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Thread: Need advice filling pool with Florida sulfur well water

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    Question Need advice filling pool with Florida sulfur well water

    I would like advice on the best procedure for filling a 4000 gallon vinyl aboveground, Intex, pool with central Florida well water. I am not sure what minerals are in the water but it smells of sulfur (typical for the area). Last year I had troubles with clouding, so I would like to get over that hurdle at the beginning. I have two limitations. First, I doubt if I can pump that much water from my well without it going dry ... don't want to risk it, so maybe I can pump thousand gallons and wait a while. Secondly, I cannot have unsanitary or unsafe water at the time, because I will not be able to keep my son who is emotionally/mentally handicapped (autistic) from going in. Some specifics: pH 7.5, alkalinity 170, hardness 100 (if that matters), 1000 GPH filter pump, pool in half shade half sun. After filling the pool and hopefully getting rid of the unwanted minerals, I will need the best protocol that does not require unsafe levels of chlorine. Levels can be high overnight, but must be safe in the morning.
    Thank you.
    -Bruce
    Last edited by PoolDoc; 06-09-2014 at 01:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Need advice filling pool with Florida well water

    High chlorine is NOT a safety problem, contrary to what almost everyone things. Google "bleach bath" -- it's a term for a long-time standard treatment used by dermatologist for both adult AND pediatric patients, and involves immersing them in bath water with 50 - 100 ppm of chlorine and no stabilizer. This is FAR higher than what is in even super-chlorinated pools! Of course, bleach baths are presumably taken naked -- 25 ppm of chlorine in your pool is NOT a hazard to you or your son, but it may be a hazard to your swimsuit.

    Regarding how to treat your pool, I really have no idea. I've never worked with high-sulfur water, nor read of anyone doing so. Now that I think about it, I know it must go on in Florida all the time, but I just have zero experience with it.

    My *guess* all that sulfur gets oxidized to sulfates, which aren't great for concrete pools, aren't a problem otherwise.

    The biggest hurdle I see for you is the lack of filtration. If you can't filter, and you do use the pool, it will get nasty after a couple of days, no matter what.

    Otherwise, just read the Super Simple recipe: http://pool9.net/ssr/, but modify it, to include testing chlorine before using the pool, since the sulfur may consume it instantly at first.

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    Default Re: Need advice filling pool with Florida sulfur well water

    Doc,

    You're not going to believe this . . . I'm the biggest forum nerd . . . I've been logging in ever since I posted and was wondering why my post never posted. I thought that it should appear as if I was logging into a personal homepage or something. I actually thought that my regstration had been rejected! OMG ... I didn't realize anything until just about 3 hrs ago when I read an email from the website telling me that I had a response from 3+ days ago. Oh well ...

    So about the pool ...

    Saturday morning I cleaned the bottom of the pool (no chemicals used) of leaves and debree, then started to pump the first 1000 gallons. We keep all of the blinds on that side of the house closed all day so that my son wouldn't see what I was doing - I did everything on the far side and thankfully one cannot see the waterline fom the house. And my son never came out to investigate, PTL, because the "boy" who is 200 pounds luuuuvs his pool and there would have been no way keeping him out without a serious contest . . . no thanks.

    I added tiny tiny amounts of liquid chlorine but could not get a FC reading. Found out later in the day by reading a post, that my 10.5% that had been in the hot barn for months, had pretty much lost most of it's potency. I could hardly get anything to register in a bucket which I did at higher ratio just for a test. But at that time I thought it was my readings that must be bad. So, I kept pumping and adding small amounts of liquid chlorine, but no reading on the 5-way test kit, or the dip stick , which I know is not accurate.

    I had read that one way to tell if the well is running dry is if the flow rate every starts dropping, not by waiting till things come out cloudy. A long story short, my son never came out , PTL, and I pumped enough to get above the pump inlet, then I put in more chlorine that night. I couldn't put in my granular CYA because It would never dissolve. I left the pool Saturday night, at maybe 0.2 ppm FC. Early Sunday morning I topped off the pool at 4000 gallons put in the rest of the gallon of 10.5% chlorine, let it circulate for 4 hrs. (I always run the pump 24/7 and change the paper filter twice a day.) By noon it was over 0.5 ppm, 7.9 pH and still 170 alkalinity, 0 cya. --- We jumped in! There wasn't a lot off sun and by the afternoon, when we went in the second time, the FC was maybe, MAYBE 0.2 ppm. (Not sure why it wasn't 0)

    My wife got all the chemicals that day (Sunday) and later that night I put in CYA for 30 ppm (used the calculator and the bottle instructions) and enough bleach (8.25%), hopefully, in order to target 4 ppm. I'll get to the alkalinity on Monday night. The filter was red after Sunday. I'll add some chlorine on Monday morning. Hope I wasn't unsafe with swimming in the low FC.

    Thank you so much for your advice on my high chlorine concern, also thanks for your patience wit my newbie-ness, and for your website.

