What is Alum and How Does it Work?

Alum (aluminum sulfate) is a nontoxic liquid that
is commonly used in water treatment plants to
clarify drinking water. It’s use in lakes began in
the early 1970’s and is used to reduce the amount
of phosphorus in the water. Lower amounts of phosphorus lead to lower amounts of algae and the symptoms associated with poor water quality. Alum is most often used to control phosphorus release from the lake bottom sediments (internal loading). Research has shown that even when external sources of phosphorus from the surrounding watershed are lowered, the internal cycling can continue to support signi cant nuisance algal blooms.