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Do you have pool plans this summer? A nationwide chlorine shortage could spoil the fun before it begins, industry experts say.
Tight supply, attributed in part to a fire at a chemicals warehouse last year, and increased demand spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic are driving the supply crunch that could s proving difficult for people looking to keep their pools sanitized this season. Some are already hiding what they can find ahead of what is expected to be “the worst chlorine shortage the country has ever seen,” CNBC reported.
“We started buying early, very early, and stocked as much as we could,” Allan Curtis, who owns a pool maintenance business, said at the point of sale. “We won’t last more than probably mid-May or the end of May, and we will be out of chlorine.
Author Rudy Stankowitz, who also heads the aquatic facility training and consultants, called it a “crisis” and said pool owners will have a hard time finding the chlorine tablets they need.
“I call it ‘Poolmageddon’,” he told CNBC.
Chlorine is commonly used to treat swimming pool water and is effective in killing harmful germs and bacteria. Without it, swimmers can be exposed to several illnesses, including diarrhea, hepatitis A, swimmer’s ear, and athlete’s foot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a free chlorine concentration of at least 1 part per million (ppm) in swimming pools and 3 ppm in spas – which should be checked regularly during use.
So, what explains the shortage this year?
It started in August 2020 when Hurricane Laura hit parts of the Gulf Coast and Louisiana, causing a fire that destroyed the manufacturing plant of one of the nation’s largest chlorine tablet producers. , BioLab, according to Yahoo Finance. Additionally, COVID-19 lockdowns have led to an increase in purchases of swimming pools and pool supplies – which has also pushed up the price.
Pool Corp’s chief financial officer, Mark Joslin, said the cost of pool chlorine tablets has risen nearly 60% with no signs of improvement.
“If you think about how it’s going to move for the rest of the year, it will probably stay at a high level because I think the industry is going to be short for the season,” Joslin said during a earnings call in April, according to Yahoo Finance.
Experts said the shortage was widespread and could last into the next year. But that doesn’t mean people should give up on their pool plans. Instead, pool owners and operators will need to get creative in the way they sanitize the water.
According to Blue Haven Pools & Spas, swimming pools can also be kept clean using salt water sanitizers, ozone purification, and UV light treatments, among others.
“There is no shortage of ways to sanitize the pool,” Joslin told Yahoo Finance. “It just means that at some point people will change.”
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