Why are there Phosphates in My Pool? – Prospect Pools, LLC (6/26/10)

Phosphates and nitrates in pool water has become a more common issue than in the past and can wreak havoc with your pool water chemistry if not addressed. Their presence in your pool can increase algae growth, as algae feeds of phosphates. The inability to keep your chlorine levels at a safe sanitizing level of between 1-3 ppm., can be a sign here may be a phosphate issue. Some pool companies do not test for phosphates; however an alarm should go off if you have been trying to get your chlorine level to register and no matter how much chlorine and shock you add, the pool still shows no chlorine; a clue that maybe phosphates may be the culprit.

How do phosphates get in the pool in the first place? Phosphates can actually appear from decaying plants, fertilizers, and mineral/metal treatment chemicals, contaminated well water, acid rain, soil runoff, etc. can drop phosphates into your water. Even bird droppings (nitrates as well) and believe it or not, human sweat and urine can contribute. If you fill your pool with city water, municipalities sometimes use phosphates in the water treatment pipes which then in turn go into your pool.

When phosphates are present you will have difficulty controlling algae because your chlorine levels will be used exorbitantly. You can treat the pool water when high levels of phosphates are discovered with various Phosphate removal chemicals, however, these are not cheap and once you are in a higher concentration over 1500-2500 ppm. where you will need quite a bit of phosphate removal chemicals, you should consider the cost of the chemical versus the option of water replacement in the pool.

Why is Water Blue? – Eric Herman – Senior Editor at AQUA Magazine

When you ask most anyone, “Why is water blue?” they are likely to say it’s reflecting the color of the sky. Given that we know that liquid water is a highly reflective material, and given that a cloudless sky in the daytime is, indeed, blue, that conventional wisdom seems reasonable.

I was recently discussing this issue with my friend, David Knox, president of Lightstreams Glass Tile, a manufacturer of glass-tile products that have unique optic qualities based on Knox’s prior career inventing LASER applications for high tech industries. David’s a fascinating guy, I daresay one of the true geniuses I’ve ever known. As is the case with most discussions we have, he offered insights that go well beyond my common understanding of science and nature. In this case, as he explained, the blueness of water is a far more complex and intriguing subject than I had ever considered.

He referred me to a fascinating paper written by researchers at Dartmouth College’s Department of Chemistry, Why is Water Blue by Charles L. Braun and Sergei N. Smirnov.

According to Braun and Smirnov, the reason water is blue is largely due to the unique way it reflects light. They write, “Because the absorption, which gives water its color, is in the red end of the visible spectrum, one sees blue, the complementary color of red, when observing light that has passed through several meters of water. This color of water can also be seen in snow and ice as an intense blue color scattered back from deep holes in fresh snow. Blue to blue-green hues are also scattered back when light deeply penetrates frozen waterfalls and glaciers.”

But what about the blue color of the sky? We’ve all seen lakes, rivers and oceans that appear gray under cloudy skies. Is all of this to say that the sky has no effect? No, say the researchers; reflected light is a factor, too. The color of water is a combination of reflection, the absorption of red wavelengths and a third factor, the material suspended within it.

“Light scattering by suspended matter is required in order that the blue light produced by water’s absorption can return to the surface and be observed. Such scattering can also shift the spectrum of the emerging photons toward green, a color often seen when water laden with suspended particles is observed.”

To further complicate matters, there’s a fourth factor in play. “The relative contribution of reflected skylight and the light scattered back from the depths is strongly dependent on observation angle.”

For what it’s worth, after reading this fascinating discussion, I’ll never look at an azure sea or swimming pool with the same eyes. Why is water blue? Turns out, it’s complicated.

Why is my Pool Green?

Summer is in full swing and the heat is turning up. For millions there is no better way to combat the heat and have lots of fun and exercise than to go for a swim. And with the wide variety and low prices of swimming pools manufactured in recent years, many of these people only have to visit their own backyard for a swim. Unfortunately, many of these would-be swimmers approach the pool and realize that the water has turned green. This problem will certainly put a damper on what would have otherwise been a fun day.

So what is it that turns a swimming pool full of clean, clear, cool water into a yucky, swamp-looking mass of nastiness? Green swimming pool water is almost always caused by green algae. Green algae enters the pool by various means including wind and rain and begins to multiply very quickly, especially on warm, sunny days.

Green Algae are allowed to thrive in swimming pool water because of a chemical imbalance present within the water. This chemical imbalance can be the result of heavy rainfall, long periods of hot weather, improper filtration, or improper chemical treatment.
While there is no direct threat to swimmers from green algae, it can harbor other organisms that can be harmful such as various species of bacteria. Another potential safety hazard is that green pool water makes it difficult to see under the water. This can be a problem if there are any objects in the pool that can cause harm or if someone needs to be rescued. While these are important reasons not to swim under these conditions, the bottom line is that it is simply unpleasant swimming in a pool full of green algae.

