Draining the Swamp like pool
In June 2016, I was facing a 20,000 gallon in ground pool that, because of a couple of years of neglect, resembled a swamp. When I say swamp, I mean frogs had taken over and there were dozens of frogs along with hundreds of tadpoles. I’m not sure what else was in there as the visibility was about 2 inches. My GF had suggested filling it in. When I looked into it it seemed to be unfeasible. I would need to get a permit, rent heavy equipment and purchase fill. In addition, most townships prohibit any future building over a filled in pool. Besides, I like to take a swim.
I tried hundreds of dollars worth of shock and other chemicals to no avail. The best I could do was to have a pool with a deathly dark grey hue for a day or so. Then it would revert to swamp green.
Fortunately that June had been fairly dry. I decided that the only course of action was to empty the pool completely.
I realized that I could probably not empty it using the filter pump. I purchased a clear water pump at Harbor Freight for something like $150. Notice I said “Clear water”. A 1″ rigid hose is hideously expensive. I rigged up an intake pipe with 1″ PVC. That worked fine. However, the hose I connected to the outlet was a joke. It kept splitting which resulted in comical geysers of swamp water.
I had the pool filter set to ‘waste’. In order to keep suction, I ran a hose to the skimmer intake. That kept enough water so that the skimmer didn’t start sucking air.
It took a couple of hours but the water level kept dropping until we got near the end.
The remainder was a slimy, gelatinous muck that we could not pump out with the clear water pump or an electric sump pump. There was probably 50 to 100 gallons remaining. My son tried a wet vac but that didn’t work that well. He also emptied quite a bit by filling five gallon buckets and carrying them out of the pool. (yes, the electric came from a GFCI outlet)
While I was at it, I replaced the out of code sump guard with an anti-vortex safety guard.
Now it was time to rack up a couple of hundred dollars of water usage. Filling a 20,000 gallon pool with a garden hose took a day or two.
There was finally enough water to run the filter. That was totally unnecessary but it looked cool.
We finally had a pool where you could actually swim and not worry about getting some weird swamp disease.
As you can see from the photos, the pool needs a lot of work. The bond-beam is broken in spots. The deck is a half-assed collection of patio blocks. The tiles are cracked which is a result of the bad bond beam. The other problem is that trees in my yard and my neighbor’s yard shade the pool. There are a couple of possible solutions.
- Rebuild the pool and enclose it. I’m already good looking but when I become wealthy and good looking I might try this.
- Try solar heating the pool. Unfortunately, in spite of being on 2 1/2 acres, there isn’t a good place to install the panels.
- Run the gas pool heater and sign my checks over to the utility company.
- Fire up Mr. Chainsaw and at least drop the trees on my property which would give me some additional sun each day.
- Don’t let the pool become a swamp.
- At some point, you can throw all the chemicals you want at the problem but you will still have a problem.
- If someone is installing an in ground pool think about the stinking trees. They grow. When they grow they cause additional shade for the pool.
- The draining operation was a lot of work.
- I need to look at getting the pool re plastered and the coping, tiles and bond beam repaired.
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