So, your inground swimming pool flooded from torrential rains in a severe thunderstorm that left your pool looking like a quagmire of mud, leaves, and random lawn furniture. Now what? Follow these 10 easy-to-follow steps and you will be on the path the pool recovery once again.
Step 1: Assess the Damage
A mudslide, floods or overflowing river banks can cause real serious pool problems. I can't think of anything more - unmanageable. If you want, take a moment to clutch both of your hands into a tight fist at the edge of your pool, throw your head back to the sky and scream as loudly as you can, “WHHHHYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?” Feel free to fall to your knees mid-scream to increase the dramatic tension. Feel better now? Good, let's move on - there's work to be done.
Step 2: Clean the Deck
Fetch the inflatable pool float from out of the tree, extract the pool noodles from inside of your chimney, and clean up the pool deck in general. This will make the whole process much easier. To keep the pool clean, first clean the pool deck. Hose and brush away any mud, debris, old tires, and anything else that may have washed up onto your pool deck.
Step 3: Vacuum to Waste
Add a hose to the pool, because the next step is vacuuming, to waste. If you have a DE or sand filtration system in your inground pool, set your multiport valve to the “WASTE” setting and manually vacuum your pool slowly to eject the silty mud out of your pool. The slower and more thorough the better. You may have to stop to let the pool fill up again, if the water level gets near the bottom of the skimmer. If you don't have a multiport valve, but a push-pull valve, or perhaps you have a cartridge filter, and you have neither. In such case, install a 3-way valve on the pipe between the pump and filter, or you could rent a small gas powered trash pump, and adapt the suction hose to fit your vacuum hose.
Step 4: Brush & Filter
Brush your pool, Twice. Brush it really, really good. Feel the burn in your arms. Embrace how absurd you look as you vigorously flog your pool walls with two-hands, forcibly detaching the mud & gunk so your trusty skimmers and filter can work their magic. Brush the walls as thoroughly as you can, and as often as you can over several days. Leave your pool filter running all day and night if possible.
Step 5: Test & Balance Water
Taylor Test Kit? Check. Commence water testing. After a mudslide or flood event, pool water chemistry is going to be completely out of whack. As pure as rainwater may be as it leaves a cloud, what ends up in your pool is full of contaminants, and all of those particles will affect pH and alkalinity. Balance your pH and Alkalinity first, and then check calcium hardness and cyanuric acid levels. Test again over the following days, because it's rare to get it right the first time.
Step 6: Remove Phosphates
Any pool that has experienced a mud slide, or for pools flooded with ground water, the level of phosphates and nitrates in the pool is bound to be sky high. Phosphates provide a food source for algae, and nitrates consume chlorine, so before shocking the pool, treat it first with a phosphate remover. PhosFree is a popular remover, but you may need something stronger like PhosKlear 4000, or even commercial strength PhosKlear 9000. But don't treat it blindly, test your pool for phosphates first with AquaChek Phosphate test strips.
Step 7: Shock the Pool
Got everything balanced and right as rain? Good! Now let’s CRANK UP THE CHLORINE! Shock your pool to 30 ppm to bleach out the organic stains left by silty dirt. This is typically a triple shock, or 3 lbs of pool shock per 10,000 gallons. Pre-dissolve into a bucket of water if you have a vinyl pool, otherwise add per label instructions. Continue to brush your pool surfaces in the morning and in the evening, to loosen staining. Run your filter non-stop for 72 hours, cleaning it as needed when pressure rises to a point where flow rate is reduced.
Step 8: Enzyme & Clarifier
Things are going to be looking pretty darn close at this point. If you still have murky water and staining, use a clarifier such as Pool First Aid, or SeaKlear Clear & Perfect for eliminating dead, organic pollutants that can cause cloudy water. If those do not work as well as one might hope, use pool floc as directed, or see this earlier post we did on the subject.
Step 9: Stain Treatments
Your pool is going to be clear after following those steps especially if you vacuumed as slow possible and brushed 2x’s daily. HOWEVER! There may be some lingering stains. Chlorine will continue to bleach and lighten the pool, but there are some specific stain treatments recommended for staining from mud and dirt. Stain Free Extra Strength, is a natural Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) treatment for such tough cases. Another dirty stain fighter is our own A+ Stain Treatment. Both are great for organic staining in all pool types.
Step 10: Clean the Filter
One final step remains, after filtering a metric ton of debris out of your pool, your filter needs a deep cleaning. Filter cartridges and grids may need replacement, but if they are relatively new, soak them in a Pool Filter Cleaner chemical, to remove dirt, oils and minerals. Sand filters can also be rejuvenated by using Filter Perfect to dissolve oily gunk.
Now, take a running leap into your swimming pool, screaming “CANNONBALL!”.