Phosphates in Pool Water

The newest miracle chemical this year for your swimming pool is the Phosphate Eliminator which removes Phosphates that some say are the main source of food for Algae. Do I need to remove phosphates from my pool water?

No, It is unlikely that you will be able to remove all phosphates entering the pool just:

  • Keep H2O chemically stable
  • Properly sanitized
  • With occasional use of algaecide
  • Daily skimming
  • Scrubbing walls & floors
  • Using a flocculant
  • Then vacumning
  • This practice will keep phosphate levels at bay at no extra cost


Your Pool is a Chemically controlled process that if kept under certain conditions won’t have algae competing for any phosphates that are naturally found in your pool. Phosphates enter the pool water through the air, wind, and people using it.

Homemade Phosphate Remover for Pools


If you are worried about phosphate levels being too high in your swimming pool then there are more natural ways of dealing with it. Removing a few inches of pool water now and again can keep levels low.

  • If you have a multi-port valve on your filter, shut off your pump and turn the valve to Recirculate or Recycle. This will mix the floc around without filtering the water and is the best way to mix the contents of your pool.
  • Add the recommended dosage of liquid or powder flocculant to your pool. Remember there are approximately 7.5 gallons of water in 1 square foot of pool water.
  • Circulate your water for 3 hours, or as long as it takes for your pump to turn the pool over. Then shut off your pump and let it sit overnight. The floc will bind to the algae and Phosphate, then settle on the pool bottom floor.
  • In the Morning-Turn the multi-port valve Setting to Waste so dirty water doesn’t blast back into your pool through your return lines. Hook up your backwash hose to the Backwash/Waste port. Direct your waste water appropriately.
  • Vacuum your pool. Work slowly to make sure you get all the thick sediment off the bottom. If the water gets too cloudy, you may need to stop and allow the particles to settle again before continuing to vacuum.
  • Add water while you’re vacuuming because you’ll be removing quite a lot
  • Shock immediately after vacuuming to eliminate any remaining algae. You may also want to brush the pool
  • Brush the sides and floor before shocking.
  • Run your filter until the water clears.

Are Phosphates Harmful to Humans


Phosphate is Safe in fact it is Very Safe. Found naturally in nature. Phosphates are not toxic to people or animals unless they are present at very high levels. Digestive problems could occur from extremely high levels of phosphate. Phosphates are added to drinking water in some states in the country to prevent corrosion caused by copper and lead in pipes.

Phosphate is one of the key elements on earth that is necessary for plant life growth. They are still allowed to be added to cleaning products and some dishwasher Detergent. The problem comes when an overload of nutrients in streams and rivers like the nutrient, phosphorus which can help grow plant life such as Algae way too fast.

Because of this, Oxygen that is dissolved in water would be sucked out of the stream or river producing an anaerobic environment that would snowball killing fish and plant life that will decompose and will add more nutrients and chemicals to the water, and so on causing a snowball effect. That’s a Biological Problem Not a Pool Problem!

In a swimming pool, the water is chlorinated and if chlorinated properly there won’t be an algae problem, to begin with.

How do you know if there are phosphates in your pool? Just use the cheap test strips that come with pool kits and you’ll get some kind of idea. But some studies show that they really only affect pool algae growth at extremely high levels of 1,000 ppb (parts per billion) or more.

So, monitor the level at the start of the season but don’t get crazy about it or concerned when phosphate is present because it always will be present. it’s a natural element here on earth and is added to drinking water. There always will be a trace of it in water.


How Long Does It Take For Pool Chemicals To Work

Phosphate Removal From Pool


If you are losing sleep over this Pool Store developed dilemma then you should do a few things to offset your chances of Phosphate turning your pool green.

  • Skim your pool with a pool skimmer-this will drastically improve your odds of less Phosphate in your pool and also you should be skimming your pool.
  • Brush the sides of the wall and the bottom of your pool– This should be done a couple of times a week
  • Clean out the Skimmer Boxes where twigs and leaves can collect
  • Keep your pool covered when not in use. (that ain’t gonna happened)
  • Keep your Pool’s Alkalinity, PH & Chlorine Residual in Check-Like you are supposed to.
  • Use an Algaecide Prohibitor-weekly or twice per/month. Algaecide Inhibitor is a great inexpensive proven product, especially in those “Dog Days Of Summer”  

Pool Maintenance is more hump work than technical ability. Some problems can be fixed without taking out your credit card. Most times, your Pool just needs some good old fashion Hump Work.

As many years as I have been taking care of my Inground pool, I have never witnessed a high Phosphate result on my testing equipment.

Maybe I’ve just been lucky all those years. Maybe I wasn’t looking for one. “Keep your wallet in your pocket and be the master of your swimming pool this year.”


Testing Pool Water


JimGalloway Author/Editor






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