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Chlorine shortage comes to an end in Portland as production ramps up

The shortage began mid-June when a power outage stopped production at a large chemical facility in Washington. The facility was the main producer of chlorine for Oregon. Some parts of Oregon had just a few weeks supply of chlorine when the shortage first started.
The shortage began mid-June when a power outage stopped production at a large chemical facility in Washington. The facility was the main producer of chlorine for Oregon. Some parts of Oregon had just a few weeks supply of chlorine when the shortage first started.

After a shortage threatened reliable shipments of chlorine to the West Coast and other parts of the country, the Portland Water Bureau has resumed normal operations.

The shortage began mid-June when a power outage stopped production at a large chemical facility in Washington. The facility was the main producer of chlorine for Oregon. Some parts of Oregon had just a few weeks supply of chlorine when the shortage first started.

Westlake, the chlorine production facility in Longview, successfully repaired its transformer on June 23 and has begun deliveries to customers, including the Portland Water Bureau.

“This chlorine shortage demonstrated how smart investments, strong partnerships and emergency planning came through,” Portland Water Bureau Director Gabriel Solmer said. “A million people depend on us to provide safe and reliable drinking water. We take this responsibility seriously and we deliver, every minute of every day.”

Throughout the regional chlorine shortage, the Portland Water Bureau said it provided uninterrupted water to Portlanders and partner water providers. Portland had enough chlorine on hand and made operational adjustments to prevent service interruptions.

Water officials said they proactively lowered chlorine concentration to preserve supplies, while still continuing to meet treatment requirements. They have since increased the chlorine concentration to a level that is typical for summer.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting