Pacific Northwest officials say they don’t expect an ongoing chlorine shortage to affect water quality, although some residents have been asked to limit water use.
The supply disruption was caused by an electrical failure earlier this month at Westlake Chemical in Longview. The manufacturing facility provides chlorine to water and sewage utilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Northern California. Westlake expects the facility will be offline until the end of June, according to Oregon officials.
The Washington state Department of Health (DOH) and Oregon emergency officials said Thursday they are taking stock of needs across the states but do not expect 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.
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. Meanwhile, Oregon officials have requested that residents limit outdoor use to extend supply. And residents in Anacortes, along with those in parts of Oregon, have been asked to limit water use.
Anacortes city officials told the Anacortes American Friday that the city had a 10-day supply of chlorine instead of its usual month supply, but they expected a shipment from an Ohio supplier this week.
Some utilities in the Pacific Northwest produce their own chlorine. Washington’s largest water utilities should have enough supply to weather the shortage, officials said. 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.
Washington officials plan to share updates in a news conference this week.