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Major chlorine shortage sends valley prices soaring

Chlorine prices in the valley are surging 200 to 500 percent, according to a local pool maintenance expert, due to a major chlorine shortage nationwide.

"When you start looking for pool chlorine tablets, you're going to start finding that prices are at least triple or quadruple what they were last year at this time," said Stephen Little, CEO of Claropool in Palm Desert.

Some pool service people are stocking up on liquid chlorine, because the convenient and cost-effective chlorine tablets have skyrocketing prices.

Little said with the highest number of pools per capita in the United States here in the valley, the shortage could make a big splash – and he anticipates prices ballooning even further.

"We're expecting the price of tablets to double again before July 1," he said.

Some pool service companies are trying not to pass those prices along to their customers, instead taking the hit themselves. But they're not sure how long they can sustain that.

The surge in prices is caused in part by a fire at a major chemical plant in Louisiana last August that knocked production offline.

But the spike in demand is also caused in part by the pandemic – more people staying at home, creating historic demand.

"We've really turned our backyards nationally into our place of vacation, our place of respite – our place to get away from the office, which is now the kitchen table," Little said.

There are also environmental factors playing a role too, he said, like increasing temperatures. "If we follow the science, global warming is a fact," Little said. "And if its getting warm earlier, we're getting into pools earlier. Now that is an overarching consideration for swimming pool chlorine demand."

If your chlorine tablet stockpile is running low, little said there are alternatives – though they might be more expensive than usual too."Liquid chlorine bleach at your local pool supplier is still relatively inexpensive for what you're getting and available all over the country," he said.

And just like with other pandemic shortages, Little said it's only right not to hoard resources from others. "Think of your fellow man think of your neighbors think of your friends and if we work together this too shall pass."

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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