Houston company Westlake has been a major provider of chlorine for water treatment plants on the West Coast. In the beginning of June, their Longview, WA plant sustained an outage due to electrical failure.
This is the third process malfunction for the company since mid-May of this year; two previous ones were reported by S&P Global News.
According to the City of Corvallis, for now the Corvallis water supply is not in danger. “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.” The City is in contact with state and federal officials about the current supply and other treatment options.
In the meantime, the city has been frugal with water usage in public spaces. Beside halting the periodic hydrant flushing, the city limits water usage for irrigation and recreation as well as extending chlorine supply in the water treatment plants. A Water Supply Emergency Curtail Plan has been developed in case the chlorine shortage persists.
Chlorine production affects everyday life of most people, not only by its presence in drinking water but in pharmaceuticals, medical plastics, electronics, and building materials including PVC. It is produced through a process known as “chlor-alkali.” In 2010, the US chlor-alkali industry produced 11.6 million short tons of chlorine and 12.2 million short tons of caustic soda — a coproduct of the process, also used in several industries. To learn more about the usages and production of chlorine visit: