Phosphates: the Hidden Enemy

Do you have a stubborn algae problem?  When you shock the pool does it comes back within a few days?  Have you noticed your chlorine is getting used up much faster then in years past?  It might be Phosphates in your water.  Over the past few years we have seen a growing problem with algae in swimming pools, and often the culprit is phosphates in the water.

Cities and towns have been adding phosphates to municipal water supplies as an anti-corrosive agent to protect the pipes underground.  It makes sense but what it means for you, the pool owner, is ALGAE! Every spring you drop your garden hose in your pool to refill from the winter displacement, adding several inches of water.  You may be fueling the algae growth in your pool.

Phosphates are Pollutants

Phosphate became a household word in the 1970’s.  Many people started to use low-phosphate and phosphate-free laundry detergents.  This was to protect lakes, streams, wetlands and other runoff areas from the detrimental effects of excess phosphate.  One of these effects is unwanted algae blooms.

Phosphates Accumulate in Pools

What’s true for lakes is also true for swimming pools.  Phosphates are a natural component of most swimmer wastes.  They are also present in rain water.   Here in Chicopee, MA phosphates come out of garden hose at over 1000 ppm (see picture).   Phosphates are persistent and do not break down naturally.  Lawn and garden fertilizers, which may enter the pool, also have high phosphate content.  For all of these reasons, pools can quickly build up high phosphate levels.

When Phosphates are Present, Algae Grows

Phosphates are the main ingredient in fertilizer.  Phosphates are plant food, and algae loves to eat!  When excess phosphates are present in a swimming pool, the symptoms often include the following:

  • Green and/or Cloudy Water
  • Slippery and Slimy Surfaces
  • Green or Mustard Colored Debris
  • Poor Water Quality
  • Excessive Chemical Consumption

Remove the Phosphates and Solve the Problem

The maximum level of phosphates in pool water should be 0.1 ppb.  Once the phosphates exceed this level, the water quality begins to decline and slime deposits may begin.  Fortunately, draining to eliminate the accumulated phosphate is no longer necessary.  Phoenix Phos Clear is a natural mineral compound which effectively and rapidly reduces the level of phosphates in the water.  Phos Clear is non-toxic and safe for your family and the environment.

Directions For Use… If algae is present:

  • Shock the pool.
  • Brush the surface of the pool and vacuum to the filter.
  • Have your water tested.
  • Follow the Phos Clear package instructions to determine the correct dosage.
  • Add Phos Clear by slowly pouring it around the edge of the entire pool and in front of the returns.
  • Run the filtrations system for at least 24 hours.
  • Vacuum the film or cloud on the bottom of the pool manually,watch your filter pressure and backwash as necessary.
  • Test for phosphates again and repeat as needed.

For weekly maintenance, if no algae is present: add 1 ounce of Phos Clear for every 5,000 gallons to maintain phosphate levels at of below 125ppm.


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