Nitrates are not an uncommon problem to have especially if you are in the UK. It is important to be mindful of the nitrate levels in your pool as a high nitrate reading could become into an algae nightmare. The secret to controlling nitrate levels is to test regularly and then you can respond quickly to rising levels before it becomes a problem.
Before you start testing for nitrates, it’s good to know exactly what they are and what you need to do to remove nitrates from your pool water.
What Are Nitrates?
Nitrates are a naturally occurring contaminant to swimming pools. Nitrates are a plant nutrient typically found in fertilizers but will be anywhere where plants grow. If you have grassy banks or plants surrounding your pool then this is a good sign that your pool is susceptible to nitrates getting into your pool.
Where Do Nitrates Come From?
The genesis of your nitrate problem depends a lot on the area where you live. In the countryside we commonly see the source of the problem being water run off across foliage. Septic tanks are also known to contain high levels of nitrates but you pool should be sufficiently far away from these to cause a problem.
In other areas, simply water running off from trees can cause a problem and even acid rain can contaminate your pool. Local wildlife (especially ducks) can really cause your nitrate levels to rise as the spend time in your pool. Even the family dog can contaminate the pool with grass and pollen stuck to their coats. Always give your dog a bath before allowing them to jump in the pool!
What Happens When Your Pool Has Nitrates?
Nitrates are not harmful to you or the bathers in the pool directly however it does affect the water. Nitrates encourage growth of algae. Soon your pool will turn green and algae will start sticking to the walls of your pool. The clean up of the algae is only more hindered because the nitrate will fight the chlorine you add to the pool meaning you will have to use more chlorine than usual to get rid of the problem. Sounds like a headache right?
How Do You Get Rid of Nitrates?
The biggest problem with nitrates other than what they cause is their removal solution. There is no chemical you can add to your pool to get rid of nitrates from you pool. The best solution to stopping nitrates is to remove the problem. If you have constant problems, consider removing the plant border around the pool or adding better drainage. Keep the cover on the pool when you are not using it and make sure wildlife don’t start taking up residence in your pool.
If you nitrate levels are high, the solution is dilution! You will need to drain the pool water down by approximately 1/3 and refill with fresh water. Remember after you refill to balance your pool again with chlorine and pH.
Testing your pool regularly will enable you to see when nitrates might start to be rising and you can do something about it before the problem get out of hand.