Ortho phosphate added to tap water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-23-2017, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Question Ortho phosphate added to tap water

My Town has added the Ortho phosphate (along with chlorine) to the drinking water to help deal with the iron, sediment in the pipes and other water quality issues we have been having. I use that water in my 75 and 10 gallon tanks. I do have plants and dose with the PPS-Pro system. I find this method is a bit more forgiven with newbie mistakes. How is this Ortho phosphate going to affect the water in my tanks? The ph of the tap water right out of the tap is around 8. Here is what I was told by the Town about the additive..."Ortho phosphate a ph neutral sequestering agent. Designed for and Completely safe for drinking water. Over 60 systems in this county alone use it. All it does is encapsulates the iron and manganese so the chlorine doesn't react with it and let it drop out of suspension in the pipes. It also coats the pipes protecting them. The starting dose is
.075 mg/l and after a month or so be raised slowly to 0.3 - 0.4 mg/l". ...again, I am rather new to planted tanks and using fertilizers for the plants. They tell me this is a very low dose. Thanks in advance for your help!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-24-2017, 03:22 AM
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I had to do a bit of search to find what we are talking here as I have not worked where they needed to do this.
Step one is that it should be orthophosphate, rather than Ortho which is a brand? Most of us probably think of pest protection with Ortho, so it makes a lot of difference to the line of thought? Us non-techie sorts might just call it phosphate.
For more info on orthophosphate, I checked the why of using it here:
https://safewater.zendesk.com/hc/en-...ng-phosphates-

Second bit of info I might pass along is that it is really pretty safe to add this. Actually much safer to drink!
Not sure how it will change keeping fish as it is not something familiar to me. But for drinking, keep this in mind?
The typical phosphate levels found in a liter of drinking water are about one hundred times lower then the phosphate levels found in the average American diet. For example, a person would have to drink ten to fifteen liters of water to equal the amount of phosphates in just one can of soda.

Smile and be happy! They are trying to keep you from doing the Flint, Michigan thing with your water lines!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-24-2017, 04:25 AM
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Orthophosphate is basically anything with a PO4(3-) ion attached..or what you'd probably just call phosphate once it's dissolved in water. It's typically in the form of a weak acid or as a salt, e.g. the monopotassium phosphate many people dose their aquariums as a fertilizer.

Now, I'm not sure what your current dosing schedule is like, but a 0.3-0.4 ppm dose from a water change seems like a lot all at once. I think PPS is 0.1 ppm daily, but I could easily be wrong on that since it was just from a quick Google search...
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-24-2017, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpappy789 View Post
Orthophosphate is basically anything with a PO4(3-) ion attached..or what you'd probably just call phosphate once it's dissolved in water. It's typically in the form of a weak acid or as a salt, e.g. the monopotassium phosphate many people dose their aquariums as a fertilizer.

Now, I'm not sure what your current dosing schedule is like, but a 0.3-0.4 ppm dose from a water change seems like a lot all at once. I think PPS is 0.1 ppm daily, but I could easily be wrong on that since it was just from a quick Google search...
You sound like you might understand/be familiar with this so I have a question?
Since this is something added to the water at the treatment plant, to help protect the pipes all the way to your faucet, is it likely to also react all along the way so that what is added at the plant is not what youi get at your tap? I'm thinking of the bleach/chlorine used to treat water. It is stronger at the point where it is injected but as it reacts with any organic along the way we often do not get the same PPM at our taps.
Or am I missing the point on it's use?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-25-2017, 02:42 AM
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My background is in environmental water quality, so to be honest I don't have a good grasp on how it's used for utility water treatment.

Phosphates will readily bind with different metals depending on the pH. Like you said, the idea is that it forms a coating on your pipes when it precipitates with heavy metals (Pb, Cu, etc.) or even lighter metals (Fe, Mn, etc.) that are less regulated but can still be annoying.

My assumption, however, is that it is likely added in slight excess. Depending on how they add it, either as a phosphoric acid or a phosphate salt, you will likely end up with some of that in your tap. But that could totally be wrong!

I misread that it was the dosage quoted above as in that is what they are adding, in which case it shouldn't be exactly what comes out of your tap since the coating should be insoluble (otherwise it's not working), not what they're projecting as coming out of the tap.

Might be something to monitor but I can't imagine it's going to be causing major problems since it's still safe to drink. I'd only slightly be concerned that if they are dosing when there, for whatever reason, aren't a lot of metals to bind with it that you happen to add a decent amount of P all at once during a water change.
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