+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 40

Thread: Ben's Phosphate Project

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    816

    Lightbulb Ben's Phosphate Project

    One of the major reasons I love PoolForum is that it has always been open to new ideas.... That's how Ben revolutionized the pool industry, right?!

    Back in the summer of 2014, Ben was talking about a phosphate project/experiment and toying around with the possibility of putting together a "winterizing kit" which included Orenda phosphate removers. I had hoped to participate in his experiment....

    I don't really have any chemistry issues with my water, but I am interested in the idea of lowering/maintaining a low phosphate level in an attempt to make my water chemistry even better!

    Any thoughts about how to proceed with the experiment?
    Last edited by FormerBromineUser; 02-10-2016 at 08:24 PM.
    26K gal 20x40 rectangular IG vinyl pool; Apr 2014: New pump, liner, auto-cover, & water; Pentair Whisperflo 1HP pump; Pentair Trition sand filter; Cover/Star CS-500 auto cover; Taylor K-2006C; OTO

  2. #2
    Anonymous [GDPR] European in the UK Guest

    Default Re: Ben's Phosphate Project

    Any background info on Ben's project/experiment FBU?
    I have been doing my own over the last few years but as others have found results vary. The good results I now have only really took shape when several things were brought together to work in harmony rather than one thing in isolation.
    Certainly be interested to hear Ben's views.

  3. #3
    chem geek is offline Lifetime Member Whibble Konker chem geek 4 stars chem geek 4 stars chem geek 4 stars chem geek 4 stars
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    California
    Age
    59
    Posts
    2,230

    Default Re: Ben's Phosphate Project

    I had worked with Ben on this (in discussions) and can tell you that the experiment he ran started to produce positive results before he went AWOL (the most recent time). As predicted by the science, phosphate removers properly used reduced the required FC/CYA ratio needed to prevent algae growth, the pools were less "reactive" even at too low a level (even no chlorine, though not recommended), and in particular it was helpful to control yellow/mustard algae that would otherwise require higher FC/CYA levels to control (around 15% FC/CYA ratio compared to 7.5%) when there are ample algae nutrients.

    However, he wasn't finished with the tests and the results were merely preliminary though encouraging.

    Quite frankly, there never really was a question for whether this would work since the science is sound. The real question was about the economics since traditionally it was thought that phosphate removers were too expensive and would not be justified. This is why historically Ben said that such algaecides or phosphate removers were "final resort" methods. However, when I actually looked at pricing for some of the phosphate removers such as the Orenda PR-10,000 I found that it should be economical except that it won't work well in pools using HEDP since that adds phosphates too quickly (chlorine oxidizes HEDP over time into orthophosphate).

    What I was going to have Ben try next was not just using phosphate removers for "trouble pools" such as those with poor circulation or those with yellow/mustard algae, but also try it in "normal" pools in order to operate at a lower FC/CYA ratio which should result in lower chlorine costs since the chlorine loss rate should be proportional to the FC level if CYA is constant. With a reasonably priced source for a phosphate remover, there should be an overall net savings -- where saving half on chlorine costs more than makes up for the cost of the phosphate remover. This should be true even with phosphates in fill water with evaporation and refill and I had worked out some of those costs though Ben left before I could go over that with him.

    I have personal experience with the use of phosphate removers in my own pool that I described in this thread (at TFP). I will tell you that my pool with 3000+ ppb phosphates was very "reactive" if the chlorine level got below the FC/CYA minimum. The chlorine would drop faster as nascent algae would grow and the water would turn dull in a day or two and cloudy after that (I never let it get full green). After the phosphate remover treatment, the pool would not be reactive. Chlorine levels would drop slowly in normal proportional rate even below the FC/CYA minimum and even with zero chlorine algae growth would only be noticeable as dull water only after many days.

