Are Phosphates Causing Algae in Your Swimming Pool?
Exactly what causes phosphates in a swimming pool? Phosphates can enter the pool water from many different sources such as lawn fertilizer, bather wastes, urine and sweat, debris that gets in the pool such as bird droppings and leafs, rain water runoff, and in many other ways. The phosphate level in a typical swimming pool will naturally rise over time. It is recommended that the phosphate level be kept at or below 200 ppb in order to help prevent algae growth.
Phosphate is an important plant nutrient and when present in a swimming pool can serve as food for algae. Swimming pools that are maintained properly, even when phosphates are present, don't necessarily lead to algae problems. But, higher levels of phosphates can certainly make algae control harder and can also increase the amount of sanitizer required to maintain a crystal clear and algae free pool.
If you're having a recurring problem with algae in your swimming pool, it's worth checking to see if phosphates might be playing a role in the problem. Call your local pool store and ask if they do testing for phosphate levels. Bring in a sample of your pool water and they can tell you if the phosphate level is too high. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, purchase a phosphate test kit and monitor the phosphate levels on your own.
Decreasing the phosphate level in a pool can take a couple of different forms. There are phosphate removal products that can be added to the pool to reduce the phosphate levels. One option for reducing the phosphate level in the pool is to use a phosphate removal product at the beginning of the swimming season to bring the phosphate level to a reasonable reading, and then continue with proper and routine maintenance on the swimming pool, including a constant and adequate level of sanitizer. Another option is to drain a portion of the swimming pool in order to dilute the phosphate level until it is at the recommended level. Unfortunately, fresh fill water can contain phosphates also, but the concentration is much lower and since there are additional benefits to draining the pool and starting with fresh fill water, this is a preferred method.
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