by Brian Lamar, Assignment Editor

Last year, while fears of COVID ran rampant through communities across the country, many families sought refuge indoors.

Board games, movie nights, and pool parties became the norm again. Due to a massive increase in pool construction and above-ground pool sales across the country, the need for chlorine and other products began to skyrocket.

With the increased demand for pool chemicals, the industry was hit with the second part of a double whammy that tipped the supply and demand scales for chlorine.

In August 2020, Hurricane Laura devastated the Louisiana coast. During the storm, a chemical fire at a BioLab facility in Lake Charles knocked out one of the country’s three main chlorine manufacturers.

Supplies began to dwindle. Now, in 2021, the market still has not recovered and pools everywhere are turning green with algae during record rainfalls.

“My backyard has turned into a swamp… a nasty mosquito nest. Walmart and all the others have been out of chlorine and shock treatment for weeks now,” said Leah Hornbill, a North Long Beach resident.

Consumers are not the only people affected. Small businesses are feeling the pinch financially. Josh Mitchell with Apex Pool Service in Long Beach has had to adjust his normal operations.

“This shortage has caused me to learn to plan further ahead. For now, I am good. I stocked up on supplies to continue to service my customers,” explained Mitchell.

As the shortage continues to grip pool owners everywhere with no discernible end in sight, Josh plans to continue to honor the contracts he has with his current clients, but increased prices on supplies will have to be passed onto future clients, he said.