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Thread: White Water Mold/ Pink Slime problem--- First steps....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Washington State

    Default White Water Mold/ Pink Slime problem--- First steps....

    I did some research on this nasty stuff which lead me to some old topics on this forum.

    The method I want to go with is to add bromide to the pool which will increase chlorine usage for a while, but will hopefully get rid of the problem. Don't want to add some sketchy products...

    The only thing I have to test my pool water is a 4 part test kit I got from ACE hardware that uses drops.
    Chlorine- basically 0
    Bromine- very low <1

    My pool is 23000 gal, painted concrete, indoor, and covered in winter with vinyl some of the time.
    Relatively neglected as I rarely test the water...but I do sweep/vacuum


    This is some of the info I got from the forum....

    Here are some 100% sodium bromide products from Amazon:
    Nava Chemicals 652072097 Yellow Algae Remover, 2-Pound Bottle @ Amazon
    Tropi Clear TC-4402-1 2-Pound Yellow Eliminator @ Amazon
    Let me extend what Waterbear told you, a bit. Well, a lot. (Sorry!)

    1. "Watermold" is a detached biofilm. Basically, a biofilm is a complex community of bacteria and other things (often, algae) that builds a slime (polysaccharide) 'fortress' which it can live inside of. When conditions are good (low chlorine; high nutrients) it will venture out, and grow. When they are bad, it just 'hunkers down' and waits. These films actually have a quasi-intelligence, with very elaborate signaling processes that tell all the different occupants how to work together. One of the last classes my son had before he graduated 2 years ago with a biochem degree, spent a lot of time on this signaling. It's a apparently an area of very active interest and research.

    2. Chlorine does not penetrate biofilms well. It will oxidize them (burn them up), but it's an outside-in process, and nothing happens to the organisms till the chlorine 'breaks the walls down' completely. It takes VERY high levels of active chlorine to burn through and kill everything. But, if you don't eradicate the source, one little bit of slime can restart the process.

    3. Apparently, the particular group of organisms that cause 'water mold' either are rare combo, or else they have a hard time getting started. I say this because, even though 'water mold' is VERY hard to eradicate, we don't encounter it all that often. (Fortunately!)

    4. There are 4 tactics used to attack biofilms: (1) raising the "active halogen level", (2) adding detergents to the water that help penetrate and separate the slime, (3) using biocides that can penetrate the slime, and (4) physically disrupting the slime. Each one of these options has undesirable side effects.
    You can raise the active halogen level, by raising the chlorine level. But, if your pool is stabilized, you have to raise the level very high indeed. So one technique, that Waterbear described involves adding sodium bromide. Chlorine (even stabilized chlorine) converts bromide to bromine, so if you add 10 ppm of bromide (more or less) to a pool with 20 ppm of stabilized chlorine, you'll end up with something like 10 ppm of FREE ACTIVE bromine + 10 ppm stabilized chlorine. (NOTE: these are NOT the actual numbers, which are more complicated than I've indicated.) The downside is that the bromide will stick around AFTER the water mold is gone, leaving you with this large unstabilized residual. As a result, your chlorine use will be MUCH higher on sunny days, and this will continue for quite a while. But as long as you use only sodium bromide, and no BCDMH (bromine tablets) your pool will eventually return to chlorine only.
    You can use detergents or soapy algaecides. United Chemicals, who has been selling pool owners bromides in various forms for years (and who pioneered this method of bromide treatment, at least on a national level) have always added various phosphate detergents to their products. In the short term, this helps. In the long term, you have added phosphate algae fertilizer to your pool. Another way to do it, is to use the foamy linear quat algicides that are commonly sold. The PoolBrand algicide sold by Sams Club is a high concentration product at a very good price. We normally do NOT recommend these products, but in your case, it's an option. These products have at least 3 problems: (a) at high concentrations, like you will need, they make your pool look like a suds bath, (b) they aren't very compatible with chlorine (but this does mean you can get rid of them by shocking and filtering), and (c) at high concentrations are irritating.
    You can use a microbiocide that penetrates biofilms effectively. The only one I know of is monochloramine, which is created by adding ammonia to your pool, while the pH is high. It's quite effective, but it's nasty to swim in, and requires repeated shocks to get rid of.
    Physically disrupting the biofilm means . . . brushing, and lots of it. It also means removing your light (which you've done) and so on. The down side is just that it's hard time consuming work.

    Roughly, you have two options. You can use bromide principally, without disrupting your pool use at all, but with some long term effects in chlorine use and stability. Or, you can use monochloramine & algaecide, and lose the use of your pool for probably a week, followed by maybe a week of clean-up, but once you're done, your're done.

    (There may be one more option: a new manufacturer is want to give away samples of product that may be designed for your sitation. He's looking at your post, and we're looking at his product.)

    Meanwhile, here's what I would recommend:

    1. Fill our the pool chart so we can calculate doses for you, and such.
    Pool Chart Entry Form
    Pool Chart Results
    2. If you aren't doing so, begin filtering 24/7 -- AND turn off your SWCG. You'll wear it out, in these conditions.
    3. Establish a 60 ppm borax residual. This will help with several things, but will also make it harder for the water mold to survive. And, except for cost, it has NO downside. You'll need about 25 boxes of borax + about 7 gallons of muriatic acid to do this. (~$120, maybe)
    4. Expose everything you can to the water.
    5. Make sure that there's no trichlor in the skimmers, but once you've done so, add the bleach THROUGH the skimmers, so it also goes through the filter.
    6. Get some water mold, and put it, and some pool water in a clear glass (wine glass). Add a tablespoon of bleach, and make SURE that the bleach eliminates it. (I want to eliminate the possibility of your problem being some OTHER kind of weird event.)
    7. Think about what you'd prefer: no disruption, but long term effects, or a disrupted pool, but fewer long term effects.
    8. Wait for Chem Geek's post and Waterbear's reaction.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: White Water Mold/ Pink Slime problem--- First steps....

    Some of that advice doesn't apply to you -- you have an indoor pool, which is a different beast.

    Do NOT use bromide -- on an indoor pool, you have to drain and refill to get rid of it! Not good!

    Instead, do this:

    1. Immediately, add sufficient bleach to get to an OTO orange-tinted yellow range. (OTO => yellow / red dropper sets) Once you've done so, begin brushing the affected areas daily.

    2. Order a K2006 (link in my signature) and test CYA levels as soon as you have it.

    3. You can also order polyquat (www.poolsolutions.com/polyquat.html) -- using it will make things easier, and help clarify the water, when you are brushing, etc. It's not essential, but would make things somewhat easier.

    4. Consider how old the water in your pool is -- if you swim regularly, and have not drained and refilled in several years, this may be a good opportunity to do so. 'Old' water is harder to deal with -- especially on indoor pools -- than 'new' water. Various chemical residue -- mostly from YOU and other swimmers -- builds up in the water.

    5. Understand that biofilms like you have now exist in areas where you see them and can brush them, but also in areas where you can not. Eradication takes long term consistent pool care.

    6. Once you decide whether to keep your pool water or not, consider adding borax (mentioned in the post you quoted). Borax will not solve the problem, but it will make it easier to solve, and lasts till the next time you drain and refill.

    7. But, IMMEDIATELY get a couple of boxes of borax, and add them slowly via the skimmer, till your pH is in the 7.2 - 7.6 range. 1/2 box doses should be a reasonable step.

    Good luck.

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