Other than safety issues involved with a swimming pool full of green algae, there are other concerns as well. If not treated, green algae can clog pool filters and the pool’s plumbing. This will increase the level of maintenance to the pool, which is more costly and time consuming.

Swimming is supposed to be a fun activity enjoyed by people of all ages. As long as the water is clean and clear, it can be a great way to enjoy the summer heat and get some great exercise. But when the pool water has turned green from the presence of algae, any hopes of having fun are quickly dissipated. And while Green Algae are not an immediate threat, it can cause problems for swimmers and equipment alike. Article Source:

Pool Safety

The Virginia Graeme Baker Act (VGB) requires public pools and spas to be equipped with an anti-entrapment device that protects against injury or death. Recently enacted House Bill #849 includes legislation allowing for anti-entrapment device alternatives. Both federal and state law requires a device to be certified to national engineering standards and must be installed by a licensed pool contractor. All public pools with direct suction main drains must install a VGB disablement device by July 1, 2013. If owners/operators do not comply, the Department of Health (DOH) will take enforcement action and the pool will be shut down.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Title II and Title III

The Department of Justice (DOJ) revised the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II and Title III laws to include swimming pools and spas. The DOJ is the federal agency charged with enforcing the ADA laws. The law mandates that persons with disabilities have accessible means of entry to pools and spas. All pools covered under Title II and Title III, are required to be compliant no later than January 31, 2013. If owners/operators do not comply, the potential exists for lawsuits and/or pool closure. Florida Pool Service (FPS) currently provides a “no obligation” assessment of your pool/spa to ensure it meets the current federal/state laws that have been enacted and enforced by the DOH and DOJ.

Pool Pump Energy Law

Having a pool at home to beat the Florida summer heat is practically a necessity, but could your monthly maintenance bills be unnecessarily draining your bank account?
Chances are the answer is yes if you are not using an energy-efficient pool pump, which is why Florida lawmakers passed legislation to require pool owners to dump old power-wasting models for newer ones this summer.

A statewide law is scheduled to go in effect on July 1 that will ban the sale and professional installation of old-school single-speed pumps for any owner using models of one horsepower or greater, which are most typically used by pool owners. In their place, pool stores and product vendors will sell what are called two-speed or multispeed pool pumps, which use much less energy.

An energy bill passed by lawmakers last month could delay the pool pump deadline until December 31 to coincide with the 2010 Florida Building Code in order to provide better enforcement. The bill is expected to be sent to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature or veto this month. If he does nothing, it will become law.

It will be OK to use an old pump until it dies out. You will have to upgrade to an energy-efficient one when replacing the old one unless it is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty.

The new law will apply to both residential pools and in-ground spas using pumps or motors of one horsepower or greater, but not portable spas.

The downside: A one-horsepower pump and motor can cost about $150 or more, not including installation, while the price for newer models can start at about $700. The upside: The old pumps can cost $2 or more per day to run for the recommended eight hours a day – depending on the size of your pool, how long you run the pump and how well it works – while the newer pumps can be as low as 40 to 50 cents a day, say experts.

“Those figures sound about right,” said Wendy Parker, executive director of the Florida Swimming Pool Association. “In a state where swimming pools are in almost every backyard, we obviously want people to be aware of their pool pump energy use. These new models are designed to use much less power each day and will pay for themselves over time.”
Because the age and condition of your pool and its pump and water circulation system can vary, it may be a good idea to have a professional visit your home to check on how efficiently it is running, Parker said.

“Should the governor extend the deadline, it will be good because it will give people more time to understand the new requirements and prepare,” Parker said. She also said that consumers should not feel as if they have to wait for the law to take effect if they want to start saving on monthly energy bills now.

May 31, 2011|Daniel Vasquez, Sun Sentinel Columnist

Doing Business with Unlicensed Contractors

Florida Federal Law states that it is a felony for unlicensed contractors to operate in the State of Florida. Choose only licensed and insured contractors to service your pool, spa, or fountain. You can access this information in both Collier and Lee County by using the web site. Once you are in this web site under the e-GovServices, click on Contractor Licensing Look Up

  • Contractor Type – using the drop down menu select the following:
  • Swimming Pool Commercial – Certified or Registered
  • State Certified (check this box to select contractors State Certification information)
  • Submit

To view all Counties in the State of Florida from the page go to the Find Information About > State of Florida. You can then choose your search options.

If you are unable to find the specific Certified Contractor you are searching for, ask them for their Certificate Number and search by their number. They must have a Certificate Number to be licensed and operate in the State of Florida. Protect your investment by only dealing with licensed and insured contractors.