Why Phosphates Are a Problem for Your Pool

by Pool Builders on 10-17-2012 in Articles

Pool owners have likely been hearing quite a lot about phosphates this season. These chemical compounds are not necessarily harmful by themselves, but if your levels get too high, you will be looking at green, cloudy water that no one will want to swim in. Here is a quick guide to how these compounds enter your water and affect its overall quality.

How They Get There

If you think phosphates are causing problems in your pool, you may be wondering how they even got there. There are a variety of ways that this contamination can be caused, and unfortunately many of them will be out of your control. Mainly, the culprit is going to be water running off from your yard and your neighbors' yards into the surrounding pool area. This run-off can get contaminated with phosphates from sources like ash after fires, various chemicals (most commonly lawn fertilizers), or whatever else happens to have made it to your lawn, which will vary based on where you live.

What They Do

What you will likely notice phosphates doing is causing your pool water to take on a greenish hue. The water may start to get a bit cloudy as well. The scientific reasoning behind this effect is that phosphates are a necessary nutrient for algae, thus their presence will encourage algae growth. Once this algae growth begins, it can tend to get out of hand extremely quickly, leaving you with a pool that is highly unappealing to take a dip in. According to recent studies, phosphates in pools have been especially problematic this year, potentially due to an increase in the chemical found in yard run-off water.

Becoming Phosphate Free

While it would be great if we could attack the real cause of the problem, unfortunately the fact is that the individual pool owner is most likely only directly causing very minimal runoff. The larger issue is almost certainly the cumulative chemical deposits of the community as a whole, including any factories or large scale agriculture in the surrounding area. Your best bet is to focus on attacking the more manageable problem by removing the phosphates from your pool water. The best approach to this is going to vary from pool to pool, depending on what other issues your pool may have. Luckily, it will be a fairly simple matter for a pool services company to do an evaluation on your water and give you what you need to make it clean, clear, and phosphate free.

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