• P.O. Box 990968
    Naples, Florida 34116

  • Monday through Friday
    9am - 5pm

What are Phosphates and why are they in my pool?

Phosphates are a natural occurring element of phosphorus which comes from the Earth. They are mined from the Earth and used in agriculture and industry. Phosphates are included in many household items that we use every day. They are a part of fertilizers used to treat landscaping and on golf courses. Phosphates can be carried through the air and they can end up in your pool water. The phosphates from shampoos and body lotions can end up in your pool water. As phosphate levels in the pool elevate, algae can form and treatment is needed to reduce and eliminate the phosphate levels.

Phosphates are food for algae. Just the same as fertilizer is food for grass and landscaping to grow. When the pool water is high in phosphates there is a food source in the pool for algae. The interior of the pool can present with algae growth on the walls, floors and steps. It’s possible for a pool to look fine during the day, and the next morning it could be covered in algae. Some customers wonder how this could happen “overnight” as it seems extreme. The solution would be to eliminate the phosphates from the pool water.

Phosphates can also enter the pool from the fill water that comes from an autofill system, or from filling your swimming pool with a hose. The fresh water supply sometimes has phosphates added by the municipality. The phosphates help keep the pipes clean and free of corrosion. During the months between October and May Southwest Florida has less rainfall. Pools can lose up to 2” of water per week to evaporation, and more when the water is heated. When makeup water is added to the pool phosphates are delivered. The pool water would need to be treated for high phosphate levels if algae growth becomes a problem.

The treatment for high phosphate levels is a product that can be added to the pool water. Normally swimming is okay unless the water becomes very cloudy. The phosphate material will normally drop to the pool floor and can be vacuumed to waste. The matter will also collect in the filter and the filter should be backwashed very soon after adding the product to the pool water. Depending on how high the phosphate levels are, the treatment may need repeating while testing to continue reducing and eliminating the phosphates in the pool water.

Because there is a cost for the product, and there is additional time involved for vacuuming and filter cleaning, there is normally an additional charge for the phosphate treatment. The cost of the treatment can pale in comparison to the headaches of dealing with the algae growth. Especially during the summer months with longer hours of sunlight and the high heat. Algae can be a constant battle.

If you are battling algae growth and would like to have your pool phosphate levels tested, please call our office and we will be happy to help: 239-774-2230.