everything else is perfect. pH. Alkalinity. Calcium hardness. Cyranic acid. All perfect. But my water is still dark brown. We have been cleaning the filter at leastr daily, it doesn't change anything. What is going??? The water was clear when I put in the pool one week ago. What would make it trun so dark brown instantly like this other than iron? It's now been tested for Iron twice. No Iron. I am at my wits end.

    At the pool store they did say that they had another person in the morning who had the same complain who had also used the HTH shock, so they are thinking maybe the shock is bad, and they gave me different shock to try.

    I kind of want to dump it and try bacquacil (sp?) but don't want to make any hasty decisions; obviously if there is a relatively easy fix without dumping it that would be preferable, and would dumping it fix the problem if we refill from the well again....? So much for an "inexpensive" pool that would be "fun" for the summer.... PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!

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    Default Re: Dark Brown water - NOT IRON!!!!

    Hi and welcome! Sorry you are having such a difficult start. Sure sounds like iron to me but I am not the metals expert around here. I'm going to ask Ben to take a look at your thread for you and see what he has to say about the situation. Sit tight. We'll get you some help so your pool will be fun for the summer and not just a source of aggravation!

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    Default Re: Dark Brown water - NOT IRON!!!!

    Hi Cheryl,

    Usually, we tell people that if they just follow the plan, we can help them out, and that it won't be too hard or too expensive.

    I can't tell you that.

    Filling a pool with crappy water is one of the hardest problems we have to confront here . . . and metal contaminated well water is about as crappy as it gets, from a pool operations point of view. The water is probably perfectly safe to DRINK, even without treatment or filtration. But it's not "pool-safe".

    But, we can solve crappy water problems, usually.

    However, the other really hard problem we face is trying to help people run their pool, when they have crappy filters and circulation systems. This is the problem with most AG pools with sand filters . . . and with ALL Intex pools. Still, we can usually help people run Intex pools successfully. One of my mods, CarlD, did so for several years with great results.

    However, the way we solve crappy water problems is to filter out the crap. And, the way we solve crappy filter problems is to avoid having to filter out much, by starting clean and keeping it that way. You can probably see where this is going.

    You've got crappy water, which we need to fix with filtration, and crappy filtration which we need to 'coddle' by avoiding water problems. There's no way that I know of to 'hit a home run' on this field.

    Here are your options, at least as I understand them:

    #1 - We can help you experiment with ways to succeed in situations like yours. It may work; it may not. Personally, I'd love to have your pool in my back yard WITH your water in it, so I could experiment. But if I did, I wouldn't be counting on swimming in it anytime soon.

    #2 - We can help you run a safe-to-swim pool with a combination of polyquat, filtration, and copper. It would STILL be something of an experiment, and it wouldn't be likely to look good for a month. But you and your family -- probably no one else -- could enjoy it, if y'all wear old (or no) swimsuits and just don't worry about the metals. If you dump and refill, there's a fair chance you could even keep it sorta clear. But you would need a couple of sets of extra cartridges to clean and swap out.

    #3 - You can possibly have water trucked in and then use house water (I assume you've got some sort of filtration on the water in your house) to maintain water levels. In that case you could run it like any Intex pool.

    But what I don't have is a good, safe, inexpensive and easy way to run a clear blue water pool when you are filling with metal contaminated well water and putting it into an Intex pool.

    Sorry!

    Ben

    PS. I wouldn't place too much importance on the "no iron" results. There are several possible reasons why these results might have occurred., not least of which is the fact that dealer testing is often awful in quality. Water that turns brown when you add chlorine is a VERY strong indication of metal contamination. Brownish orange is iron; brownish black (coffee) is manganese. Iron is much more common than manganese, but both occur frequently.

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    Default Re: Dark Brown water - NOT IRON!!!!

    Ben is, of course, right. And, yes, I did run an Intex Donut for a few years before installing a FantaSea 40'x16' pool. Intex filters are fine for clean clear water, but not so good when you have problems...been there, done that.
    I seem to remember somebody inventing a contraption using a submersible sump pump and a capped 5 gal bucket filled with cotton()? that acted as an adjunct filter. It sucked the metal out and it stuck in the cotton...does anyone else remember this gadget? Real Rube Goldberg but it worked. I'm not sure what else might work for you. If, in fact, it's metal (and I'd bet it is) the more you can filter out the better.

    When I had my Intex I jury-rigged a vacuum that went through the filter cartridge. I had to be creative to find a way to use the drain for the vacuum but it did actually work.
    Carl

    16'x40' rectangle 19K gal AG vinyl pool; ; Hayward T210 sand filter; Hayward 2 Speed Superpump 1hp pump; hrs; PS 233; PF:6.3

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    Default Re: Dark Brown water - NOT IRON!!!!

    Jan,
    No, but it's a GREAT idea none-the-less! And if it works it's as good as the one I was thinking of, with a sump pump to a covered 5 gal bucket filled with the same kind of stuff.

    Carl
    Carl

    16'x40' rectangle 19K gal AG vinyl pool; ; Hayward T210 sand filter; Hayward 2 Speed Superpump 1hp pump; hrs; PS 233; PF:6.3

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    Default Re: Dark Brown water - NOT IRON!!!!

    one big key- look in your toilet tank; if it is black or orange, you definitely have metals in your well water, regardless of other tests!

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    Default Re: Dark Brown water - NOT IRON!!!!

    Yup! That's it, Lisa!

    Also madwil's idea about the toilet cistern's a good one, although on a 20 year old commode even very low amounts of metal in the water will have accumulated, even with city water.

    Carl
    Carl

    16'x40' rectangle 19K gal AG vinyl pool; ; Hayward T210 sand filter; Hayward 2 Speed Superpump 1hp pump; hrs; PS 233; PF:6.3

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    Default Re: Dark Brown water - NOT IRON!!!!

    Thank you everyone! I tend to agree with the assessment that we have metal in the water. I know we have hard water but have never had it analysed (we've only been here since the fall and have a filter on our drinking water, but the brand new toilets to get a dirty tinge pretty quick. And am a little annoyed that the pool store is telling me we don't have a metal problem and selling us other products that are not working. I am going to try the sock and batting and see if that helps just because I don't have a sump pump on hand. I'll keep you posted!

    Cheryl

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