    -Bruce
    Last edited by PoolDoc; 06-09-2014 at 01:12 PM. Reason: enable signature, reformat
    4k gal Intex with Florida sulfur well water

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    Default Re: Need advice filling pool with Florida sulfur well water

    1. Get a cheap OTO / phenol red drops test kit (unless that's what you have)

    2. Get 4 gallons of PLAIN 8% household store-brand bleach (Walmart is good).

    3. Add 4 cups (1 quart) of bleach this evening. Begin adding 2 cups each AM and PM, till the pool is HOLDING a dark yellow OTO result. At that point your pool will be sanitary and the sulfur will probably be gone (sulfur => sulfates).

    4. Not sure why your filter was red. Please post additional observations on what the filter collects.

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    Default Re: Need advice filling pool with Florida sulfur well water

    Doc,

    This morning the dip stick measured 0 CYA - Last night I put in 52 oz of 25% CYA and this morning I did the same - tonight the stick measured closer to 0 than 50, so I conclude that there's enough stabilizer and no more was added tonight.
    The FC measured 2 ppm this morning and the filter was much lighter (but still I'd say toward red rather than brown). I put in 2 ppm worth of Cl this morning and the water measured about 1.5 tonight. Tonight I put in the 32 oz Cl, which calcs to about 5 ppm worth. So, I take it we're SLAMing the pool at about 7-8 ppm? The pH had come down because of rain, it was about 7.6 or slightly more. Tonight the filter was brown stained. A picture is attached ... sorry it's not because I don't have a url for my pic - sorry ... nerd again.

    Thank you for helping me through this - the water looks nice so far and there’s FC left at the end of the day
    Someday soon I'll dive into the PoolSchool....

    BTW- I just ordered the Taylor K2006

    -Bruce
    Last edited by BruceandBuddy; 06-10-2014 at 01:44 AM. Reason: additional comment
    4k gal Intex with Florida sulfur well water

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    Default Re: Need advice filling pool with Florida sulfur well water

    Tuesday morning update:
    Only 2 ppm FC after putting in 32 oz eight hours ago. Water seems to be eating up about 5 ppm, is that right? Just now I put in 40 oz, which according to the Calculator is 6.5 ppm. Nobody will be in the pool for about another 6 hours. Was that the wrong thing to do?
    Thx much.
    -Bruce
    4k gal Intex with Florida sulfur well water

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    Default Re: Need advice filling pool with Florida sulfur well water

    How's your pool doing? Do you love your K2006 kit?
    26K gal 20x40 rectangular IG vinyl pool; Apr 2014: New pump, liner, auto-cover, & water; Pentair Whisperflo 1HP pump; Pentair Trition sand filter; Cover/Star CS-500 auto cover; Taylor K-2006C; OTO

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    Default Re: Need advice filling pool with Florida sulfur well water

    I'm wondering: Could the filter cartridge be turning red from the sulfur? Yes, I know pure sulfur is yellow, but lots of chemicals display other colors--like iron showing blue in pools as well as red.
    Carl

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    Default Re: Need advice filling pool with Florida sulfur well water

    I am sorry that I have not responded earlier. I tried a couple of days ago but somehow it didn't make it through from my phone. So… how is the pool? At the time of your postings I was trying and had been for a couple of weeks to fix the cloudiness in the pool. I had for whatever reason gotten behind on the pool and had an algae bloom that I was not able to arrest. And the weakest link in my system is or was the filtrate shouldn't. What I ended up doing a couple of weeks ago is to drain and refill the pool. Since it's only 4000 gallons and we had had plenty of rain, I knew my well system could handle it. I took this approach based on advice given another Intex pool owner at about the same time. In hindsight I think this was a good lesson because I will probably incorporate at least a partial drain and refill in next season's Protocol, to be done in early August as a preventative measure. At the same time that I refilled the pool, I put in a sand filtration system, which has made a big big difference in the water clarity. However, since the peak of the season was over at the time of installation, I will have to prove out the filtration system during next seasons use. The water looks absolutely beautiful. Though I have been operating with a higher average chlorine level in the pool then previously. And I have been vacuuming the pool every morning with my Blaster Max (whatever it's called) battery powered vacuum cleaner. Bottom line… I have made some significant improvements to my management, but all is doing wonderfully.

    Regarding the red filter that I used to have with the old filtration system… I think it was because of the large amount of oak leaves and debris that would enter the pool. It is unfortunately but of necessity in a location that is difficult to keep from it getting dirty. I don't think it's the water because I have never tasted or seen stains of evidence of iron to our well water. Carl, as you stated our water merely comes out slightly yellow and smelling of sulfur. The ground around the pool is sand mixed with years and years of decomposed shredded oak leaves. I think that's what I was seeing in the initial filter.
    4k gal Intex with Florida sulfur well water

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    Default Re: Need advice filling pool with Florida sulfur well water

    I heard something about southern aquifers, like in Florida and the Bahamas getting sulfurous, especially if not enough water is run through them, but that there are also special filters for it.

    My last experience with sulfur water was at summer camp in the early to mid 60's in upstate NY where for two summers the camp's water was dreadful, making everything taste and smell like rotten eggs. They said it was harmless, even good for us, but who knows? Even the camp's "bug juice" reeked of it.
    Carl

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