Cloudy water after Soda Ash Addition

Causes and cures for cloudy swimming pool water.
Milky pool water, white, pink, brown, purple, black cloudy water.
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Cloudy water after Soda Ash Addition

Postby mojojoseph » Fri 20 Jul, 2007 20:23


First time pool owner here, bought a home with a 30,000 gallon gunite pool. Everything was going swimmingly (no pun intended) until I noticed my pH was at 7.2 and went to Leslie's for help. They gave me a bucket of soda ash and said add 1 pound per 10,000 gallons to raise it .2 pH.

Well, the instructions said mix the soda ash with water and then pour into the pool, but it also said it could be added directly, so yeah, I added it directly - 3 pounds of the stuff.

A little over 24 hours later my pool is so cloudy you can't see any more than a few inches deep- I've left the pump running all this time, stopped it briefly to clean out the filters (which of course had white filmy soda ash in it), and flipped it back on. Tested the pH and it was definitely up, now to 7.8.

So, my first question is did I just screw up and add too much of the soda ash? Second question is did I just screw up by not mixing it in water first? And third question is, help! How do I fix this and uncloud the water?

Thanks in advance for any help!


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Postby chem geek » Fri 20 Jul, 2007 21:49

I suspect your Calcium Hardness (CH) and Total Alkalinity (TA) levels may be high so when you added pH Up, that increased both pH and TA with the result that your pool is now over-saturated with calcium carbonate. The solution will probably be to lower TA through the procedure in this post which is ironic because your pH was already low so all you had to do to raise it was aerate the water. OR you may need to lower your CH by partial drain/refill. OR you could just be getting an algae bloom by coincidence, but that's less likely.

To know for sure, you need to get yourself a good test kit, either the Taylor K-2006 from Taylor here or from Leslie's here or the even better TF-100 kit from tftestkits here. These kits contain the highly accurate FAS-DPD chlorine test which can measure up to 50 ppm FC and does so by counting drops (rather than comparing intensity of colors) and measure both Free Chlorine and Combined Chlorine with an accuracy of 0.2 ppm or 0.5 ppm depending on sample size. The kits also measure pH, Total Alkalinity, Cyanuric Acid (CYA) and Calcium Hardness (CH). Take charge of your pool.

The cloudiness may also dissipate or you can add some acid to lower the pH back down somewhat, but please get a test kit and let us know the full set of numbers and then we can help you a little better. Make sure you have chlorine in the pool, just in case the cloudiness is from algae, but I can't tell you how much you need because I don't know your CYA number.


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