May 6, 2021 - News

The national chlorine shortage strikes Denver

A photo of young girls in a pool

Girls swim at Cook Park Pool in Denver. Photo: Lyn Alweis/The Denver Post via Getty Images

First it was toilet paper, now it's chlorine.

What's happening: There's a nationwide chlorine shortage — and just before summer, when homeowners start prepping their pools.

  • Why it matters: The shortage is not only expected to worsen in the coming months, but also to drive up the cost of the chemical used to keep pool water clean.

The backdrop: A few factors are fueling the problem, including a fire last summer at a major pool products plant in Louisiana that's halted all production until spring 2022.

What they're saying: "Everybody and their momma last year bought above-ground swimming pools, and now they're all buying chlorine," said Justin Vashaw, owner of Denver-based Swimming Services and Supply, which is limiting chlorine purchases to existing customers to prevent from selling out.

  • "It's certainly going to be an interesting summer," he said.

What else: Even people out of state — particularly in Texas — are calling Colorado for pool supplies, driving up demand further, said Amy Prieto, the manager at Crystal Clear Pools near Thornton.

  • Other pool products like filtration pumps and above-ground pool liners also are growing scarce, she said.

The upside: Experts say there are alternatives to some of the hard-to-find products, including chlorine.

  • Pool owners can turn to other water sanitizing supplies like saltwater chlorine generators, hydrogen peroxide and NST tablets — but consult a local pool expert first.

Of note: Denver officials tell Axios they aren't worried about the chlorine shortage because the city uses calcium hypochlorite to clean its public pools.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Denver stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more