Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Algae problems in swimming pool water.
Green (cloudy) water or slimy pool walls.
Black algae. Mustard algae. Pink or white pool mold.
Henry_R
Swimming Pool Pro
Swimming Pool Pro
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Wed 03 Jun, 2009 19:07

Problem: I am part of a maintenance committe at a Condominium Homeowner's Association and we need help with our poorly maintained commuity pool that has turn into a swamp; green with algae and mosquitoes. Until a few months ago we had a regular pool service, but they were leaving the gate open which created a liability so we dismissed them when they would not cease leaving open the gate. The pool was green when they last maintained it several weeks before being fired. We have been unable to find another company that won't charge mucho $$$ for cleaning the algae so we hope to do this initial cleaning ourselves then hopefully hire a company to maintain the pool. The main drain of the pool needs to be fixed to comply with the Virgina Graeme Baker Act, but we don't currently have the funds to do this. We cannot secure a permit to open the pool from our city (Houston, Texas) without fixing the drain. The drain has not functioned in years (if ever) though and I suspect that will need to be fixed as well; the only filter intake is at the leaf basket.

I purchased "6-way swimming pool & spa test strips" from walmart. Brand is Arch Chemicals, label says hth. I realise these might not be very accurate, but hopefully they're enough to make these tests.

FC: about zero [Strips test for FC/Bromine]
TC: not tested for by strips
pH: 8.4
TA: 120ppm
CH: 200ppm [Strips test for Total Hardness]
CYA: Low, between zero and 30ppm

My pool: Built approx 1971, in-ground, plaster/gunite(sp?), square 34x18 at side walls about 2 narrower at ends due to inside radius in corners. Plaster is failing and must be repaired when funds allow.
Single main drain doesn't work, but needs to be fixed to comply with Viginia Graeme Act to get pool permit.
Pool chemicals: none at present. Regular weekly shock until 2 months ago.
My pump & filter: A.O Smith pump, Triton II Filter, Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine Bromine feeder.
All equipment was once housed in a building, but it became a hazard and was torn down.
Now pump/filter are exposed to all elements. Pool has plaster to the 6-12". Plaster is in poor condition
and needs to be replaced. Suspect chemicals plus age degraded plaster over last off-season.
Other info: This is a normal community pool, but it is currently closed. There was a building on the West side of it at one time but has since been torn down. It gets full afternoon sunlight now.

I have posted pictures to Photobucket since I can only upload three photos at a time.
http://s468.photobucket.com/albums/rr48/ghramsey/pool/

My questions are: does the main drain need to function for us to put chlorine into the pool? There is concern that the algae will do damage to the filter. is this correct? How do we add the chlorine? There is a chlorine/bromine feeder. Do we add the chlorine to this? We do not intend to open the pool merely bring to a maintenance level that it is not longer an eyesore and mosquito breeding ground.

Also, what is the proper procedure to start the pump after not being used for several months?

Thank you.


Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Denali
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Posts: 257
Joined: Tue 29 Apr, 2008 17:14

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Denali » Wed 03 Jun, 2009 20:08

Henry_R wrote:Problem: I am part of a maintenance committe at a Condominium Homeowner's Association and we need help with our poorly maintained commuity pool that has turn into a swamp; green with algae and mosquitoes. Until a few months ago we had a regular pool service, but they were leaving the gate open which created a liability so we dismissed them when they would not cease leaving open the gate. The pool was green when they last maintained it several weeks before being fired. We have been unable to find another company that won't charge mucho $$$ for cleaning the algae so we hope to do this initial cleaning ourselves then hopefully hire a company to maintain the pool. The main drain of the pool needs to be fixed to comply with the Virgina Graeme Baker Act, but we don't currently have the funds to do this. We cannot secure a permit to open the pool from our city (Houston, Texas) without fixing the drain. The drain has not functioned in years (if ever) though and I suspect that will need to be fixed as well; the only filter intake is at the leaf basket.

I purchased "6-way swimming pool & spa test strips" from walmart. Brand is Arch Chemicals, label says hth. I realise these might not be very accurate, but hopefully they're enough to make these tests.

FC: about zero [Strips test for FC/Bromine]
TC: not tested for by strips
pH: 8.4
TA: 120ppm
CH: 200ppm [Strips test for Total Hardness]
CYA: Low, between zero and 30ppm

My pool: Built approx 1971, in-ground, plaster/gunite(sp?), square 34x18 at side walls about 2 narrower at ends due to inside radius in corners. Plaster is failing and must be repaired when funds allow.
Single main drain doesn't work, but needs to be fixed to comply with Viginia Graeme Act to get pool permit.
Pool chemicals: none at present. Regular weekly shock until 2 months ago.
My pump & filter: A.O Smith pump, Triton II Filter, Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine Bromine feeder.
All equipment was once housed in a building, but it became a hazard and was torn down.
Now pump/filter are exposed to all elements. Pool has plaster to the 6-12". Plaster is in poor condition
and needs to be replaced. Suspect chemicals plus age degraded plaster over last off-season.
Other info: This is a normal community pool, but it is currently closed. There was a building on the West side of it at one time but has since been torn down. It gets full afternoon sunlight now.

