The New York Times
Just in Time for Pool Season: Chlorine Shortage
Stuck at home due to the coronavirus outbreak, people who find themselves sitting in savings from canceled vacations and other cuts have created a pool of record numbers last year to Make quarantine more fun Then a fire at the end of last summer caused the closure of most of the country̵7;s chlorine tablets factories. This year, the arrival of Memorial Day and pool season has prompted industry experts to warn of a shortage. That threatens to thwart coast-to-coast backyard plans, said Rudy Stankowitz, a pool consultant and educator with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. “There’s a very good possibility that we’re running out of chlorine tablets.” “People should start looking for other ways to disinfect swimming pools.” Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times. which Stankowitz describes as being somewhat exaggerated. “poolocalypse” will affect residential swimming pools more than public ones, which often use different forms of chlorine. have significant public health implications. Chlorine tablets are used to disinfect pools and to keep them free of algae and bacteria. Inadequately disinfected water can turn cloudy. This poses a safety risk and is a major cause of drowning, Stankowitz said. You may not see them Or they might get confused and don’t know how to get out,” he says. “There are cases where the pool is so green it looks like a lawn.” The chlorine shortage has caught some new pool owners, like Stephanie Winslow. Winslow is used to spending hot days with his daughter and friends. at the local public pool when it was closed due to the epidemic She bought an aboveground pond for the ranch where she lived with her family in Philippi. West Virginia “We get a lot from it,” says Winslow, a college online financial aid specialist. “We use it almost every day.” This spring, Winslow bought a month’s worth of chlorine tablets at Walmart for $26 after hearing about the shortage. She went back and bought enough for this summer, but Walmart or Ace Hardware wasn’t for sale. On Amazon, the same-sized tablet bin, which was $26 a week before, was nearly $170. Shame on some things that are supposed to be really fun. For those who come in the summer to enjoy now It’s almost a hassle because you don’t know if you’ll be able to use it all summer,” she said. Others are just getting better. Nick Barboza, who recently retired from the Air Force, built a pond in his backyard. of his in San Antonio last May. As a Mother’s Day gift for his wife Julia, this purchase was possible. Partly because the pandemic forced them to cancel their trips to Chicago and Hawaii, the pool “improves the quality of our families,” says Nick Barbosa, who has children aged 6, 13 and 18. Summer swimming, maybe six days a week,” he said. “We’re always in the backyard just hanging out. And it’s bringing families together when we’re stuck in the house.” The pool is waterfall-shaped and made of fiberglass, which requires less chlorine and fewer other chemicals. This year’s Facebook group Barboza bought a 50-pound chlorine canister from Sam’s Club, which was enough to last all summer. Barboza’s swimming pool is one of 96,000 built in the United States in 2020, up 23 percent from a year ago, according to a chlorine shortage report released by Goldman Sachs last month. The report is based on a survey of regional pool retailers. 110,000 new pools are expected to be built this year, the most “in a single year since the Great Recession.” “Social distancing and virus fear guidelines”, adding a large number of new pools may suffice for chlorine supply. But the real problems began in August. When a major fire broke out at a facility west of Lake Charles, Louisiana, operated by Bio-Lab Inc., one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of pool and spa products. The fire, which came after the plant was damaged by Hurricane Laura burns for three days By releasing chlorine gas into the air and stopping the production of chlorine tablets, Bio-Lab told the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board that about 835 tons of tablets were stored at the plant when a fire broke out, a spokesman for KIK Consumer Products, which owns Bio. Lab declined to say how much of those items were destroyed. Trichlor chlorine tablets are used to disinfect about 70 percent of the country’s residential swimming pools, Stankowitz said, he and other industry experts said at the Bio plant. -Lab produces most of the tablets of the country. The resulting shortage went unnoticed until recently as pools in the northern states began to open for the season and owners noticed higher prices and purchase limits at some stores. Of the 26 pool supply stores surveyed by Goldman Sachs, “15 showed uncertainty or doubt when asked if they had enough chlorine for the pool season,” said the report, a spokesman for KIK Consumer Products said. The company is building a new Bio-Lab plant, which will increase capacity by 30 percent and will be “well positioned to quickly resolve shortages” when it reopens next year, he said. The only thing to keep the pool clean. For example, saltwater pools are equipped with filtration systems that use electricity to produce chlorine. But retrofitting them in pools can be very expensive, Stankowitz said. Cheaper options include the addition of chemicals such as borates, which protect against algae or chlorine bleach. to reduce the need for chlorine Pool and Hot Tub Industry Alliance It is recommended that people take a shower before swimming. Keep pets out of the pool and turn on the filter every day It is also recommended that people “shake” their swimming pools. By adding chemicals that raise chlorine levels enough to kill algae and bacteria. using liquid chlorine Calcium hypochlorite or potassium monopersulfate instead of chlorine tablets. above all Pool owners should resist the panic urge to buy chlorine, Stankowitz said. Doing so could risk producing scarce chlorine tablets due to toilet paper at the start of the pandemic. “If people start hoarding and people start taking more supplies than they need,” he said, “that will only make the problem worse.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times © 2021 The New York Times Company.