    I don't know why some people have inconsistent results, but I used the Taylor K-1106 kit. Perhaps some phosphate remover brands aren't as effective and perhaps people aren't using good test kits for verification of reduced phosphate levels (down to 100 ppb or so). Note that the reagents do go bad after a couple of years and will report no phosphates when they actually exist (my fill water has around 400 ppb phosphates so is easy to use as a verification test). After around 5 years my phosphate levels crept up to around 500 ppb and I noticed a modest increase in chlorine demand below the FC/CYA minimum so I used some leftover phosphate remover from the first experiment and now the pool is back to that nearly completely non-reactive state.
    15.5'x32' rectangle 16K gal IG concrete pool; 12.5% chlorinating liquid by hand; Jandy CL340 cartridge filter; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; 8hrs; Taylor K-2006 and TFTestkits TF-100; utility water; summer: automatic; winter: automatic; ; PF:7.5

  4. #4
    chem geek is offline Lifetime Member Whibble Konker chem geek 4 stars chem geek 4 stars chem geek 4 stars chem geek 4 stars
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    California
    Age
    59
    Posts
    2,230

    Default Re: Ben's Phosphate Project

    Quote Originally Posted by FormerBromineUser View Post
    Back in the summer of 2014, Ben was talking about a phosphate project/experiment and toying around with the possibility of putting together a "winterizing kit" which included Orenda phosphate removers. I had hoped to participate in his experiment....
    So my understanding was that Ben was looking at some troublesome pools with more persistent algae such as those with yellow/mustard algae or those with poor circulation. I didn't think the experiment was with regards to closing though using a phosphate remover should slow down any growth that would occur even at zero chlorine levels. However, for closing it has always been the case that one can minimize the algae growth by closing as late as possible so that the water temperature is cold (below 60F and preferably below 50F) and open in the spring before the water warms up. While algae can still grow at cold temperatures (Carl showed examples of this under ice, I believe) its growth is very slow so one should not have a swamp. I would expect that if one were to combine a lack of phosphates with the cold water that the growth would be minimal. It might not still be zero, but should be less than a pool with high phosphates (and not having nitrates be limiting either).

    Nevertheless, I wouldn't rely on one technique alone for closing. I'd still take advantage of slower algae growth in colder water even if one were to use supplements to further inhibit algae growth. Also, if one were to use an algaecide such as Polyquat 60, it will last longer in colder water though unclear if it would go for the full time of closing. Note the following instructions from Buckman Labs regarding closing using Polyquat (taken from point #4 in their letter quoted in this post):

    In our recommended approach for winterization, the pool should be "shocked" with about 5-10 ppm chlorine to destroy any lingering oxidant demand, to remove any residual ammonia or chloramine, etc. After a couple of days, adjust the pH back to 7.2-7.6 and add Polyquat 60 at the maximum rate allowed by the label. This approach allows you to have the
    maximum benefit from both chemicals.
    I believe the maximum dose listed on the bottle is that for "visible algae growth" which is 16 fluid ounces per 10,000 gallons.
    15.5'x32' rectangle 16K gal IG concrete pool; 12.5% chlorinating liquid by hand; Jandy CL340 cartridge filter; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; 8hrs; Taylor K-2006 and TFTestkits TF-100; utility water; summer: automatic; winter: automatic; ; PF:7.5

  5. #5
    chem geek is offline Lifetime Member Whibble Konker chem geek 4 stars chem geek 4 stars chem geek 4 stars chem geek 4 stars
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    California
    Age
    59
    Posts
    2,230

    Default Re: Ben's Phosphate Project

    Since Ben is AWOL, I'm going to excerpt the parts of what he wrote in our E-mail discussion with regard to his thoughts on algae prevention/control. This conversation was in June/July, 2014. Hopefully he wouldn't mind, but I have no way to contact him to get permission. First, he was talking about using high chlorine with high CYA (what he called "a HiC2 process") at some of his troublesome pools but he also talks about use of phosphate removers for controlling yellow/mustard algae. I'm not quoting everything since he talks about some specifics about some of the commercial pools he was dealing with and I don't want to invade privacy nor embarrass any of the staff at those pools. Bold emphasis is mine.

    I've essentially been forced into a HiC2 process on the [...] pool. With the severe leakage (up to 3" per day!) I had to turn the Intellichlor's off (never get them -- very pool life) because I couldn't keep salt in the pool. [...]

    This left me without a feed system and [...]. Using HiC2, once the CYA>100, I can dose to 20 ppm and not have to return for 3 days, even with relatively high loads. I've got an Intellichlor on the [...] pool, and salt lasts 3 days there (some leakage, lots of splashout) so using HiC2 on the [...] and the IC-40 on the [...] and maintain water quality and sanitation.

