Quick Definition:

Carbonate alkalinity represents the amount of carbonate ions present in water, and can be indirectly determined in swimming pool water by measuring the water calcium hardness level.

What is Carbonate Alkalinity in swimming pools?

Carbonate alkalinity, also called carbonate hardness, describes the amount of carbonate and bicarbonate anions measured in a solution.  Anions contribute to the alkalinity of a substance, like water, because of their basic, or alkaline tendencies to neutralize acids.  The measurement is usually expressed in two ways; parts per million (ppm), or KH, which comes from the German word “Karbonatharte”, a measurement in degrees.  Carbonate alkalinity measurements are used in interpreting and controlling water processes such as in waste water treatments.

In terms of swimming pool water quality, carbonate alkalinity is monitored by testing the calcium hardness of the pool water, which determines the amount of calcium carbonate present in the water.  Carbonate alkalinity in swimming pool water can also affect the pH level, as low alkalinity can also indicate a decrease in pool pH.


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