What they are &
what they do:
Phosphates & Nitrogen are 2 naturally occurring
elements in nature. Phosphorous is a mineral & nitrogen is a gas. In
nature, they don't cause or contribute to pool problems. However when they
are "added" to the pool water, problems can arise -- especially in a
poorly maintained situation.
The two most
significant problems are moderate to severe algae blooms and chlorine demand.
Both elements are essentially set up as a buffet table for any algae to just
come, eat & thrive.
come into the pool from "un-natural" sources such as lawn care products; fertilizers, sprays, etc. These
lawn care products can be brought in from people walking on freshly treated
areas where they are literally walked into the pool. They can also "drift"
in when sprayed or just due to a windy day. Remember, phosphates can come
from your yard, your neighbor's yard or even from someone you don't even know
who lives 3 blocks away.
significantly, are the "natural" sources of
Phosphates can also come from dead skin cells! (Therefore, another good reason
to shower before entering the pool.) Plus, add in dead hair, dead leaves or
grass, urine (everyone leaks a little bit), pets that may use the pool (read
more here). And then there are the bird fly-overs.
Sorry to be indelicate, but bird poop will be a serious trial for any pool
1 Kilogram of phosphates can aid in producing up to 500
kilograms of algae (Panda.org).
Although difficult to completely eradicate,
phosphates can be controlled by using phosphate removers such as
Natural Blue PRO or
Naturally Pure (also
contains enzymes) or.
Keeping phosphate levels low can aid in controlling algae (phosphates are a
natural food source for algae).
Many pool experts dismiss phosphates almost all together.
ParPools.com response is: don't go crazy, but if you can remove one more stress
point or one more cause to potential water problems, why not take action?
Removing phosphates certainly will not hurt anything. And may prevent a
cumulative affect costing you, the pool owner, time and money.
Nitrogen can also come into your pool from lawn care
products, but more typical, it's a case of sweat (shower before using the pool),
urine (use the facilities before going into the pool) or other types of ammonia
(ammonia is comprised of Nitrogen & Hydrogen - NH4). If your local water
supplier is using chloramines to sanitize the
water, then large amounts of ammonia & therefore nitrogen are getting into the
water. Algae loves both nitrogen AND phosphates (phosphorous).
Here's the typical scenario with Nitrogen.
Nitrogen enters the water & combines with oxygen to form Nitrites (NO2).
The nitrogen will typically take the oxygen from the HOCl (hypochlorous acid -
the form of chlorine that kills bacteria & algae) thereby causing a
Chlorine Demand. You will have a difficult
time maintaining chlorine, algae will thrive, the water will become cloudy, etc.
Once the nitrites have taken on more oxygen & become Nitrates (NO3), they are
there to stay. The only way to remove Nitrates from the water is to drain
& refill with fresh water that is hopefully not contaminated with Nitrites.
Shocking & oxidizing will help to a certain degree. Nitrates (NO3) you can
live with, Nitrites (NO or NO2) are the problem causers.
With either Phosphates, Nitrites or Nitrates present, as long
as a good, solid chlorine or bromine level is maintained, there normally isn't a
problem. However, when the chlorine is stressed out due to high bather
loads, parties, rainstorms, etc. or if there is an existing chlorine demand
problem, phosphates & nitrates just feed right into any algae present & the
problem worsens significantly.
Treating the problem:
Maintain good water balance - pH 7.4 - 7.6, total alkalinity 125 - 150 ppm,
calcium hardness 200 - 250 ppm.
2. Maintain a good chlorine or bromine residual in the water.
3. Shock the pool (BioGuard®
Burn Out Extreme®,
-- especially with bromine--are good products) & add algicide (BioGuard®
Algae All 60®)
4. Have a chlorine demand test done twice per season.
5. Make sure swimmers & bathers shower before using the pool.
6. If you know or suspect phosphates have been introduced into the
pool, Naturally Blue
or Naturally Blue Pro
are great products that will remove the phosphates (especially orthophosphates) from the pool water, thereby
depriving the algae of one of it's significant food sources.
To Make Your
Chlorine Experience Fantastic, add
Optimizer Plus® to create a level of 30 ppm to 50 ppm. Using Optimizer® Plus will significantly reduce your Smart Stick® consumption and provide the wonderful, soft feel that is associated with biguanide treated pools.
If you still need help, here's how to
store hours): Shelton 203-377-0100