    I've had FC levels up to 25 ppm with no complaints about irritation, discomfort, or suit deterioration. Average levels are more like 10 ppm. Obviously, this doesn't fully answer the questions you raised about the -OCl and HClCY- fractions, but it does give me confidence that promoting HiC2 is not likely to lead to any disasters with swimsuits, etc.

    [... stuff about the health department...]

    BUT, mustard algae has always been a problem on that pool (25+ years) and is a true PITA with HiC2.

    Using phosphates PO4<125ppb this past winter, and having ZERO problems with mustard was a revelation. It was not too expensive (~$600 for 200k gal) and definitely less than I spent on chlorine the preceding winter. Incoming water with PO4 ranging from 2 - 4 ppm doesn't help, but it's still a better option than I've had before.

    That allows me to offer a HiC2 of CYA=150, FC ranges from 20 - 7 ppm, pH can float between 7 and 7.8, and in most cases, PO4 removers can resolve any emergent algae problems.

    What's driving me is a raft of questions like
    + My CYA is 90 and I still have 30# of tabs. What now?
    + How can I go on vacation for 2 weeks?
    + Yikes, once I diluted I found my CYA was 200 ppm? I've got a vinyl pool, so I can't drain, what now?

    I see HiC2 as offering these benefits:
    + Making 1x per week chem-care practical
    + Allows consumption of left over dichlor & trichlor
    + Offers a viable vacation plan for up to 2 weeks.
    + Allows Intex users to 'bank' enough chlorine in the pool to keep it safe even when 8 kids jump into 7,000 gallons.
    + Is likely to be cheaper for users who would otherwise be erratic in care.

    Using PO4 removers allows me to relegate NaBr products into the extreme last resort case, almost eliminating all the bromate related health questions.
    [...]
    Ben also asked some questions about using monochloramine and noted the following:

    From my prior experience with monochloramine, it seems to kill algae VERY fast, so that might well be effective. Basically, it always seemed that I could start getting rid of it, as soon as I formed it.
    The products from Coral Seas called "Green to Clean" and "Yellow Out" use a monochloramine approach though they also contain EDTA (they use an ammonium salt of EDTA). EDTA at sufficiently high concentrations is also known to interfere with algae growth. However, it's probably the monochloramine that is the more powerful component for killing algae.

    Ben also asked some questions that are relevant to repeat:

    Do you have any idea why the Kem-Tek PO4 remover acts slowly and doesn't cloud the pool (presumably related)? All the other PO4 removers I've tried made a mess, and I've seen reports that the Orenda product does so, as well.
    I noted that cloudiness comes from using either lanthanum carbonate instead of lanthanum chloride or from the lanthanum forming lanthanum carbonate precipitate as can happen to a greater extent if the pH and/or TA are higher in the pool. Adding the phosphate remover slowly through the skimmer should have most such precipitate form in the filter where the lanthanum carbonate can exchange with phosphate. Another alternative (and one that I did in my phosphate experiment) is to use a clarifier such as GLB Clear Blue after dosing with phosphate. In my case, it cleared up the pool overnight with the filter running. I don't know how long it would have taken to clear up without the clarifier, but I expect it would have been a few days so it should clear up in any case and is just a matter of speed (my wife was going to swim the next day which is why I was in a hurry to get the pool clear).

    I also noted that Kem-Tek was only 7% in concentration while the Orenda product was 70%. So having the phosphate remover product diluted might have led to less cloudiness though I would have expected it still to cloud eventually after adding sufficient amounts of it. So I didn't have a complete answer for why the Kem-Tek didn't seem to cloud, but it's an expensive source of product. Some brands, such as Natural Chemistry, appear to have clarifier in some (or all?) of their phosphate remover products, but again they are not inexpensive products.

    Wow! Kem-Tek label claimed a quart removed 2 ppm PO4 from 10,000 gallons. I assumed the Clorox was the same; in fact it's labeled as removing 0.75 ppm from 10,000 gallons, approximately 1/3 the strength of the Kem-Tek product!

    I won't be able to test for a few days to see what the actual removal is, but that's really disappointing.

    Looks like rather than promoting the Clorox brand, I'm going to be warning against it!
    So the above is what had us think that the Orenda product was the most economical (it's also the most concentrated, but it's really the economics that are most relevant).

