For some people, the official start of summer is the day they pull the cover off their pool. Backyard pools have been a source of safe outdoor recreation since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. But as the weather warms up in parts of the country, pool owners could be in for a rude awakening. As CNBC reports, the U.S. is currently experiencing a chlorine shortage that some are calling "Poolmageddon."

Two main factors are responsible for the lack of chlorine available to purchase this year. BioLab, one of the country's largest manufacturers of chlorine tablets, burnt down in August after Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana, where the plant is located. The factory is still recovering months later, and they don't expect to be operational until theĀ spring of 2022.

Another stressor on the market is pandemic-related changes in consumer behavior. As people began spending more time at home and investing in their property, private pool usage soared. Even as people return to their pre-COVID lifestyles, the pool supply industry will still be dealing with the increased demand. Pool builders, too, are dealing with the increased demand; in many places around the U.S., there's a two-year waiting list to install a new pool.

Chlorine prevents the growth of many organisms, like algae, salmonella, and E. coli. Pool owners can't afford to skip sanitizing their pool altogether, but they can consider chlorine alternatives if tablets are hard to find. Mineral packs, ozone generators, and UV systems can all keep pools clean without the use of chlorine. Transitioning to a saltwater pool system, which uses an electrolytic chlorine generator, may also be worth the investment if you plan on spending a lot of time swimming in your backyard this summer.

[h/t CNBC]