View Full Version : Why Is Pool Water Cloudy?

October 22nd, 2007, 11:37 AM
At the Bensonhurst, Brooklyn Bally's I swim at the water is always cloudy. They did pool maintenance last month and emptied the pool. Right off the bat the refill was cloudy and has remained so. I mentioned it to the lifeguard and he assured me in broken English that it was very clean, despite the inability to see the bottom at the six foot end.

It was cloudy before the refill if I remember correctly too. I see the guards testing the water now and then with a test tube and some kit of something, for whatever that's worth.

What could be going on here?

October 22nd, 2007, 11:44 AM
The nastiest water I ever swam in was clear as a bell. I think cloudy can be clean but there really isn't any reason why they can't clear it up, sounds like a chemical issue or filtration.

Blackbeard's Peg
October 22nd, 2007, 12:45 PM
There are many reasons for it. When they emptied and refilled UMD, it was very cloudy the first week and didn't really clear up for a couple of weeks. Once they stopped sanding down the new whitecoat and let it sit and filter, it came back as clear as could be!

The cloudiness could come from all sorts of things: your water has a lot of minerals in it, they're using solid (ie granular HTH, chlorine tablets, etc.) water cleansers, dirt, skin, hair gel, a shedding whitecoat, sand from the filters after a bad backwash... it could be all kinds of things.

My bet is it is the solid chemicals. Down here, I don't know of many health clubs that spend a lot of time on pool maintence, and thus go the very cheap, painless, and easily trainable route of using solids like a once-a-day dumping of granular, or tablets in the skimmers. Granular can easily generate cloudiness as each grain falls apart as it disintegrates and leaves a bunch of smaller grains behind. All easily stirred up by swimming; also easily removed w/ vacuum.

Back when I managed pools, I used HTH as a very effective at quick stain removal (read algae killer). Would put a bunch in the affected areas and along the walls at night, but would have to brush it all off the next morning. Although I did my best to brush slowly and towards the drains, the deep end was always cloudy the next day and the brushing always made it worse.

October 23rd, 2007, 09:53 AM
Go to your local Wal-mart or somewhere where you can buy Chlorine Shock. I use 2 lbs for 30,000 gallons in my backyard pool. It doesn't cost a lot. Or tell them they need to shock the water. This increases the chlorine level and will clear the water overnight or at least in a couple of days. My guess is that the chlorine levels are low. Get your own tester strips and test the water. They do not cost much either. Test the water yourself and let them know what they need to add. Hardness, alkalinity, chlorine, pH, these all need to be at certain levels. Most likely they do not know how to take care of the water.
I believe there was a thread about Leslies Pool Supplies not to long ago. (Lesliespoolsupplies.com) You can get it cheap there. I do not know the laws in New York, but in Ohio, the Health Dept. will close the pool if you cannot see the bottom at 6 feet. Plus, it just isn't safe.

October 23rd, 2007, 11:44 AM
There are many reasons for cloudy water. The most commom causes are improper filtration, insufficient water circulation or flow rate., and poor water chemistry. The early stages of algae growth also cloud the water. Cloudiness is the result of the presence of small particles that are too miniscule to be filtered and are unable to be removed by oxidation. Environmental factors such as wind, Rain and vegetation contribute to the existence of these particles. Bathers also contribute to the problem by depleting the available disinfectant and contaminating the water with dry skin flakes, bacteria, residues on the skin and cosmetics.
Strait out of my CPO book:banana:

April 23rd, 2008, 10:48 AM
I don't want to mention any names, but an outdoor pool I swim at sometimes has varying levels of water clarity. You can tell when they zap it with chemicals and it clears up for a while.

There's enough algal growth (or accumulated crud, I'm not sure which, I'm not a biologist) on the bottom that people have written notes to each other in it. One kid wrote some words of encouragement to her dad who did the postal swim in the pool.

I had some minor ear infection late last summer (not serious enough for an ARNP to prescribe meds) that cleared up fairly quickly when I switched to an indoor pool, which seems very well maintained and more heavily chlorinated in comparison.

I like swimming outdoors but from my small sample it seems like maintenance requirements may be higher for outdoor pools, and there may be a tendency not to meet those higher requirements in some cases.

April 23rd, 2008, 11:05 AM
After they vacuum our pool it's gets very cloudy.

Supposedly it's calcium deposits being stirred up.
Many people think of chlorine as being the main chemical for water purification.

Calcium is another ingredient...

April 23rd, 2008, 11:16 AM
AS a CPO.....it all depends on what type of filtration system they use, the age of said equipment, the types of chemicals they use and whether they are just testing for Chlorine level and PH, or if they are testing for the whole shebang....i.e. Alkalinity - Cyanuric Acid - Free Available Chlorine, etc. One of the best ways to find out if it's really Ok to swim in is to take a sample yourself, and take it down to the local pool supply company and ask them to test it.....Most places will do it for free or relatively cheap......

April 23rd, 2008, 12:54 PM
Some times a dose of allum will take all the deposites in the water to the bottom. Then vacuum very slowly so you do not stir it up.

April 24th, 2008, 04:50 AM
If the water is too soft it can be particulate from the plaster and grouting... or they could have just added a sack or two of powder to bring up the water hardness... Ive seen a pool look like milk right after it being added.
and once it turned out to me my goggles.....

April 24th, 2008, 10:06 AM
If the filter is a Diatomaceous Earth filter....that can cloud the water too...

April 24th, 2008, 10:17 AM
Just need a tiny hole and it circulates the white powder throughout the pool.
If the filter is a Diatomaceous Earth filter....that can cloud the water too...

April 28th, 2008, 10:12 AM
One of the best ways to find out if it's really Ok to swim in is to take a sample yourself, and take it down to the local pool supply company and ask them to test it.....Most places will do it for free or relatively cheap......
Hmmm....good to know. Thanks.

Dolphin 2
April 28th, 2008, 10:43 AM
Pool water can be cloudy for a number of the reasons discussed previously.

However have you considered that you may be looking at a reflection of the sky on the surface of the pool? :p

Dolphin 2 ;)

April 28th, 2008, 07:19 PM
I used to swim at a Bally's. One of the reasons I stopped--the cloudy water (plus the little old ladies complaining "It's too cold" while doing their water aerobics). Seems to be a universal Bally problem.

Only 2 pools of Bally's that didn't have the problem--one in Indianapolis and the other in downtown Chicago.