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I have a new customer, a Health Club, which is having water leaking into the pool from underneath.
It is a 20 x 40 x 5 deep. They use Bromine to Sanitize. It used to be a gunite pool, which had a liner installed over it about 5-6 years ago. As I understand the liner installation process, all that is done is to spray wash the surface, place a layer of felt against the walls, apply adhesive, and the drop the liner.

Each main drain has a hydrostatic valve in the sump. There is also a 1.5" pipe in the center of the pool, which is plugged with a Hayward 1022C. I was told this was used to realse pressure when the pool is drained. The customer drained the pool and had the liner checked for leaks by the liner company since there was water underneath the liner. They found no leaks.

While they had the pool empty, they had the ceiling cleaned. While the pool was empty, water began to seep into the pool, both under the liner and on top of the liner. It seems as though it is coming from the center pipe. I can see fissures in the gunite at the pipe ring.

Prior to draining the pool they did have a cloudy water problem. The TDS was high and they were unable to maintain a bromine level. All other levels were acceptable and within range.

Any ideas as to what is going on? I am stumped.

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Is this pool an outdoor pool? If it is my guess it could be ground water seeping in behind the liner. I have never heard of putting a liner over gunite, so I would question why they did that? did the gunite have cracks if it did it could be groundwater as the water table rises. I have had residential pools doing the same thing after it rains and the ground water is pushing the liner from the backside.
Actually, this is an indoor pool. I have checked the build history, and apparently they had to pump a lot of water during the build. My thoughts were ground water too. The only cracks I can see is at the center pipe, where a small amount (maybe 1/2") of gunite is exposed. Short of pulling out the liner, I must assume the rest of the gunite is cracking too. If this is ground water, wouldn't I see an increase in the Calcium Hardness level, especially considering the pool is located in a dense limestone area?
As to why they put a line over the gunite, who knows. The previous owner had it done. My guess is he ran into a salesman instead of a professional. Liners, as a whole, are not accepted in TN for this class of pool. Somehow the inspector allowed it.
I am going to sample the water which is seeping into the pool. This may help.
From what you are describing you are dealing with a PVC liner. This is not as uncommon as you would think. Probably installed by Renosys Corp. The problem you are describing sounds like groundwater below the pool trying to push up and relieve the pressure. Just because you have taken the cap off the manual hydrostat does not mean that you have releaved thepressure. The pipe that should be connected to that hydrostat can be clogged by debris. I would also contact the liner installer as to how they suggest dealing with the problem as they probably did the work and would have a better idea as to what they did. Is the liner installation under warranty still?
Thanks Frank. Yes the liner was installed by Renosys Corp. They sent their tech down to check the liner for leaks. This is why the pool was drained. I explained to the tech about the manual hydrostat. He determined is was not a liner leak, left, and charged my customer a whopping $2,700.. Needless to say he was upset. He did cut two small slits in the liner on each end and spent 1.5 days sucking water out of the pool after I had drained it down to less than 1/4" level. (The owner wanted me to stop so the tech could feel the water under the liner.)
I was tempted to clear the line, as you suggested. But I was hesitant since he had the liner tech there. The liner is still under warranty.
Any suggestions as to how to best protect my customer's interests?
I'd have to assume they put a liner in because the old surface was in bad shape and didn't want to spend the money to fix it right. The two options I see are install a sump pump around the pool to keep the area clear of ground water, or and I wouldn't do this without some more investigation into the gunite surface and consulting with your customer, you could rip the liner and replaster the pool.
They've actually decided to close the pool. The owner said it was costing him over $10K/yr in losses to operate.

Currently I am trying to convince him to fill it in after we drill some 3/4" holes in the bottom and walls. It's been empty since Feb. 3. Right now all he has around it is some caution tape. This, with clients casually walking by to a non-compliant hot tub and a sauna. Talk about a liability nightmare! My grandfather spent 50 years in the insurance business and he would be yanking that policy so quick it would make your head spin. I have even offered to build a barrier wall to separate the pool from the tub/sauna area.

I have told him, written him and warned him of the dangers of an open pool and standing water, but he wants to wait and see what his architect has to say about it. Geesh, as Rodney Dangerfield says, "I don't get no respect!"

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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