The chlorine supply shortage has hit headlines and it’s easy to see why given the stories of reduced pool timetables and, in some cases, site closures. With effective disinfection* critical to the survival of aquatics facilities, does this supply chain challenge show we are too reliant on chlorine? Here, Duncan Ockendon, Aquatics Sales Manager at Evoqua Water Technologies, discusses today’s chlorine shortage, what it means for pool operators and how innovative technology is the answer to building site resilience.
It’s no surprise that the chlorine shortage is grabbing attention. As well as impacting the profits of aquatics operators who are having to limit or pause their timetables, the public are missing out on accessing pools just as summer arrives. The issue has been building for some time and it’s down to a range of factors. A perfect storm of Brexit, production issues in China, Covid and the war in Ukraine. We believe this to be a temporary reduction in supply but there are no guarantees with so many variables at play.
What this shortage has done for many aquatics operators is shine a spotlight on their reliance on the delivery of chemicals for disinfection, as well as the cost of purchasing chemicals. The supply challenges have pushed the price of chlorine up by 50% - 60%, at a time when the industry is already facing the cost pressures of energy market volatility.
So, how can operators increase their resilience and reduce the cost of purchasing chemicals? Well, the answer lies in onsite chemical generation technology that removes the need to purchase bulk chemicals for disinfection. When talking about onsite chemical generation we are referring to electrochlorination and the Evoqua OSEC® system. This is a compact system for producing sodium hypochlorite onsite, on demand through the electrolysis of a brine solution.
It’s a safe, reliable, efficient and user-friendly alternative to the bulk purchasing and storing of chemicals onsite. Importantly, given the current climate, it’s a proactive solution that eliminates dependence on commercial chemical suppliers and the risk of lack of supply at any point.
Onsite chemical generation also helps reduce operating costs as electrochlorination works with just salt, water, and electricity. Hypochlorite is therefore generated onsite at a significantly lower cost than purchased hypochlorite and the OSEC® system can be programmed to make use of off-peak power to reduce costs further.
It’s worth being aware that even when chlorine is readily available, chemicals degrade in storage and becoming less or completely ineffective, which can be costly for treatment plant operators. Degradation reactions occur spontaneously and convert hypochlorite ions into oxygen and chloride. After just 30 days, the concentration of hypochlorite is expected to reduce over 15% and, with no way to accurately measure the hypochlorite in the tank, this makes operators’ jobs to dose accurately more challenging.
The OSEC system has been designed to overcome all of these challenges but also to make the day-to-day job of operators easier. It has been designed with operators in mind and has over 30 years of installation history behind it. It’s therefore easy to operate and maintain. Key to this, is that unlike other technologies on the market, it doesn’t require acid washing, which makes it safer and simpler to operate.
Resiliency really is power. With the right technology solution, you don’t just have to ride the wave of chemical supply shortages and the detrimental impact this is having on your business. You can take a proactive approach and protect your aquatics facility for the future. Not only this but you can gain significant safety, efficiency, reliability and cost benefits. With onsite chemical generation there’s no looking back.
With the Commonwealth Games this summer, there’s every chance the popularity of swimming will rise further in the months. We’ve seen it before as the nation gets inspired to take to the water. So don’t miss out. With onsite chemical generation there’s no looking back.
* Evoqua OSEC® systems are designed to produce 0.65-1% sodium hypochlorite under normal operating conditions. With less than one minute of contact time, the OSEC®-produced concentration range (6,500-10,000ppm) is significantly higher than the concentration requirements to meet industry standards for microorganism inactivation and disinfection. Specific disinfection rates depends on dose, concentration and time (CT value), pH, and water temperature. Performance limitations depend on feed conditions, overall installed system design, and operation and maintenance processes; please refer to Operations Manuals. For more information: Contactus@evoqua.com