Phosphates are a family of chemicals used for special glasses, sodium lamps, in steel production, in military applications, pyrotechnics, pesticides, toothpaste and detergents. Increasing phosphate concentrations in surface waters raise the growth of phosphate-dependent organisms, such as algae and duckweed. This results in deteriorating water environments. This is mainly the consequence of emissions of large quantities of phosphate into the environment due to mining and cultivating. During water purification, phosphates are often not removed properly, so they are able to spread over large distances when they reach surface waters.