What Are Phosphates?

Without bringing too much chemistry into it, phosphates are natural compounds of salts, calcium and other minerals that are used in a variety of applications including personal care products, water treatment, industrial and institutional cleaning and building and construction.

Phosphates: a biological building block that is constantly being introduced to your water and nourishing algae spores.

Sixty percent of pool owners experience two full algae blooms every season. So, what causes these blooms and how can we prevent them?

What do phosphates do to my pool water?

Cloudy or green pool water is usually a good sign of having too many phosphates in your pool. In fact, phosphates are considered “algae food,” meaning algae digest phosphates, therefore, increasing the rate at which algae grows in your pool. The combination of a few hot days and low chlorine levels can easily result in an algae bloom—leaving you with cloudy, algae-ridden water.

Who Invited Phosphates to the Party, Anyway?

The challenge with phosphates is that they are constantly being introduced into your swimming pool water. They are found in lawn and garden fertilizers, decaying vegetation, municipal water, cosmetic items on bathers, and even other pool chemicals. This means a fresh batch of phosphates enter your water when any of the following occur:

  • The wind blows dirt into your pool
  • Sprinkler run off from your lawn or landscaping enters your pool
  • Your water leveler puts fresh water into your pool
  • Leaves, twigs, or bark enters your water
  • You use chemicals containing TSP, or any amount of phosphoric, phosphonic or other phosphorous based ingredients to clean your pool

As such, you can never completely remove phosphates. Instead, we refer to it as maintaining a “near zero” level with a long-term solution that includes a blend of using Natural Chemistry’s PHOSfree products, regular water testing, correct sanitizer levels and limiting exposure to phosphates.


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