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We've Been Asked about...
Pink Slime & White Water Mold

WHITE MOLD!  We were told we have white mold.  It appeared in the spa during a refill.  We clean and change h2o the every 4 mos.  The spa is a hot springs with and ozonator and a nature 2 stick.  We use monopersulfate as a sanitizer as directed in the manual.  We have treated the h2o with a chorine granular 3x 2 days apart.  The h2o seems clear and free of floating debris.  We are soaking the filters in a filter cleaning solution 24 hrs...  The chemical balance of the h2o is in range, except the calcium hardness is a bit low.  We do not want to do add anymore chemicals, if the spa needs draining again.  What do we do now?  And why did this problem occur after we drained and cleaned the spa?  Thanking you in advance for you advice....

Thank you for your question.  I wish I could give you lots of good news on this New Years Eve but... 

Let me tell you some facts about White Water Mold (WWM), and then I'll go over some treatment options.

WWM can & will grow in the plumbing lines of a spa, hot tub or swimming pool. It can become aggressive when left alone.  WWM is "killed" only by high or higher levels of chlorine or bromine.  Monopersulfate shock is a good Oxidizer only - it's not a sanitizer.  Ozone only treats what it comes into contact in the tub, rarely in the plumbing lines.

Since we started carrying & selling ionizing products such as Nature2 & Spa Frog, we always recommend that they be complimented by low, constant levels of chlorine or bromine.  Our preference is chlorine. This is then further complimented by a good, solid chlorine shock on a weekly basis.

You seem to be doing all of the right things but the WWM has just had a good chance to get settled into your spa's plumbing.  When you drain & refill the spa, we have found that it's an excellent time to clean the lines by using Spa System Flush or Swirl Away.  Both of these products work well in helping to break down the accumulating biofilm in the lines.

One last thing to keep in mind is that WWM loves to grow in garden hoses.  So, when you fill your spa, you’re putting a nice big dose of that stuff into the spa right off the bat.  As more & more water companies use chloramines instead of chlorine to treat their water, there's a much greater level of this biofilm everywhere.  Garden hoses, toilets, sinks, etc. You can read more about chloramines here.

I'm sorry that I don't have better, easier news for you. WWM & its buddy Pink Slime work hand in hand so to speak.  If you've seen one, you'll probably see the other shortly.

Follow Up Question:
Thank you for your quick response.  I had just returned from a check of the spa, and sure enough, it is back!!!! The "STUFF" accumulated around the bubbler and the seating area nearby.  I had thought the chlorine shock treatment was working.  So before we drain the spa for the third time we should try the flush away or the other product?  And you are saying we should add chlorine to our spa on a weekly basis, as a preventive measure?  Our spa is 350 gals. How much of the chlorine should we use?  Our manual and the salespeople, told us we would not be using chlorine, so we have no clue what or how much to use.  Please advise, as we continue this battle against the dreaded WWM!!!!  THANKS AGAIN...MAYBE Y0U WILL HELP THE NEW YEAR GET OFF TO A BETTER START WITH YOU KNOW HOW!!!! 

Follow Up Response:
Here's what I would recommend you do (I don't think you have a choice):

1. Drain the spa & start fresh.  FIRST - Use 4 to 6 oz. of SpaGuard Chlorinating Concentrate to help kill what's in the spa lines & throughout the system.  Let it circulate for a good 2 to 3 hours.  Then use Spa System Flush or Swirl Away to help clean out the lines.

2. Thoroughly clean all of the surfaces & nooks & crannies of the spa.  Around jets, pillows filter area.  All of these areas are prime growing areas of WWM & PS (pink slime) because they are areas of poor circulation & little if any normal cleaning, brushing, etc.

3. Refill the spa.  Make sure that the garden hose runs for a minimum of 2 to 3 minutes to flush out as much Water Mold & Pink Slime that may be in the hose.

4. Balance the water (pH, total alkalinity & calcium hardness).  Add SpaGuard Stain & Scale Control.

5. After running for a day, Shock the refilled spa with 4 to 6 oz. SpaGuard Chlorinating Concentrate.  In your case, I would recommend using 2 to 3 oz. per week & then maintain a chlorine level of about 1.0 ppm from then on. If you test about twice weekly, you should be in pretty decent shape.

As far as mineral purifiers go, there's going to be some new data shortly available that demonstrates the need for a low, constant level of chlorine or bromine to be maintained.  These are new EPA guidelines.  We have had to change some of our wording on our site.  I wish others would follow suit.

I hope that helps.  Let me know.  A little work now will help ensure a better hot water experience for you in the future.

We are having trouble with the water in our spa.  It appears to have tiny little white bits of paper (chemicals) floating in the water.  We thought that maybe the filter was not working efficiently so we drained the spa, cleaned it all out and replaced with a new filter.  We then filled with new water and chemicals and we are still getting these tiny bits.  We use a skimmer to drag through the water which helps but they just seem to keep coming.  Our store that we purchased the spa from told us to shock it and see what happens, that didn’t work either it is still bitty.  Do you think it will just take time to run through the filter or is there something else we need to do?  The water is clear otherwise and it doesn’t seem foamy at all.

It's very possible you may have white water mold growing in the plumbing lines.  I would recommend doing 2 things:

1. Shock the spa WELL with chlorine.  Get the chlorine level up to at least 5.0 ppm.  Run for a good 4 to 6 hours.
2.  Add a bottle of Spa System Flush to the spa, run for 30 minutes, then drain & refill. 

You may have to repeat the process to thoroughly get rid of it.

More White Water Mold Q & A here

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