I have posted pictures to Photobucket since I can only upload three photos at a time.
http://s468.photobucket.com/albums/rr48/ghramsey/pool/

My questions are: does the main drain need to function for us to put chlorine into the pool? There is concern that the algae will do damage to the filter. is this correct? How do we add the chlorine? There is a chlorine/bromine feeder. Do we add the chlorine to this? We do not intend to open the pool merely bring to a maintenance level that it is not longer an eyesore and mosquito breeding ground.

Also, what is the proper procedure to start the pump after not being used for several months?

Thank you.


Hi,

Tough to know where to start with all this. I'll start with answering your questions.

Main drain does not need to be functioning to add chlorine.
Algae won't damage the filter but will clog it up.
I would ignore the feeder for now and use liquid chlorine to clear the pool. Added directly to pool.

Your pics didn't show the pump that I could see. The big canister is the filter and it's a sand filter. It's likely the sand is quite dirty or in need of replacement.

What I would suggest to start is hire a pool company to come out and start (check) up your equipment and to show you how the equipment works. Once the equipment is operational you can start on the algae. Raising the CYA level and then large doses of liquid chlorine will kill off the algae.

Being in Houston, once the pool is clear if you don't keep up with the servicing you'll end up with a green pool again.

Hope this gives you a start. Good luck with it.
Henry_R
Swimming Pool Pro
Swimming Pool Pro
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Wed 03 Jun, 2009 20:36

Thank you much for your reply. We have actually has several companies come out. All want to charge exhorbitant fees for servicing the pool due the condition that it's in. Most want to do the repair of the plaster and that is part of the problem. Our HOA treasury cannot pay the costs for the work at this time.

We are forced to do something without resorting to a professional at the time. Can we do this without the pump at least to get the mosquitoes out of the way?

The problem comes where our liability insurance carrier has insisted we do something with the pool other than let it remain as it is. I'm sorry about the pictures. The steel mesh over the pump and filter prevents my getting decent pictures.

Thanks again
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Denali
Swimming Pool Superstar
Swimming Pool Superstar
Posts: 257
Joined: Tue 29 Apr, 2008 17:14

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Denali » Wed 03 Jun, 2009 21:39

Henry_R wrote:Thank you much for your reply. We have actually has several companies come out. All want to charge exhorbitant fees for servicing the pool due the condition that it's in. Most want to do the repair of the plaster and that is part of the problem. Our HOA treasury cannot pay the costs for the work at this time.

We are forced to do something without resorting to a professional at the time. Can we do this without the pump at least to get the mosquitoes out of the way?

The problem comes where our liability insurance carrier has insisted we do something with the pool other than let it remain as it is. I'm sorry about the pictures. The steel mesh over the pump and filter prevents my getting decent pictures.

Thanks again


I'm surprised you can't get someone in to just check out the equipment.

If you can get some better, closer pics of the equipment I may be able to give you a step by step to start up the equipment.

With the equipment off, clearing the pool (killing the algae) can be done but more difficult. The algae will come right back if you don't stay on top of it.
Henry_R
Swimming Pool Pro
Swimming Pool Pro
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Wed 03 Jun, 2009 22:49

Money is the problem. The pool companies that we asked to come out want to do the repairs to the plaster as well as regular service. Nobody is willing (so far) to just check the equipment for a fee.

How do we keep algae from clogging up the filter if it's turned on? We'll have to do it the hard and painful way and use the chemicals without the pump. Assuming we cannot turn the filter where do we start?
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Denali
Swimming Pool Superstar
Swimming Pool Superstar
Posts: 257
Joined: Tue 29 Apr, 2008 17:14

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Denali » Wed 03 Jun, 2009 23:10

Henry_R wrote:Money is the problem. The pool companies that we asked to come out want to do the repairs to the plaster as well as regular service. Nobody is willing (so far) to just check the equipment for a fee.

How do we keep algae from clogging up the filter if it's turned on? We'll have to do it the hard and painful way and use the chemicals without the pump. Assuming we cannot turn the filter where do we start?


You can turn on the filter assuming everything works. The filter will clog as you clean up the pool, that's not a problem. When the filter clogs you backwash to clean the sand. What I can't tell you is the current condition of the sand in your filter. Perhaps the best way to begin when you start up the equipment is to backwash the filter (then rinse) and check the filter pressure so you know what it is when it's clean.

With a sand filter you can backwash as often as needed. Nothing is added to it after backwashing. You do lose pool water so you have to keep an eye on the pool level.

Before beginning anything you want to know the chemical balance of the water. If I remember from your first post, CYA was low and pH was high. You would want to lower the pH and raise the CYA a bit so the chlorine will be more effective.

Brushing the pool as often as possible is important when dealing with algae.

