A national chlorine shortage is causing big problems for public pools and aquatic centers throughout California. The recent spike in chlorine prices has seen costs double within the last year alone. This summer public pools have been facing the same shortages as the rest of the nation and as a result, many are looking at an abbreviated swim season.
Already many pool contractors throughout the Sacramento area have been forced to raise weekly chemical maintenance prices for customers. Some contractors who service public pools say the problem is become unmanageable and is causing public pools to shut down for the season.
“We used to pay $85 for a 50-pound bucket of chlorine tablets,” Jeffery Johnston of Quality Clear Pools in Sacramento, CA told Pool Magazine, “The prices have gone crazy this year. You’re looking at $175 now for the same thing, that's when distribution has any in stock. It’s been really getting out of hand and I don't know how much longer it will stay like this.”
Cash-strapped cities around the country are closing their pools early or shutting down parts of them for the swim season. Many facilities have stated rising chlorine costs have depleted their operations budgets for the year and as a result, they are closing early for the summer.
Already numerous public pools throughout Los Angeles County and San Diego County have closed for the summer due to rising chemical maintenance costs. These closures come after most of the states public pools were closed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of public pools throughout the state of California is at an all time low and many experts fear that further closures could cost lives.
Public pools around the country have traditionally served urban youth and minorities who otherwise might not normally have access to a swimming pool. The majority of these aquatic centers offer swim lessons throughout the summer which has a huge impact in mitigating the number of drowning fatalities for children under the age of 15. According to the CDC drowning is the #1 cause of death for children in that age group. Experts fear that not having access to public pools may have an unseen ripple effect that exacts its toll in the form of human lives.
“This chlorine issue is just exacerbating what is already an existing disparity,” Jeff Wiltse, author of “Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, told the LA Times. “There’s been a significant growth in private swimming pools [in recent decades], whereas public swimming pools have been generally stagnant, and in many cities there’s been a significant decline.”
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