Pool owners in Lake Havasu City might have noticed that it is not just the temperature that is rising.
Pool maintenance bills across the country are on the rise as the supply of chlorine runs low due to a chemical fire at a Louisiana chemical plant last August.
La Fiesta Pool Supply Manager Anne Hatfield-Farley says that the chlorine shortage is more specifically a trichlor shortage. Trichlor, according to Hatfield-Farley, is the strongest type of chlorine and the chemical used in all chlorine tablets.
“The plant in Louisiana burned down to the ground and it supplied 80 percent of the trichlor to the nation,” Hatfield-Farley said.
There are few alternative suppliers, and Bloomberg reported that Chinese imports are complicated by freight and tariff issues.
Hatfield-Farley says that since the fire prices of 50 pound buckets of chlorine tabs have doubled going from $99 a bucket to $180 per bucket.
“(Buckets of tabs) are in short supply,” Hatfield-Farley explained. “I usually order palettes at a time. Today I got 10 buckets whereas I used to get 72 buckets.”
The shortage in trichlor has caused pool maintenance companies, like EverClear Pool Service, to stockpile chlorine tabs. EverClear owner Don Reinhard says that his business currently has enough tablets to last until October.
EverClear Pool Service is the largest pool maintenance company in Mohave County according to Reinhard and services over 1,000 pools. Reinhard says that it’s the size of his company that has allowed him to stock up on tabs but he worries that smaller pool cleaning businesses might struggle to stay supplied.
“I imagine it is frustrating for the smaller guys because they have to run around town looking for tabs and then they have to pay retail prices instead of wholesalers,” Reinhard said. “It’s scary for the smaller guy and for me it costs time and money to order so many tablets in advance.”
Reinhard says that shortage has caused EverClear to raise its rates which he says “is fun for no one but we’re not servicing pools for the fun of it.”
There is no clear time path for when things will get back to normal regarding the supply of chlorine. Hatfield-Farley says that the Louisiana plant is hoping to be back up and running in 2022.
In the meantime if homeowners want to avoid a huge monthly pool maintenance bill, Hatfield-Farley says that salt generators are worth looking into.
“I can’t tell you how many salt generators I have sold recently because it is its own little chlorine factory,” Hatfield-Farley said. “So if (pool owners) are looking for a way to not have to buy chlorine tablets, salt generators are the way to go.”
Salt generators were invented in Australia Hatfield-Farley says “so they are made to be in a rough climate like ours.”