Pool Genetics

But when the pool operator demonstrated his backwash procedure, it was apparent the filter system was not being backwashed at the minimum flow rate required to effectively clean the sand bed. The filter sand was so full of oils and carbonates that the sand would form into shapes like snow balls.

It became evident that the filter sand had become so contaminated that the filter media rate was exceeding 20 gallons per minute per square foot, and all subsequent dirt was returning directly into the pool, causing cloudy, turbid pool water.

After replacing the filter media and re-engineering the backwash system, the filter was able to provide the expected water clarity and quality. Ironically, the filter had been in place for almost four years and had never backwashed properly. It took all that time of improper backwashing for the filter to become overloaded and stop filtering the water!

Improper Water-Chemistry Balance

Another common culprit of cloudy water is improper water-chemistry balance. If the water is imbalanced, the saturation level of certain chemicals–such as calcium–can be exceeded, causing the cloudy water.

After conducting a halogen demand test at an athletic club that had depressed oxidation potential levels, it was determined the pool water was operating at a chlorine deficit, and needed to be hyperchlorinated to more than 120 parts per million. The staff closed the pool for this procedure and used 65-percent calcium hypochlorite as the chlorinating agent.

After this chlorine dissolved, the pool water not only became cloudy, but looked like skim milk by the next morning. Given the high content of calcium, the high total alkalinity, and the high pH of the water, the calcium was no longer soluble, and was dropping out as solid calcium carbonate.

Poor water quality will drive patrons to your competition. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / briannolan

After performing a test to determine the amount of acid required to bring the poolwater pH to under 7.5, staff members began adding muriatic acid. Within 10 minutes, the fog lifted and the pool water was crystal-clear.

Although most pools do not have problems this dramatic, this is a common cause of cloudy water in a calcium-hypochlorite chlorinated pool.

Examine Chlorine Levels

In determining the reason for cloudy water, one of the first questions to ask is whether there are adequate, active chlorine levels in the pool water. Chlorine demand clouds, for example, can occur due to a total lack of chlorine or due to combined chlorine compounds rendering the chlorine residual non-effective in the pool water.

In many cases, the onset of an algae bloom in pool water is preceded by cloudy water conditions, which can be indicative of a chlorine deficit. A simple chlorine demand or halogen demand test can be used if the standard chlorine test kit analysis fails to show a chlorine condition causing the cloudy water.

For pools with oxidation reduction potential (ORP) control, the relationship between test kit chlorine residual readings and the level of ORP can be used to help determine if there is a chlorine efficacy issue.

Dull Or Hazy Water

Pool hygiene conditions also can be a cause for cloudy water. This does not refer to bathers taking a shower before swimming, although this can influence water quality and overall chlorine use; rather, hygiene refers to actually cleaning the pool water and surfaces of dirt, body oils, and other pollutants.

Every morning at the same water park, workers noticed the crystal-clear water was murky by noon. After evaluating both the pool water chemistry and the filtration system, tests concluded that the problem was the amount of dirt and debris at the bottom of the river.

These pollutants would settle overnight–resulting in clear water every morning–but once the swimmers entered the water and began stirring up the dirt, the water became cloudy. The facility solved the problem by purchasing several robotic cleaners that vacuumed the dirt and debris overnight.

Cloudiness does not only affect outdoor pools, however. It is not uncommon for indoor pools to have an overall murky or lackluster appearance.

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