    Ben also found a reference talking about how Pseudomonas aeruginosa at low phosphate levels "has been found to activate from benign symbiant to express lethal toxins inside the intestinal tract and severely damage or kill the host, which can be mitigated by providing excess phosphate instead of antibiotics." I noted that this was not a new discovery and quoted papers from 1989, 1992, 2009, and 2012 on the topic. This is not an issue in swimming pools since chlorine will kill such bacteria. It's more of an issue with regard to maintaining proper intestinal gut chemistry to allow for a proper balance of bacteria. Basically, limiting phosphates doesn't just inhibit algae growth but inhibits bacterial growth as well, but since bacteria reproduce so much more quickly one cannot count on low phosphate levels as a "kill" method. Also, the "sufficient" phosphate level for this bacteria was noted as 1 mM (95 ppb) and phosphate removers generally don't get phosphates much below 100 ppb anyway.

    It was at this point in our E-mail conversation where Ben turned to creating a winterizing kit and considered phosphate removers compared to Polyquat 60 or using a combination. That's where we left off. I should have written earlier in this thread that it was a combination of experiments and experience, not just experiments, with regard to using alternative techniques. Sorry about any confusion.

    For me, Ben confirmed what I had discovered which is that phosphate removers not only prevent algae but let one use lower FC/CYA ratios and that can save a lot of money on chlorine -- much more than the cost of the phosphate remover in many cases.

    It was so refreshing to be working with Ben with his open mind. He wasn't stuck with his older recommendations and was willing to re-evaluate based on the facts as they presented themselves through experiment and experience.
    Last edited by chem geek; 02-12-2016 at 12:56 PM.
    15.5'x32' rectangle 16K gal IG concrete pool; 12.5% chlorinating liquid by hand; Jandy CL340 cartridge filter; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; 8hrs; Taylor K-2006 and TFTestkits TF-100; utility water; summer: automatic; winter: automatic; ; PF:7.5

  6. #6
    Anonymous [GDPR] European in the UK Guest

    Default Re: Ben's Phosphate Project

    Thank you Richard, most insightful posts into the inner workings. Not being a chemist I tend to work on a cause and effect basis. Fortunately for me I haven't ever come across the kind of phosphate levels you and others do.

    I often found when phosphate removers worked it could be short term so I looked for possible explanations. From what I was allowed to do on some pools I visit, I frequently to tear down their filters, usually sand filters and the amount of dirt trapped inside was truly staggering in some cases. This was when I posted those pictures of old sand cleaned commercially and "new" sand. It became clear that the back washing ability of domestic sand filters is pretty poor and the pool does benefit from an annual strip clean and rebuild. That isn't BTW the way I like to earn an income before any asks.

    Post filter clean much better results but also I changed some pools to Dryden Aqua's AFM glass media. With it's ability to remove contaminants down to 4microns without flocculation it improved the pools water considerably, adding flocculent which also contained lanthanum chloride and the very low level of phosphate that remained was never an issue. On my own pool I still have around 1.2ppm copper remaining from the ioniser days so algae is less likely anyway but that copper level is way down from the 4ppm it used to be. Yes when tested with my Palintest photometer for free and total copper the free level was usually 0.6-0.8 but total accumulated copper over the years had risen to 4ppm. Never had anyone suffer green hair or had any staining issues but i ran with a pH of 7.2 carefully controlled by my dosing unit.

    When I changed the system to Eco variable speed running I dropped the filtration speed down to a level where Dryden recommended for commercial filtration 15m3/hour/m2 so on a 0.3m2 this was around 5m3/hour. At that point the filtration improved, I used a little flocculation with lanthanum chloride at the start of each season and ran for 4 years with a free chlorine level of 0.2ppm and no CYA. I used titanium dioxide nano particles in solution (Dryden Aqua ACO) this did protect the chlorine somewhat during high sun levels but less so at partial sun but it doesn't diminish the chlorine's strength.

    The water has been incredible over this time, the pump electricity savings have paid for any additional additives or chlorine. In August this year the chlorine dosing unit was turned off for 3 weeks and I have also brought home a couple of gallons of pool water to experiment with none of which including the pool has gone green. The test sample has been kept in a clear acrylic tube in normal daylight. ( I hope to post a video about this later)

    On one pool I worked on which was badly laid out hydraulically I made a new return head to split the flow to remove where possible the dead spots caused by the single point return. This coming season that pool will have phosphates removed and some flocculent added at the start of the season but it is already equipped with a low pressure UV lamp so adding titanium dioxide nano particle solution should mean the production of hydroxyl radicals powerful enough to aid the pool and mean lowering chlorine levels to as low as we can get them, possibly chlorine free.

