People eager to open their pools for the summer are facing a shortage of the disinfectant chlorine — and, yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is partially to blame.
Demand for chlorine is high because many people installed pools over the past year amid coronavirus restrictions. What’s more, a key producer of chlorine burned down last year during a storm in Louisiana, further disrupting supply lines.
“With the onset of COVID, we did see a surge in not only in-ground pool installation but also above-ground pool purchases. So with that, with the increase in demand, we also saw an increase for the chemistries that go along with the pools,” said J. Bryan Kitchen, president and CEO of Clearon Corp., a manufacturer and supplier of water treatment chemicals.
“Added to that, there was also a material supply disruption at another manufacturing plant in August of 2020, which has led to what I will call a domestic shortfall of supply,” he said.
While the supply of chlorine is “certainly tighter” than previous years, Mr. Kitchen said there is still product available due to steps taken by pool service companies, retailers and distributors.
But the tight supply has led to a spike in chlorine prices. Mr. Kitchen said he has seen shelf prices for chlorine climb by more than 50%, predicting there will be “tightness in the market” through this summer and next summer.
Cheryl DeStefano, co-owner of Hammerhead Pool Service and Maintenance in Las Vegas, said chlorine prices have…