Swimming Pool Guides & Reviews by Certified Pool & Spa Operators

What Happens If You Discover Nitrates in Your Swimming Pool?

Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Many pool owners deal with a problem called nitrates. The severity of the problem depends on where you live in the world. If you have nitrates contaminating your pool water, then they’re going to attract algae. This is obviously something that you don’t want to happen.

You must test your pool water for nitrates regularly. If the test results show an increase in your nitrate levels, you must know which action to take next. But first, you must learn more about nitrates, such as what they are exactly and how they manage to end up in your pool water.

After you’ve gained this knowledge, you can start taking steps to get rid of the nitrates and make sure that your pool does not get contaminated again.

Overview of Nitrates

Nitrates are natural contaminants commonly found in swimming pools. They are a type of plant nutrient used in many commercial fertilizers. In nature, you can find nitrates in any area where you have plants growing. That is why people who have a lot of greenery around their pool end up getting nitrates in it, especially if the greenery was given fertilizer. So, you must be careful about the foliage and fertilizer that you use in your pool area.

Pools usually have a problem with these two nitrates; NO3 (nitrates) and NO2 (nitrites).

NO3 cause so many of the problems that people have in their pools. However, NO2 can also be terrible for bigger pools of water because they add an extra oxygen molecule to it. But when it comes to NO3, they are harder to remove from pools.

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Where Nitrates Originate From?

Your location greatly determines where your nitrates come from. If you live in a rural environment, any water that passes through foliage could end up in your pool and contaminate it with nitrates. If you have wells or septic tanks nearby, they can also harbor nitrates too.

You really must be careful of all liquids and greenery near your pool. Nitrates can come from trees, bushes, acid rain, and stormwater. It is best to cover your pool if you know a storm is coming.

Do you own any pets or have wildlife near your home? Animals can spread nitrates to your water if they happen to go near it. Watch out for flying animals too, such as birds and ducks. All it takes is for 1 bird to fly and land onto your pool water for it to get contaminated with nitrates.

If you have a family dog, keep it out of your pool. Your dog is probably covered with nitrates from rolling around on the grass or running through the foliage on your property. If the dog gets into your pool water, then so will the nitrates.

Even humans are guilty of spreading nitrates to the pool water. Your own sweat and urine can spread nitrates. What’s worse is if you’re wearing cosmetic makeup because they tend to have some nitrates in them too. The more nitrates that build in your water, the more you’ll notice algae growing in your water.

What is the Effect of Nitrates in Pool Water?

If you unknowingly swim in water that is contaminated with nitrates, it will not hurt you. But the quality of the water will be affected if nothing is done about the contamination.

As a plant nutrient, nitrates encourage algae to grow in water. You’ll see this growth on the sides and surface of your pool. The water will even appear green and nasty. You’ll probably get discouraged from swimming in it anyway.

Whenever you have high nitrate levels, you’ll be forced to use more chlorine to treat the problem and clean your pool. As a result, you’ll pay more money for pool maintenance.

If you’ve allowed the nitrate levels in the water to get to around 10 ppm, then it won’t matter if you’re using algaecide or shock treatment because the algae growth will be too powerful to stop it.

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How to Remove Nitrates

Nitrates are not easy to remove. Shock treatment can break down nitrates and turn them into nitrites. When the shock treatment level goes back down, the nitrites will become nitrates again.

You won’t find any formulated chemical which can destroy nitrates in the water. The best thing to do is find out where the nitrates came from and destroy the source. Once you do that, you must drain the water from your pool and refill it again with fresh water that has no nitrates in it.

Remove nearby foliage and fertilizers. All runoffs must be checked too. Any problems with dusk, birds, or other animals must be dealt with. Build a fence or purchase deterrent products to keep them away from the water.

Make sure you test your water frequently to ensure the nitrate levels are down. If you see them starting to go up, then take action quickly before they get out of hand.

Conclusion

You will never remove nitrates entirely because they come from your natural surroundings. You just need to conduct the proper maintenance to ensure your nitrate levels stay normalized so that they don’t become a problem for your pool. If you don’t see algae growing, then you’ll know you’re doing something right.

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