NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Summer is just around the corner, and whether it’s in a public pool or backyard pool, many take to water to beat the heat.
However, a national chlorine shortage, employment problems and COVID-19 are all issues public and private pool owners alike are having to face this year.
For those who like swimming as a way to cool down from the and unwind from the summer sun; pool store owner Jon Etcheson said the chlorine shortage might put some waves in summer fun.
“Oh yeah, it’s for real,” Etcheson said. “The fire that went through Louisiana wiped out about 40% of the chlorine manufacturing for the three inch tablets.”
Etcheson, the owner of Etcheson Spa & Pool in Normal said he’s had to limit the amount of chlorine people purchase from the store and is reminding people to keep their pools cleaner than usual by cutting down on the debris left inside.
“The more the chlorine demand is reduced, the less chlorine is going to be used, so therefore maybe we can get through this thing without people panicking and not having any chlorine at all,” Etcheson said.
Etcheson said for now, his shop’s orders are getting placed and delivered, but it all depends on the demand for the substance. A fire at a chlorine plant in Louisiana halted production until the fall and has driven up the prices.
“This shortage is going be felt all away across the country,” Etcheson said. “My understanding is a lot of the big-box stores won’t even have chlorine this year because they’ve been kind of pulled back away.”
Etcheson said the reopening of public pools will also drive up demand as most use the substance to keep their pools cleanly. He said the store still has ways to keep pools clean, but people may have to change their use of substance.
“We’re going have chlorine for people, they may just have to change the way that they’re doing their chlorine,” Etcheson said. “We’ve also got some systems that will reduce the chlorine consumption; things like ozone, UV lights, which will help control the demand or amount chlorine anybody really needs.”
However, Normal Parks and Recreation Director Doug Damery said fortunately, they’re stocked up on the chemical for the season.
“Our vendor has told us they’re in good shape and that they’ll be able to provide us their chlorine for the summer, so we’re feeling pretty good about it,” Damery said.
Wednesday Normal Parks and Rec crews were out at Fairview Aquatic Center prepping the pool for reopening for the first time in a year. Damery said while they’re not concerned about chlorine, they are facing other concerns.
“Some of the concerns are what are the pipes like, what are the filters going to be like, how are the pumps going to work, so we’re a little concerned about that,” Damery said. “We’re firing things up right now and getting prepared for the season.”
Damery said it was “disappointing” not to be open last year, but is ready to welcome guests back to both Fairview Aquatic Center and Anderson Aquatic Center.
“We’re still struggling to make some decisions. We’re waiting for things to improve with obviously the pandemic and maybe moving on into that bridge phase in the near future,” Damery said. “We’re preparing to be as adaptable and flexible as we can, so if conditions loosen, we’re ready to open up our guidelines.”
Right now the Parks and Rec Department is limiting the amount of guests at Fairview Pool to 300 and Anderson Pool to 150. Damery said more information about reserving times will be made available in the near future.