MID-MISSOURI - The face of summertime fun may be in danger this summer as the nation is experiencing a chlorine shortage that experts believe is only going to get worse.
According to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), there are 10.4 million pools nationwide with 309,000 being public swimming areas. Of these pools over 60% use chlorine tablets to eliminate algae and bacteria, while also oxidizing other materials that have made their way into the water.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to stay home and avoid travel over the last year, the usage of chlorine skyrocketed with the rising demand for backyard swimming pools.
There are three domestic manufacturers of chlorine tablets. One of those three, BioLab, burned down in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. BioLab expects to be operational again in the spring of 2022, but for now only two chlorine manufacturers remain.
"The hurricane down in Louisiana knocked out a big plant that produced the raw chemicals for the chlorine tablets," Vaughan Pools and Spas manager Caleb Crocker said. "A lot of distributors are now having to go overseas to China or Europe to get what we call trichlor, the base chemical in most of the chlorine tablets that are seen on the market."
Parts of the country have already seen a major jump in the price of a typical 50-pound bucket of chlorine tablets. Many experts believe that the price may increase by 70%.
Luckily, some local pool supply companies are granted more access to chlorine tablets than standard retail stores.
"Our distributor, which is BioLab, has actually come out and said we are locked in at this price for the entire 2021 season," Crocker said.
So while pool owners may see prices rise in some places, certain distributors prices will remain the same.
As the shortage is expected to only get worse this summer, experts have a few things for people to remember:
- Make sure to only get in the water if clarity is good
- Discuss chlorine alternatives with a local pool professional
- Continue to filter your pool
- Shower before and after swimming
- Avoid having animals in the water