Summer 2021 could be another disappointment as a chlorine shortage threatens to ruin the US swimming season.
The shortage was exacerbated by a chemical plant fire in August that devastated one of the country’s major suppliers.
The shortage is expected to drive prices up by at least 60 percent, forcing pool cleaners to look for chlorine alternatives.
Due to the high pool usage during the pandemic lockdowns, chlorine prices rose 37 percent in March and rose by a further 60 percent from June to August
Swimming pools were originally kept clean using filter systems and frequent changes of the water.
However, this technique wasn’t particularly effective, allowing germs to multiply.
After British scientist Sims Woodhead used calcium chlorine to disinfect drinking water during a typhoid outbreak in 1897, experts realized that it could also be used as an effective detergent in pools.
The first attempt to sterilize a pool with chlorine was at Brown University in 1910 when the 70,000 gallon Colgate Hoyt Pool was chlorinated.
Experts call this the worst chlorine deficiency in history, with the price of a 50-pound bucket nearly doubling in some places to $ 140. Some suppliers have started to limit purchases from chlorine customers
When chlorine is added to water, it forms a weak acid called hypochlorous acid, which kills bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, as well as germs that cause diarrhea, swimmers’ ears, and other diseases.
It effectively rips apart a pathogen and breaks through its cell walls.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a properly chlorinated pool should kill the coronavirus as well, although not much research has been done on it.
“Based on what we know about chlorine and other viruses, it is likely safe to swim in a properly maintained pool provided you continue to adhere to social distancing and proper hand hygiene rules,” said Dr. Cristina Cicogna, an infectious disease specialist.
This could explain why US chlorine supplies are running low: In the summer of 2020, when most Americans were forced to settle at home, many spent the time taking a bath.
According to Yahoo! chlorine prices rose 37 percent in March. Finances and the shortage could cause prices to rise another 60 percent from June to August.
BioLab, one of the largest chlorine producers in the country, burned down in August after Hurricane Laura.
Lake Charles, Louisiana residents were ordered to stay inside their homes to avoid exposure to the hazardous chemical fumes.
According to CNBC, BioLab will not be operational again until spring 2022.
That leaves only two manufacturers, Occidental Petroleum and Clearon, offering chlorine tablets for the whole country.
BioLab, one of the largest chlorine producers in the country, burned down in August after Hurricane Laura. Residents were instructed to stay inside their homes to avoid exposure to the dangerous chemical fumes
When chlorine is added to water, it forms a weak acid called hypochlorous acid, which kills bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, as well as germs that cause diarrhea and swimmers’ ears
The result is what experts call the worst chlorine deficiency in US history.
Some suppliers have started to limit the number of customers.
The pandemic has even resulted in a shortage of plastic buckets to put the tablets in.
Allan Curtis, who runs Ask the Pool Guy in Brighton, Michigan, says this was the first time in his 34 years in the business that he had to resort to chlorine storage.
″[I expect pool owners] has to move from tablets to powdered chlorine, from powdered chlorine to liquid chlorine, from liquid chlorine to non-chlorinated shocks and other things, ”Curtis told CNBC.
“And I believe all of these will literally work out,” said Curtis, who expects to end by the end of May.
Scotty Heer, a pool service operator in Las Vegas, told CNBC that a bucket of chlorine worth $ 75 is now $ 140, “with the suggested price of $ 158 in the near future.”
According to ForRent.com, there are approximately 8.4 million swimming pools in the US and nearly two-thirds of them use chlorine tablets.