    Pool maintenance can become very easy if you turn away from the industry. Sand may keep the water clear but we know if you can remove more contaminants rather than recirculating them you can get a much better grip on the water maintenance. Every drop of electricity should be working as best it can, so many in the industry believe if it's clear it's good and can't see the difference, That means Galileo was wrong to invent the microscope according to the pool industry.

    Removing as much of the nutrient levels as possible with occasional flocculent certainly at the start of the season sets you up on a good path especially if used with lanthanum phosphate remover.

    Trying to shove water through a filter that's undersized with a pump that is way to powerful is a waste of electricity and very counter productive.

    Proper and thorough cleaning of the filters is vital, a dirty filter doesn't filter better, it provides more hiding places for bacteria and other pathogens and puts more strain on the pump costing more to run. A spotless clean filter media that filters finer works far better.

    My pool running costs, lack of robot used (sold 4 season ago), just a poolblaster max and normal net and minimal manual intervention speak volumes to me in terms of very easy pool maintenance.

    I would like to find some difficult pools but people are protective of them, they speak of them and then when the offer to sort them and train the owners some are basically frightened or perhaps prefer the problems so they actually have something to post about.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    816

    Default Re: Ben's Phosphate Project

    Thanks, Chem Geek, for the very thorough postings. I THINK I get most of the chemistry, hahaha!

    So: I am just over 2 months out from opening. Can we set-up a protocol for those who might be interested in this?

    Since I switched over to chlorine and BBB, things have been great with my chemistry and I think I have some wiggle-room to play guinea pig.

    I am thinking that SWG owners could really extend the life of their cells by requiring a reduced FC/CYA ratio also.
    26K gal 20x40 rectangular IG vinyl pool; Apr 2014: New pump, liner, auto-cover, & water; Pentair Whisperflo 1HP pump; Pentair Trition sand filter; Cover/Star CS-500 auto cover; Taylor K-2006C; OTO

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    733

    Default Re: Ben's Phosphate Project

    Excellent thread!
    22'x40' Grecian Lazy L 20K gal IG vinyl pool; Aqua Rite SWCG T15 cell; Hayward Pro Grid 6020 DE filter; Hayward Superpump 1hp pump; 12 hrs; Taylor K-2006; city; PF:6

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    816

    Default Re: Ben's Phosphate Project

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    It was so refreshing to be working with Ben with his open mind. He wasn't stuck with his older recommendations and was willing to re-evaluate based on the facts as they presented themselves through experiment and experience.
    Love THIS!!!
    26K gal 20x40 rectangular IG vinyl pool; Apr 2014: New pump, liner, auto-cover, & water; Pentair Whisperflo 1HP pump; Pentair Trition sand filter; Cover/Star CS-500 auto cover; Taylor K-2006C; OTO

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    733

    Default Re: Ben's Phosphate Project

    So I take it HEDP users just have to maintain a high FC/CYA ratio?
    22'x40' Grecian Lazy L 20K gal IG vinyl pool; Aqua Rite SWCG T15 cell; Hayward Pro Grid 6020 DE filter; Hayward Superpump 1hp pump; 12 hrs; Taylor K-2006; city; PF:6

+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. New, BIG project and Liner question
    By Ponduke in forum Above-Ground Pool Construction & Repair
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 06-06-2011, 05:01 PM
  2. SWG Install Project
    By Daren in forum Salt Generators (SWCG) & other Chlorine Feeders
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 06-09-2007, 05:52 PM
  3. AL's Pool Project 10-17-06
    By No Need in forum In-Ground Pool Construction and Repair
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: 04-08-2007, 09:06 AM
  4. Subcontracting your own pool project?
    By minddeal in forum In-Ground Pool Construction and Repair
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 02-28-2007, 09:15 PM
  5. IG DIY project, help from others who did this?
    By DaveWisconsin in forum In-Ground Pool Construction and Repair
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-13-2006, 10:38 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts