Chlorine Shortage Casts a Cloud on Summer Pool Fun

May 25, 2021 at 08:00 am by Lee Rennick

Several factors have come together to create a chlorine shortage this summer. COVID-19 has been a big factor, as more pools have been built in the last year. Also, the burning down of a major chlorine manufacturer in Louisiana has added to the problem. Pool service companies are working hard to reduce the scarcity by imposing quantity restrictions, looking at different types of chlorine forms, and also looking for new resources.

What Does Chlorine Do for Pools

According to the website, “Chlorine chemistry helps fight germs to keep pool water sanitized, so swimmers are not exposed to harmful levels of microbes that cause illnesses.” The article goes on to say that without chlorine, a pool is a vast petri dish of germs and bacteria. Chlorine is the most common chemical used to treat swimming pool water to eliminate bacteria and algae. It also disinfects and oxidizes other materials such as dirt.

Those in the industry are asking pool owners to just buy what they need for the season, and refrain from stockpiling like what happened with disinfectant wipes and toilet paper at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices have already more than doubled over last year, and a rush on chlorine will only make matters worse.

Chlorine Alternatives

Rising cost of chlorine tablets has led to pool owners to look for alternatives. Although they tend to be more costly, there are a number of alternatives, many of them actually less irritating to skin and eyes than chlorine. These alternatives include bromine, ozonation, reduced water temperature, PHMB, VU light, ultrafiltration, use of mineral water, Pristine Blue, and copper ionization.  

According to, bromine is an alternative to chlorine, but it is less stable and requires more additives. Ozonation degrades organic contaminates allowing a pool owner to use less chlorine, as does reducing the water temperature, use of UV light, and mineral water pool systems.

Polyhexamethylenebiguanide (PHMB) is more stable than chlorine, is not affected by sunlight, does not require a stabilizer, it does not irritate the eyes or skin, and it does not corrode the walls and floor of the pool as chlorine does. But it is much more expensive and the pool must be drained and cleaned to switch over to its use.

Pristine Blue is a proprietary technology developed by Earth Science Laboratories, according to the site. “Its main ingredient comprises copper sulfate pentahydrate which constitutes up to 19.8% of its active ingredients. This technology uses the positively charged copper ions to destroy all the negatively charged bacteria and other germs in the pool. It is very effective; however, it is the most costly option to maintain a swimming pool.”

The website goes on to explain that copper ionization, a process developed by NASA, is the best available alternative to chlorine. “There are no residual chemicals which can cause irritation to eyes and skin. It is more cost effective and produces healthy pool water. The copper ionization system comes with an electronic control unit, test kits, and a copper electrode. The ionization process releases metallic ions that are introduced into the water by using a low voltage current. These positively-charged, copper ions are attracted to the negatively-charged bacteria and algae and penetrate their cell membranes. As the water is recirculated, more such ions are produced. Copper ions are not affected by sunlight and hence do not require a stabilizer. Unlike chlorine and salt systems, ionizers are pH neutral so pH maintenance is easier. These systems are easy to install and maintain and can be retrofitted to your existing chlorinated pool.”

5 Local Pool Companies Who Do Pool Maintenance

Murfreesboro and Middle Tennessee have many pool service companies to help pool owners build, repair, and maintain their pools, as well as creating a relaxing environment around the pool.

Hunt Pool and Swim not only provides pool construction, cleaning, and repair, but they carry pool furniture, grills, and many pool accessories, including bathing suits! They specialize in steel wall vinyl liner pools, either custom or a basic rectangle. Per pool season, their specialists will remove the cover, look over a pool and all systems to make sure nothing was damaged or broken over the winter. And the end of the season they will shut the pool down and recover it for the winter.

Majestic Swim builds and maintains pools and water features, as well as creating whole outdoor living spaces. One of their newest features is the Hayward OmniLogic pool control system. It is an automated heating, filtrations, and chemical balancing system that can be controlled from a smart phone or tablet. It can even control pool lighting themes.

Located on Old Nashville Highway, Waterscapes Solutions builds pools, waterscapes, and does pool opening, closing, and maintenance.

Founded in 1972, Mid-State Swimming Pools is the oldest pool building company in Murfreesboro. It was started as a division of Comer Construction Company. The company now focuses entirely on pool construction, maintenance, and they have a retail store with pool supplies. The company has been family owner for three generations.

Backyard Blues Pools was founded in 2010, and they have a combined 50 years of experience in pool construction and maintenance.  They have been voted Favorite Pool Shop and Service for eight consecutive years. Two Murfreesboro locations make it convenient to shop their retail stores, one on Old Fort Parkway and one on Thompson Lane.

Photo: Morguefiles (antonioatea)

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