Swimming Pool Nitrates and How to Get Rid of Them
A swimming pool is a lot more than an excellent source of family fun and exercise. It is also a magnet for all sorts of organisms and substances that can be a threat to human health, if not controlled. Among the many issues that a pool owner may have to deal with are high nitrate levels. When a pool’s nitrate levels are ignored, the result can be a pool of cloudy, green water that doesn’t have an easy fix.
What are nitrates?
Nitrates are naturally occurring contaminants in a swimming pool, similar to phosphates. It can be very difficult to entirely eliminate nitrates. According to experts, when nitrates are out of control in a pool, the only way you can eliminate them is by draining your pool and refilling with fresh water. There are no chemicals that can achieve nitrate removal.
How do nitrates get in my pool?
Nitrates are a plant nutrient. Anyplace where plants grow, there are nitrates. Every pool owner interested in maintaining a pristine pool should become familiar with nitrates and how they are introduced into your pool at high levels that cause problems. The following are a few of the ways nitrates enter your swimming pool:
· Nitrates are in man-made fertilizers. When you fertilize the colorful foliage around your pool, you have created a situation in which your pool is likely to be contaminated with the nitrates in the fertilizer. The wind could blow in the fertilizers. It is common for runoff from watering plants to go into your pool, often bringing nitrates along.
· If you have a dog that gets into your pool, nitrates from plants are most likely getting into your pool from the dog’s hair.
· Other animals can also contaminate your pool with nitrates. Birds, for example, can contaminate your pool with their droppings, even if they are near your pool. Pools with screens above especially attract birds that perch and drop excrements that are rich with nitrates.
· Rainwater is a top reason for high nitrate levels in your pool.
· Human sweat and product residue — including make-up, lotion, and shampoo – add to the nitrates in a pool. The nitrate level is dramatically increased by the presence of urine and feces particles.
· Sometimes the tap water used to fill the pool contains an excessive amount of nitrates. In these cases, draining and refilling won’t help.
· An inorganic compound in nature called “nitrites” can sometimes become nitrates with a combination of air and chlorinated water.
What do nitrates do to my pool?
Nitrates negatively affect the quality of your pool water. They accelerate the growth of algae, turn your pool green, and cause the water to need a lot more chlorine to sanitize the pool. The combined effects of nitrates mean that your pool becomes unhealthy and unsafe.
How to get rid of nitrates in the pool
If there are high levels of nitrates in your pool, the first thing to do is try to identify the sources of the nitrates so that you can eliminate them. Sometimes it’s possible to dilute the nitrates with partial draining of the pool. To completely eliminate nitrates, fully drain and refill the pool.
Tips on preventing nitrate contamination
A tolerable nitrate range for a pool is about 10 to 25 parts per million (ppm). It’s better, however, to maintain a level below 10 ppm. Test water frequently and maintain a proper chemical balance, for best results.