As concerns over the trichlor shortage have migrated out of the pool industry and to the public at large, some manufacturers are trying to temper the messaging.
Last year, a Bio-Lab chemical plant in Westlake, La. sustained significant damage from a fire that struck just before Hurricane Laura. This leaves only two manufacturers to produce most of the stabilized chlorine trichloroisocyanuric acid — Occidental Petroleum and Clearon Corp.
Pool/spa professionals have been working with the shortages resulting from the impaired chemical plant coupled with record demand. Then earlier in spring, word of the trichlor shortage reached the consumer media, with some projecting that all types of chlorine will run out of stock as service firms, operators and homeowners move from one form to another to replace trichlor.
In an attempt to quell the public and pool/spa professionals, Bio-Lab released information about its rebuilding plans.
The company is investing $170 million to rebuild the facility, which should be able to produce 30% more chemical than it had before, company officials said. This should help the company quickly fulfill pent-up demand, which it expects to remain high.
The rebuild is expected to be complete in spring of 2022. In the meantime, the company does continue to manufacture chlorine tablets though not at the previous rate.
Bio-Lab also issued a press release to the consumer press encouraging consumers to rely on pool/spa specialty retailers for advice. Its websites will include tips for maximizing performance of the chlorine they have.
“While the season is already well underway, we can still offer dealers, distributors and their staff ways to improve the customer experience and keep them recognized as the local experts at a time when consumers are actively looking for answers,” said Bio-Lab Education Manager Alicia Stephens. “We will keep finding creative ways to keep our network informed and ready to handle the ongoing challenges ...”
Meanwhile, at least one manufacturer of another type of chlorine worries that the publicity will begin hurting the entire product category. HASA, a Saugus, Calif.-based manufacturer of liquid chlorine, began a campaign to get word out that its product is available.
“Relax Swimmers! There Is an Abundant Supply of Liquid Pool Chlorine Available for the Summer Season Ahead” read a press release that the company has distributed in the hopes of clearing up some of the misunderstanding.
The company said stories about the trichlor shortage has fueled unfounded concerns about chlorine in general. It projected that its product will remain available throughout the pool season.
Another chemical supplier, Haviland Pool and Spa Products, has undertaken a consumer campaign of its own -- this one promoting ways to stretch the effectiveness of chemicals in the hopes pool owners won't need as much. The company promotes a three-step approach called "Balance, Clean, Remove," as a way to reduce the amount of chlorine a pool needs. It promotes the use of such products as borates, filter cleaners and clarifiers, enzymes and phosphate removers to keep the pool and water as clean and balanced as possible.