Chlorine Shortage Causes Problems for Swimming Pool Suppliers | New

MURRAY – It looks like the year 2020 will not stop causing problems even in 2021.

In a year known for a global pandemic which led to a myriad of problems in different regions, there was one event that has remained largely off everyone’s radar. Overshadowed by the struggles of a crippled economy, as well as a divisive presidential election, there was a fire at a chemicals plant in Louisiana that has gone largely unnoticed, until now.

This August fire occurred at a plant operated by BioLab Inc. in Westlake, Louisiana, and was caused by Hurricane Laura. The reason it is being noticed so much now is that this plant made most of the US supply of chlorine tablets which are used to keep the water inside swimming pools clean.

All Bud Byars needs to do to find out how much of a problem this has become is look at where his supply of chlorine tablets is on display at Steele & Allbritten in Murray. Tuesday was naked, which he says has been the case for many days so far in 2021.

“And I don’t know when we’ll receive another shipment,” said Byars, the owner of the dealership. “I had at least two people today who came to pick it up. I’ve been told there’s a chance we’ll get a delivery later this week, but that’s not a sure thing.

“I spoke to our supplier who is in Nashville, Tennessee and even spoke to someone who has a supplier in New Jersey. It seems to be the same everywhere. “

The wanted item is a chlorine tablet that is approximately 3 inches in diameter and dissolves once it is dropped in the pool water. Byars said these are not only used by pool owners, but are used when new pools are first filled with water by Steele & Allbritten staff. Steele & Allbritten also takes care of pool maintenance for many customers in the Murray area.

Byars said these are typically sold in 25- to 50-pound containers that line a section at the store’s main entrance. On Tuesday, the only thing displayed was a piece of white paper that showed the prices of the 25 and 50 pound containers, respectively.

This not only leads Steele & Allbritten, but other dealers to try lengths that are generally not approached.

“We actually went to Sam’s in Paducah last week with the intention of purchasing their entire supply, but found that another pool shop in Paducah had beaten us. This is what it has become, ”said Byars, adding that something else he had said he feared since the onset of this shortage is starting to emerge. “Prices are going up and it’s something I had a feeling was going to happen. A pale 25-pound chlorine tablet is about 50% more than it was at this time last year.

“The other problem, however, is that alongside this increase, (the tablets) are not available this year. Again, we don’t know when our next shipment will arrive. “

Once the shipments are received, Byars said they will need to be treated with great care.

“We’re going to have to limit how many we can sell to one person. I think it’s probably going to be one per person, ”he said, adding that he was learning this from the supplier side as well. “I called someone last week and they said, ‘Well I can only send you five (pallets)’, I said, ‘Great! We’ll take whatever you have!

“When we place an order, we usually get 10. Some weeks I imagine it will be three. The supplies are really very low at the moment. “

Byars said his first concern was with the company’s repeat customers, many of whom have been with Steele & Allbritten for several years. He said it was a matter of principle.

However, this shortage also means that expanding the customer list becomes more difficult.

“All of this makes you wonder if we need to get into (the chlorine manufacturing business), if that’s what’s going to happen when a plant has a problem,” Byars said. “It’s really difficult to operate at the moment.”

Byars said he’s heard from some of his customers thinking about switching from chlorine as a cleaning agent to salt, but he cautions it’s not as easy as switching chemicals. He said this process required an average of between $ 1,200 and $ 1,500 due to the equipment involved.

The good news, he says, is that his business has salt.

“We just got another shipment of this,” he said. “I’ll bring them (to fill in another blank area) here later.” The point is, you have to buy them in large quantities at once because you are going to be using a lot of them at once. “

Chlorine tablets should also be in large numbers because, depending on the situation, the tablets should be used frequently. He said the range for use was once every three days to maybe once a day.

About Richard Chandler

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