By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business
(CNN) -- Summer is around the corner, but anyone who is looking forward to a refreshing dip in the pool to cool off may be in for a big "shock." A chlorine shortage may make it more difficult for pool owners to buy the sanitizing tabs.
Chlorine supplies are running low due to a fire at a chemical plant in Louisiana last August that was damaged by Hurricane Laura. As a result, prices for tabs have skyrocketed.
"A steep price increase is likely. The extent of the chlorine shortage is still unknown," said B&B Pool and Spa Center, a Chestnut Ridge, NY-based retailer, on its web site. "While it is still early yet for the swimming season, it is advisable to prepare now for your pool opening. That includes stocking up on chemicals needed to get you through the majority, if not the entire swimming season."
A quick look at Amazon shows that a 50-pound bucket of 3-inch chlorine tablets from the In the Swim brand now costs as much as $169.99, about double the normal cost. What's more, supplies are limited.
What's clear is that pool owners should consider stocking up sooner rather than later.
"With regard to retail pricing, it is a fact that we are seeing increases across the industry," said Michael Egeck, CEO of Leslie's, a pool supplies company, during an earnings conference call with analysts in February when asked about the chlorine shortage.
And it may not get better anytime soon.
"Pool chlorine is not easy to get and there's a chlorine shortage nationally that we're all going to have to deal with," said John Swygert, CEO of retailer Ollie's Bargain Outlet, in a call with analysts in March.
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