Problems of iron and copper in pool water

The presence of metal such as manganese, iron and copper in pool water can lead to discolor the water when chlorine or any other oxidizer is added. It does not affect on the clarity of the water too much. Magnesium and manganese can also increase the hardness of the water. The metal may enter in pool water through by chemicals, pool equipment and plumbing or poles, toys, and tools that are fall into the water. Moreover, fresh water is also an important source of metal in pool water. Higher level of metals can create stains on swimming pool.

Copper in pool water

Copper in pool water can be introducing in many ways. It can enter as one of the natural element through your local water source. Cheaper algaecides are another source. Moreover, it is also used in many equipment and plumbing of swimming pools. Copper may be dissolved into the pool water, if the water is imbalances at any how such as misuse of chemicals, lower pH, total alkalinity or calcium hardness.

High copper in pool water
Higher copper is not allowed for swimming pool. The maximum level for copper is 1.00 ppm, but it is better to keep below 0.2 ppm or zero. If the copper level is high, it can lead to green hair, fingernails, pool walls and water, as well as pool staining. Lower concentration of copper with proper direction usually does not cause a problem. It can be helpful for pool water. For example copper sulfate or chelated copper is useful in controlling common pool algae. Moreover, it will help to proper sanitation by reducing the consumption of chlorine. It is recommended not to use copper sulfate; it is not suitable for swimming pool. It is suitable for surface waters such as reservoirs, lakes and ponds algaecide. Instead of it you may use other algaecides.

Remove copper from pool water
To remove copper from pool water the following method can be applied:

  • Chelating agents: Copper staining can be protected by using chelating agents. This agents formation a bond with the metal ions and prevents them from oxidized with the chlorine and other oxidizers.
  • Using metal-trap filter: physically, copper and other heavy metal can remove by using metal-trap filter. Recirculation the pool water by submersible pump, through a metal-trap filter will reduce the possibility of staining and discoloration.
  • You can replace a portion of pool water with fresh water, but it would not a wise decision, it can imbalances the pool water.

copper in pool water removal
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Iron in pool water
Higher Iron is not allowed for swimming pool; it may alter the original pool water color into brown or green color. The maximum acceptable level of iron in pool water is 0.3ppm although iron-free water is wanted. High concentrations of iron can damage or discoloration of the pool surface. As like copper, corrosive water can lead to introducing iron in pool water. The water tends to be corrosive, if the pool water is lower pH, lower total alkalinity or lower calcium hardness level. As a result the “rusting” of metal parts of pool’s pump, pipe-network, heater, or other metal accessories can be dissolved into water.

You can remove iron from pool water as same process of copper removing.
copper in pool water removal
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Manganese in pool water
When chorine or any other oxidizer is used in Manganese containing pool water then it discolor and the water turn into deep purple, blue or black. The water generally does not lose its clarity or become cloudy. It is difficult to identify. Super chlorination completely oxidized the manganese and allows precipitating to the bottom of the pool. It can stains on pool plaster and tile grouting.

Testing of iron or copper in pool water
You can know what metal along with quantity of the metal by testing the pool water. Primarily you can make a visual diagnosis with the help of water color. If the water is green then it may be copper whereas brown color indicates iron. Since the iron or copper in pool water does not change dramatically, hence it is enough to test once per month. It is recommended to test immediately if rapidly changes the color (as we mix various copper containing chemicals). You can test it, any time of the day.

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3 thoughts on “Problems of iron and copper in pool water

    1. Mike I played around with copper silver ionisers on my pool by wat of an experiment. I ran with an ionic level of copper at 0.6-0.8ppm and never had staining issues or reports of green hair but I did control the pH very pecisely and kept it at 7.2. It was a vinyl pool but when after 7-8 years I tested the total copper level (not the ionic level) I found it to be 4mg/litre but still no staining or green hair. maybe ionic is better.

  1. Hi. I was reading a post of yours about copper sulfate in your pool and was needing your help if you can help please??? I have a 12,000 gallon above ground swimming pool and was told to dissolve 16 ounces of copper sulfate in some water and put it in my pool, so I did and now people are saying it was WAY too much! I have small grandkids and I am worried to even let them in it now. I have purchased copper test strips online and they will be here in 3 days but I am not even sure what they should read? Please help if you can. Thank you, Julie

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