Local municipalities are safe, for now, from the ongoing chlorine shortage in the Pacific Northwest.
The city of Walla Walla water treatment plant has enough chlorine for drinking water disinfection to get through August, spokesperson Brenden Koch said.
However, the Parks & Recreation department was notified by its chlorine supplier last week that due to the mechanical failure at Westlake Chemical in Longview, Wash., earlier this month, they were not going to be able to provide chlorine for Memorial Pool until further notice.
On June 14, there was about a week’s worth of chlorine remaining at the pool, Koch said.
Department staff worked for four days to identify new sources of chlorine, including a significant amount from the Midwest, in order to avoid having to close the pool.
Those efforts meant the city was able to secure enough of the chemical to allow Walla Walla’s public pool to operate through the end of July, he said.
The Longview chlorine plant is expected to be operational by the end of June, meaning the supply chain should again be stable by the time the current product stock is used up, Koch added.
Fields reported that Washington state Department of Health and Oregon emergency officials said on June 17 they are assessing needs but are not expecting an immediate impact to drinking water, which remains clean and safe to drink.
Officials in both states said they should have enough supply to last a few weeks.
In College Place, public works director Paul Hartwig said there is no public pool and only one city well uses liquid chlorine. He’s heard the product may be limited for a time to ensure every city that needs it can get some.
The other College Place wells use a chlorine table system and that supply has not been affected, Hartwig said.
Dayton and Waitsburg public works officials said this week the drinking water systems in those towns are fine.
Washington’s DOH is not asking customers to limit water use in response to the shortage but said they should check their local water utility’s website, Fields reported.
Oregon officials asked residents to limit outdoor use to extend supply.
In Milton-Freewater, however, City Manager Linda Hall said she believes there are sufficient supplies to ensure full services to the public for at least the next three or four weeks. That includes the operation of the Joe Humbert Family Aquatic Center.
“Thankfully the renovations to the pool have decreased the amount of chlorine that we need substantially, so that is helping,” Hall said in an email.
“Also, due to our municipality’s water source of deep basaltic well water, the water quality is extremely high and needs little to no chlorine to bring it to the high standard of water quality that we demand for our citizens.”
Athena does not chlorinate its drinking water, city recorder Michelle Fox said.
“And we knew about the shortage so we ordered plenty of chlorine to keep the pool supplied for the summer,” Fox said.
Fields wrote that some utilities in the Pacific Northwest produce their own chlorine. While Washington’s largest water utilities should have enough supply to weather the shortage, utilities in Oregon impacted by the shortage will receive extra supply from elsewhere.
The chlorine supply chain has been disrupted in the past year because of the pandemic. A Louisiana facility that produced a large portion of chlorine tablets in the U.S. market was also destroyed in a fire in August, according to Oregon officials, according to the Seattle Times.
Washington officials plan to share updates in a news conference this week.
Originally Appeared Here