Update on chlorine supply impacts resulting from a recent electrical failure at Westlake Chemical in Longview, Washington. The electrical failure caused a complete facility shut down two weeks ago. This Westlake facility produces much of the chlorine product supply for the Pacific Northwest.
The Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies (ACWA) has been working diligently in a coordinated effort with the state Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the League of Oregon Cities (LOC), the Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO), the Oregon Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (ORWARN), the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and local water and wastewater providers to maintain an accurate picture of the situation and to assist water and wastewater utilities in addressing a variety of chlorine supply challenges. ACWA is participating in daily meetings of the Emergency Command Center and a water/wastewater utility coordinating group.
This morning, OEM staff reported that Westlake successfully installed a replacement electrical transformer and completed its testing earlier this week. This enabled the restart of the facility on Wednesday, June 23rd, earlier than initially estimated. The Longview plant was able to secure a spare transformer from its customer, NORPAC, and the plant has been safely restarted. Although this is promising news, it will take time to resolve the chlorine shortage situation across the region. Because of the duration of the shut-down, there will be a lag time in restoring normal supplies to the region. State and federal agencies worked with a supplier in Canada and have secured some additional chlorine, which has been received at the Westlake site for distribution as a stop-gap measure.
While some water and wastewater utilities have been receiving shipments of chlorine products, others have not, and some are experiencing difficulties in getting information from suppliers about when deliveries will be made. ACWA is continuing to coordinate with state and local partners to support wastewater systems to secure access to necessary chlorine supply or have other tools/resources needed to maintain environmental quality and permit compliance.
Last week ACWA, in collaboration with LOC and SDAO, distributed a survey of chlorine inventories and delivery schedules to all of the ACWA main contacts. We received completed surveys from nearly 120 wastewater treatment agencies across the state. The survey responses have been tremendously helpful to ACWA and DEQ in maintaining situational awareness, and in identifying critical needs and facilities that have material that can be shared. Thank you to all of you who responded.
The Lincoln City Public Works Department continues to monitor the situation closely and still has no issues at this point with the chlorine supply disruption and the water is safe to drink. We will monitor the situation closely and take proactive actions if necessary.
We aren’t asking people to curtail water use beyond good conservation practices at this time with a looming drought.
The Lincoln City Public Works Department has been proactively working this issue over the last 24 hours and we have coordinated with Lincoln City Parks and Recreation Department. Here is the current status for Lincoln City;
- Our water treatment method uses chlorine in the form of chlorine gas in very small amounts to ensure our water is safe to drink. We have approximately 80 days of chlorine supply remaining.
- Some wastewater treatment plants also use chlorine gas but ours does not – we use ultra-violet light to disinfect.
- Our pools were converted to an ultra-violet and Calcium Hypochlorite tablet system in 2017; we have enough supply of the tablets to get us through the summer.
Currently the City has no issues at this point with the chlorine supply disruption and the water is safe to drink. We will monitor the situation closely and take proactive actions if necessary.
We aren’t asking people to curtail water use beyond good conservation practices at this time.