'Poolmageddon' Looming This Summer Due To Chlorine Shortage

By Bill Galluccio

April 30, 2021

A shortage of chlorine could have a significant impact on public and private pools this summer. The shortage comes amid a surge in demand for chlorine tablets as homeowners and municipalities begin to prepare their pools for the warm summer months.

“It’s probably going to be in short supply this summer,” Pat Allman, general manager of Tampa-based Odyssey Manufacturing, told the Miami Herald. “You’re going to go to your local pool store, and they’re going to be out for a day or two. It’s not going to be all gloom and doom. You just might not shock or clean or kill all of the algae as much as you want to.”

Odyssey Manufacturing makes more than 40 percent of liquid chlorine sold in Florida.

The shortage was exasperated last summer after a chemical plant was destroyed in a fire caused by Hurricane Laura. Louisiana-based BioLab was one of just three companies that manufactures trichlor tablets, which are used to keep pool water clean and sanitized. The company said it hopes to resume operations in 2022, leaving just two factories to handle the demand.

Since the fire, the cost of the tablets has doubled.

Another issue contributing to the shortage is the large number of newly built pools. When the coronavirus pandemic forced public pools to close last year, many homeowners invested in new pools, increasing the demand for chlorine.

According to NBC News, there are more than five million residential inground pools and 255,000 commercial pools, and that between 60% to 70% use chlorine tablets to keep the water clean.

Several pool maintenance companies told CNBC, they are stockpiling chlorine over concerns the supply may run out.

“We started buying early, way early, and stockpiled as much as we could,” said Allan Curtis, whose business, Ask the Pool Guy, services about 1,000 customers in Michigan. “We won’t last more than probably mid-May, or late May, and we’ll be out of chlorine.”

Curtis said there are other options for people to sanitize their pool, but he expects those products to be in short supply as well.

″[I expect pool owners] will have to go from tablets to powdered chlorine, from powdered chlorine to liquid chlorine, from liquid chlorine to nonchlorinated shocks and things,” Curtis said. “And I do believe that all of those are going to literally run out.”

“I call it ‘Poolmageddon.’ It’s a chlorine crisis,” he added. “A lot of people are not going to be able to find the chlorine tablets they need this season.”

Photo: Getty Images

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