The life of the pool party may be in short supply this year.
A chlorine shortage is hitting the swimming pool industry as prices skyrocket from the demand as summer kicks off next month.
"We do a lot of trichlor tablets and they’re just impossible to get," Michael Ragland, owner of Pristine Pools, a family-owned business in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan told FOX Business, referring to "Trichloro-S-Triazinetrione," a type of chemical commonly used in swimming pools to disinfect.
The nationwide shortage is primarily due to a fire that occurred at Westlake, Louisiana-based chlorine manufacturer Bio-Lab in August last year after Hurricane Laura. The fire destroyed the facility, devastating production, a report by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board shows.
Ragland said before the shortage, he was paying a wholesale price of between $48 and $55 for around 25-pounds of trichlor tablets when he stocked up in December 2020. Now, he says, it’s $100 for the same amount and he's looked into alternatives for the chemical, used to kill bacteria and germs.
"Our distributor said what they have is what they have and when it’s gone it’s gone," Ragland said.
Goldman Sachs analyst Kate McShane urged in new research last week that chlorine prices increased 37% year over year in March, Yahoo Finance reported. And pool owners could see a spike of around 58% between June and August compared to 2020, data cited in the Goldman Sachs reported shows.
"Of the 26 pool shops we spoke to, 15 expressed uncertainty or doubt when asked about whether they will have enough chlorine for pool season," McShane said.
The industry faced a similar shortage last year of pool products during the coronavirus pandemic when more homeowners invested in pools. As a result, a surge in in-ground and above-ground pools saw unprecedented demand, FOX Business previously reported. This year, some pool businesses are still having difficulty securing products.
Paul Melvin, owner of Florida Pool Company in Palm Beach, said it's been a challenge to get travertine, a form of limestone used for pool decks, among other equipment.
"The price went through the roof," Melvin said earlier this month, adding that the average price for a 1,000-square-foot pool deck that normally costs $8,000 is now closer to $12,000 due to the price hike on materials.
"We’re having issues with getting enough pumps, filters and lights. I’m taking on fewer projects just so that it’s a little bit more manageable," he said.