June 28, 2021: The primary manufacturer of chlorine in our region, Westlake Chemical, energized and tested a replacement transformer late Tuesday, June 22, well ahead of schedule. As of about midnight Wednesday, they resumed chlorine production at full rate and the regional chemical supply situation is reportedly improving.
Until deliveries of hypochlorite fully return to normal, Tacoma Water will continue its efforts to maintain at least a 35-day supply of hypochlorite at the Green River Filtration Facility. With the current heatwave, we expect strong water demand and will maintain groundwater operations into at least next week to meet the demand and conserve hypochlorite supplies at the facility.
June 18, 2021: Earlier this week, Tacoma Public Utilities and our partners including Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), the City of Everett and the Department of Health (DOH), were made aware of a situation temporarily impacting the supply of chlorine gas, sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid, and caustic soda to drinking water and wastewater utilities throughout Washington. Chlorine gas and sodium hypochlorite are used in drinking water treatment processes to disinfect water, helping ensure its continued safety.
This chlorine supply situation is the result of the loss of a primary electrical transformer, which temporarily halted production at the chemical manufacturing plant in Longview. The supplier’s estimated date for resuming production is June 28.
At this time, Tacoma Water has enough chlorine supply on-site to last more than 30 days. We have reduced the amount of chlorine used for treatment while still maintaining required safety levels to conserve our chlorine supply.
In addition, we are supplementing our water supply from the Green River with our groundwater wells from the underground aquifer in Tacoma that does not rely on chlorine from this supplier to maintain drinking water quality.
We have ample, clean drinking water that is safe to drink, and our treatment facilities are functioning properly.
While we currently have plenty of water and chlorine, and are not asking for any reduction now, if customers want to know what they can do, any less usage of water would help extend our chlorine supply.
We will continue to monitor and manage this situation closely, explore operational alternatives and provide regular updates.