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'We're Riding The Wave': Nationwide Chlorine Shortage Impacting Private, Public Pools

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As temperatures rise, trips to the pool become more frequent. It's a simple summer formula, but a critical nationwide chlorine shortage is making it harder to stay cool.

At the Algin Sutton Recreation Center in South Los Angeles, a sign at the entrance tells swimmers that the pool might be closed unexpectedly throughout the summer due to the shortage — something that has already happened a number of times since it opened June 24.

The shortage began last August when Hurricane Laura decimated a Louisiana chemical plant that makes most of the nation's chlorine tablets. That shortage of tablets hit private pool owners like Diane Nichols first, who was disappointed to learn that her favorite Santa Clarita pool supply shop was out of the tablets.

"The demand, everybody heard about it and, you know, went after it all," she said. "Except I was too late."

And a shortage of tablets means more people are buying liquid chlorine.

"The liquid is great when it's really low, but when it gets hot outside, it burns fast," Nichols said. "So it's really good if you can get the tablets and keep them in the floater. It helps the chlorine to not diminish so quickly."

The problem with private pool owners purchasing liquid chlorine is that it's the preferred choice of most public pools.

"I'm like everybody else," Wendy Rowe, manager of Mac's Pool & Spa Supply, said. "We're riding the wave."

She said that while the store does not have the chlorine tablets in stock, the employees try to provide customers with the best alternatives given the circumstances.

"We do have liquid and shock and powder quick dissolve that, there is other alternatives," Rowe said. "It's just everyone is used to doing tablets."

The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks said the shortage was affecting most of the pools across the city, but did not immediately return a request for comment about what steps were being taken to alleviate the impacts.

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