AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As the temperatures rise and summer break approaches, the swimming pool industry is facing a hurdle: a potential chlorine shortage.
Shannon Martin, the president of Texas Blue Lake Pools in Amarillo, said the shortage started with high demand and low supply.
Martin said no one predicted the impact of COVID-19 on the world, so they did not predict to have an influx of swimming pool sales.
“Families were sent home from school. The families were sitting around, they didn’t have anything to do and their family vacations were all being canceled. So they started buying swimming pools for their backyard entertainment,” said Martin. “So chlorine, we kind of started seeing a higher demand for it.”
Then in August 2020, the BioLab plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana, a large supplier of chlorine, erupted after Hurricane Laura, halting production.
“Now that they’ve burned to the ground, they have smaller areas, smaller factories that are trying to produce it, but we cannot keep up at this point,” said Martin. “The fire of the plant is what’s keeping us from having … the active ingredients for chlorine tablets. It’s the most popular form, the most stable form, and the most effective form of chlorine for a swimming pool.”
Martin said manufacturers allotted a certain amount that suppliers could order.
“We were ordering as much as we possibly could back in September, October, November, and December. First-quarter, they actually informed us that they’re out,” said Martin.
This photo is of Martin’s chlorine room. She said she hopefully has enough to take care of her customers. Martin said they are seeing it leave the shelves very quickly.
“Is this real? Yes. Am I feeling it more so now than ever? Yes. Am I going to run out? Absolutely,” said Martin. “This isn’t some kind of ploy for us to raise prices and sell a lot of product. We are really trying to control price.”
Martin said they have seen prices continue to increase since October and anticipates it to continue to go up because of the high demand and short supply.
“We’re doing our very best to maintain price and have as much as available as we can,” said Martin.
Martin said there are alternatives that can be used in place of chlorine.
“We have brought in a lot of bromine for customers, we have a non-chlorine product for other customers, especially our vinyl liner above ground pools, they have some options. We have salt generators. We have different options for different customers, but if you want to be on chlorine we really encourage you to come get it now. Don’t wait,” said Martin.
MyHighPlains.com reached out to the City of Amarillo and the City of Canyon to see if the shortage will impact the opening of city pools. They said:
“We’re aware of and monitoring the potential for a tighter national supply, but at this time, there are no impacts on our plans to open and operate the City pools.”– City of Amarillo
“That has not affected our opening. I have pre-ordered all of our supplies for chlorine a couple of months ago and it is in storage now.”– City of Canyon
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