Well, that makes sense. But is foam harmful?

Foam is usually harmless. In fact, only 1 percent of the foam you see on a waterbody is the actual foaming agent; the rest is air and water.  However, excess foam is sometimes the result of too much phosphorus in the water.  Although phosphorus is an important plant nutrient, it is not found abundantly in nature and too much of it is indicative of pollution from human activities.  Excessive phosphorous can result in nuisance algae blooms, fish kills due to low dissolved oxygen from decomposition processes, and irregularities with the water's taste and odor.

Show All Answers

1. Let me ask about the foam first. What causes foam to appear on lakes, rivers, and streams?
2. OK, good info. When am I most likely to see natural foam on a waterbody?
3. Well, that makes sense. But is foam harmful?
4. Natural and unnatural foam: got it. How can I tell what kind of foam it is?
5. What should I do if I suspect a waterbody's foam is the result of a chemical release or spill?
6. Wow… I’m learning a lot! Now that I know about foam, what causes surface scum on a lake?
7. But why does the water quality of our lake seem to get worse throughout the summer?