First step, make sure water in pool is up high enough so air won't be pulled in through skimmer. Second, open the pump lid and check for debris in the pump basket. Then fill the pump basket area with water and quickly close the lid. Start the equipment and water should begin flowing. It make take a couple minutes to get going. If there is an air relief valve on top of filter, open that. As the pump primes air will come out of that valve. When water starts coming out of that valve, close it and the system should be primed.

With the system primed you should be able to read the pressure on the gauge on the filter. Note the pressure. Should be between 10 and 20. There is no set clean pressure but this is the normal range. If the pressure is up to 30 or higher then you know the filter needs cleaning.

Hope this is enough to get you started. I'll be checking back to see how things are going.
Henry_R
Swimming Pool Pro
Swimming Pool Pro
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Wed 03 Jun, 2009 23:21

Ok, I'll need to discuss this with the other board members. Doing this ourselves is of course a liability to our HOA but we don't have a choice if we cannot afford professional help. Thank you very much for your information. It'll probably be several days, but I will report back here when if this gets under way.

With a little luck we've save some money and perhaps can even maintain it through the summer if we get on top of it now.

I have one last question: what do we do about the main drain not functioning? Or our suspicion that it's not? Is this a common occurance in older pools? We may or may not have a leak. I'm not sure if I mentioned this before. The water level would go down below the skimmer at least twice a week with or without use.
The only intake for the pump is at the skimmer basket so one more reason this pool has problems is if nobody realised the water was too low the pump would lose it's prime and begin squealing from no water intake. Thus we turned off the pump and stopped refilling the pool. Is there any way to test the main drain for function?
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Henry_R
Swimming Pool Pro
Swimming Pool Pro
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Thu 04 Jun, 2009 11:47

I posted better pictures of the pool pump and filter.


You said you'd be able to give me more details if I had better pictures.
http://s468.photobucket.com/albums/rr48/ghramsey/pool/

That said our board president is adament about not turning on the pump.
She thinks the pump will become infested with the algae. My thinking is if
the pressure is high enough there wouldn't time for it to infest anything.
Also, if the chlorine is killing the algae it shouldn't stay in the pump for long.

Who's right?
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Denali
Swimming Pool Superstar
Swimming Pool Superstar
Posts: 257
Joined: Tue 29 Apr, 2008 17:14

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Denali » Thu 04 Jun, 2009 12:11

Henry_R wrote:I posted better pictures of the pool pump and filter.


You said you'd be able to give me more details if I had better pictures.
http://s468.photobucket.com/albums/rr48/ghramsey/pool/

That said our board president is adament about not turning on the pump.
She thinks the pump will become infested with the algae. My thinking is if
the pressure is high enough there wouldn't time for it to infest anything.
Also, if the chlorine is killing the algae it shouldn't stay in the pump for long.

Who's right?


Thanks for the pics.

Just so we're on the same page, pic #1 is the filter. Pic #8 is the pump. When you run the equipment, dirt, algae and anything else in the pool will end up in the filter. That is NOT a problem. That is what it's there for. Once you start chlorinating the water the algae will die whether it's in the pool or the filter. When the filter gets dirty with dead algae and dirt from the pool, you backwash the filter and all the crude goes out the waste line.

So bottom line is, not to worry about infestation in the filter. No doubt there is algae in there right now but it will be killed when you add the chlorine.

As I understand it, you all want to clean up the pool just so it's not an eyesore and health hazard until you're in a position to get the repairs done that are needed. The best way to do that is to run the equipment and blast with chlorine.

I'll check back when I can to see if the board decides what they want to do. Happy to help with any info you need.
Henry_R
Swimming Pool Pro
Swimming Pool Pro
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 21:41
My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Sat 06 Jun, 2009 19:01

Yes, I understand which part is which. The concern is not that the filter will clog, but due to the amount of algae in the pool that the pump will before enough of the algae dies off.

My neighbor, the board president, thinks the pump will become filled with the algae and cause it to be damaged. She has read through this thread, but doesn't seem to want to agree turn on the pump.

She has instead defered to another board member who wants to turn on the pump as I have been saying and has gone on record that he is to be responsible if anything goes wrong whilst running the pump.

I did some further testing with a liquid reagent based test kit vs the strips. Results are similar in that the CYA is below 30, chlorine is practically zero, pH is high. I might still take the water to a pool store and have it tested. The CYA is really what needs to be tested for due to the length of time it's been without
anything except rain water. I'm not sure how accurate the test is.

The last few days I brought the water level up so the pump can take it in. It had settled about 2"
below the skimmer intake before that.

I still need to use stabilizer, pH reducer, and chlorine and or shock and then run the pump.
What is the best product to do all three or do I need to use seperate products? I hope to buy
from Costco since their prices are really good and our HOA money is extremely tight.

I'm not sure what kind of selection they have though. I stopped in a pool supply store and their prices were off the charts high due to their being located in a relatively wealthy area I think.
There are no other pool supply stores that I know of without driving a long way and Houston is a big city.
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".

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