A photograph of the 2020 Biolab fire, resulting in a nationwide chlorine shortage.

BioLab Fire

Hurricane Laura carried with it more problems than you can hope to bargain for in August of 2020. It not only brought the threat of high winds, fallen power lines and deadly waters, but also the potential for hazardous air conditions caused by chemical breaches in the nearby chemical plant. The loss of this plant will result in a nationwide chlorine shortage that will be felt through the 2021 season.

The Situation 

The Lake Charles region of Louisiana saw damage done to a BioLab plant due to the storm on August 27th. KIK Custom Products is a large BioLab chemical facility that produces chlorine and sanitation products for the pool industry. The damage led to a fire, engulfing the plant for three days. Housing approximately 835 tons of product, the fire prompted authorities to direct residents to stay indoors, close windows and turn off their heating and cooling systems to prevent the toxic fumes from causing harm.

The chemicals in question were trichloroisocyanuric acid (Trichlor) and disodium isocyanurate. When ignited, these chemicals release toxic gases that cause burning in the nose and throat, blistering skin and respiratory issues; not to mention the potential for a large explosion. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality took action before the fumes posed any danger. Thankfully, their swift response was able to keep the locals unharmed. 

The Effects on the Industry – Chlorine Shortage 

Being the industry leader in the production of these essential pool and sanitation products, BioLab is said to have lost a significant amount of its inventory due to this unfortunate incident. Pool owners need these products now more than ever, especially during a global health crisis. Looking forward to the warmer months ahead, it seems more families will continue to stay home and enjoy their swimming pools, thus requiring more chemical product and pool maintenance. 

A 25 lb. tub of BioGuard Basic chlorinating tablets,

How to Prepare 

The loss of such a great amount of Trichlor, along with increasing demand, means a steep price increase is likely. The extent of the chlorine shortage is still unknown, as the amount of product lost is yet to be determined. 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. Some pool owners are also considering converting to a saltwater pool system, which generates its own chlorine and reduces the need for added chemicals.

Many pool centers are stocking up on products to brace for the high demand coming their way. That includes us here at B&B Pool and Spa Center as well! We understand the impact high chemical prices can have on everyone’s budgets, especially during such a trying time globally. In order to ease that financial burden, we are offering a 20% discount on chemical orders of $500 or more, when placed along with your pool opening. When it’s time to open your pool, our skilled technicians will bring your order along with them, delivering it right to your backyard! Although we can’t yet predict the total effect the BioLab fire will have on prices, we hope we can help ease that pain point through this offering. We want you and your family to continue enjoying your pool all season long. 

If you don’t know what you may need for the season, our professionals would be more than willing to aid you in figuring that out. Our team is on standby for any questions or concerns you may have about the upcoming season.