A shortage of the cleaning chemical, sodium hypochlorite, has led to pool closures across the UK, and could soon threaten pools throughout Lancashire.
A swimming pool in York was forced to close last week when a delivery was cancelled, and there have also been closures in Scotland, Suffolk and Tamworth.
The ongoing crisis is due to a ‘perfect storm’ of supply chain issues, caused by Brexit, Covid, and the Ukraine war.
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Chinese suppliers have struggled to meet a backlog of demand after Covid, and a large fire in a chemical plant at the end of 2020 has disrupted production in the US.
The price of chlorine has also soared by 50-60%, and demand over the school holidays is likely to ramp costs up even higher.
Now leisure centres throughout Lancashire are taking special measures to ensure their pools can stay open during the summer holidays.
Pools are trying everything they can in a bid to keep down chlorine costs so they can ensure they stay open ahead of the busy summer season.
You can help by showering before entering the pool, as keeping the water clean will reduce the need for chlorine.
You should also avoid wearing deodorant, perfume or lotion in the pool.
A spokesperson for South Ribble leisure centres said their usual supplier has struggled to get hold of the pool cleaning chemical, which has also risen by around 50 - 60% in price. They have had to expand their range of suppliers to ensure their pools, in Penwortham, Leyland and Bamber Bridge, can stay open.
Blackpool leisure centre bosses have hinted that council-run pools - Palatine, Moor Park and Sandcastle Waterpark, may be affected over summer.
John Blackledge, Director of Community and Environmental Services at Blackpool Council, said: “At the moment all of our pools have chlorine in stock and they are operating as normal.
“However, we do not expect our scheduled orders to arrive on time or in the quantity we’ve requested. As a result we have been actively seeking different suppliers to bridge the gap until our deliveries return to normal.”
Chorley pools, All Seasons Leisure Centre and Brinscall Swimming Pool, use a chlorine generator, called a hyprolyser, at both sites. They produce their own chlorine using a granular salt, so these pools are unlikely to be affected.
Wigan Council has a good supply of chlorine to keep their pools open as normal. They manage five pools - Wigan Life Centre, Hindley pool, and leisure centres in Leigh, Howe and Ashton.
James Winterbottom, Wigan Council’s Director of Digital, Leisure and Wellbeing Services, said: “We carefully monitor our supply of pool chemicals and order well in advance to ensure our facilities can remain open for our residents.”
Swimming pools in the UK have also been hit by the significant rise in cost for electricity and heating.
The recent UK heatwave has only made matters worse, with members of the public flocking to swimming pools to cool off.
A survey conducted by UK Active has suggested that up to 79% of public swimming pools may have to shut down in the next six months, if they are unable to get financial help.