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What are phosphates

04 April 2015 Tommy

What are phosphates

What are phosphates?

All your questions answered

Anyone who has owned a pool for a while would have heard of, or even possibly had a nasty run in with phosphates.

For those that don’t know, phosphates are essentially a chemical compound that is commonly known as a form of plant food – they form the main ingredient in a lot of fertilizers. The reason pool owners should know about them is that they can cause problems in the pool water if phosphate levels get too high.

How do phosphates get into my pool?
These chemical compounds are thought to enter the pool water through a number of avenues

  • Rain water or source water
    phosphates2
  • Organic plant materials such as leaves, or dirt and fertiliser 
  • Scale and stain treatments 

What problems can they cause?
The main problem with phosphates accumulating in your pool water is that it provides a great food source for nasties such as algae. It can spur algal growth and make it difficult to eradicate blooms. In addition, the pool water can appear cloudy, pool surfaces can become slimy and slippery and your chemical use can go through the roof as you attempt to balance the water again.

A high level of phosphates is defined as above 0.2ppm, although sometimes the level can get much higher before any issues become evident. It is advisable to get your pool water tested if you suspect the phosphate levels may be out of whack.

Getting rid of phosphatesphosphates3
Head to your local Swimart for the best advice on treatments for high phosphate levels. It may be possible to make a plan to prevent further problems with phosphates if you can identify what the source was.