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Residents asked to conserve outdoor water use during temporary chlorine shortage

Residents asked to conserve outdoor water use during temporary chlorine shortage

An equipment failure at a chlorine plant in Longview, Washington, is causing chlorine shortages around the Pacific Northwest and California. It could take until early July to get supplies moving normally again. Communities should not have to worry about water supplies, but residents are being asked to conserve water for outside uses for the next couple of weeks.

Westlake, a chlorine manufacturing facility in Longview, supplies chlorine for much of the West Coast, in municipal water supplies, pools and other uses.

Currently, tap water regionally remains clean and safe to drink. Oregon is tracking the supply of chlorine and identifying backup options, and there is no immediate change anticipated. The public can continue to use water for drinking, cooking and bathing, but should limit outdoor water use, such as watering lawns, washing cars or filling pools, to extend the chlorine supply in the state.

Westlake’s Longview plant went down in early June due to a blown transformer that caused a power outage. The company anticipates the plant being offline until the end of June. Westlake expects to begin production of chlorine after the plant comes fully back online.

The state is coordinating current chlorine inventory and working with local entities to share the supply until Westlake’s chlorine production resumes. No acute needs have been identified so far, and Oregon Health Authority Drinking Water Services is working with systems that have a 7-14-day supply to assist and advise on conservation measures.

This shortage does not impact all Oregon water and sewer utilities. Some communities in Oregon produce chlorine locally and will not be directly impacted by the shortage. Communities with lower stock of chlorine will receive supply from other areas in the state with a surplus.