High temperatures, a sunny day, and plenty of bather load are factors that can lead to an algae outbreak. Without any apparent warning, algae spores can turn sparkling pool water into a green murky mess.

The good news is there’s time to whip that pool back into shape. The bad news is … well … there actually is no bad news. Really, you just need a little education on how best to quickly resolve the problem.

Cleaning up the Impurities

The two most popular sanitizers used in pools and spas, chlorine and bromine, function as biocides, killing bacteria and other potentially harmful microbes. As oxidizers, they “burn up” unpleasant organic contaminants like bather wastes, dust, and pollen. In a heavily used pool, as much as 90 percent of the chlorine or bromine may be working to eliminate organic impurities, leaving a mere 10 percent to kill germs. That is never a good thing. To free up a sanitizer to do its primary job—killing germs—it’s always wise to periodically add a supplemental oxidizer, a “shock treatment.”

While shocking is the simple addition of a few parts per million (usually 2‒5 ppm) of unstabilized chlorine to “clean up” pool water, breakpoint chlorination or superchlorination, on the other hand, is performed when there’s a measurable amount of combined chlorine causing odors and irritation. For the proper dosage amount, take the combined chlorine value and multiply that by 10. The resulting number is how much unstabilized chlorine to add ALL AT ONCE to remove the combined chlorine. Any chlorine left over at this point is now in the form of free chlorine, the active sanitizer and oxidizer that you want to have in pool water. Breakpoint chlorination literally scours the pool of oxidizable organic matter at a very quick rate and results in clean, sparkling water.

Eliminating an Algae Bloom

To eliminate a green algae bloom, the recommendation is to breakpoint chlorinate to 30 ppm. Adding less than the breakpoint dosage can create more combined chlorine, exacerbating the problem. Although 30 ppm may sound like an excessive amount, that in fact is the minimum amount needed to break into the nucleus of the algae cell and disrupt its DNA structure, making replication impossible and ultimately killing it. Keep in mind that chlorine sanitizers come in varying strengths, requiring different dosages to yield a specific breakpoint result.

Never use a stabilized form of chlorine (dichlor or trichlor) for breakpoint chlorination, as this will dramatically and unnecessarily increase cyanuric acid levels. Only use unstabilized chlorine.

Now that you’ve had a crash course in how to eliminate algae and noxious chlorine odors from pool water, you and your client can breathe a sigh of relief … and the party is on!

For more information, visit www.taylortechnologies.com.