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Shortages Delaying Pool Construction

A series of shortages are causing pool construction delays across the nation



A series of shortages are causing pool construction delays across the nation

Shortages continue to plague the pool industry and have now begun to cause tremendous delays for pool builders. Experts say a serious plastics shortage is trickling down and impacting builders across the pool industry. Diminished supplies and rising costs for raw materials are causing prices to skyrocket with distributors. Supply chains have been dramatically affected by a recent surge in demand for pool products as well as the COVID-19 shutdowns. As manufacturing plants begin to come back online, many in the industry are beginning to wonder if it’s too little too late to save this year’s pool season. Supply delays are already causing serious problems for pool builders across the nation and the situation looks to only be getting worse as the season goes on.

Shortages Cause Distributors to Raise Prices

Across the board – prices for chemicals, components, and machinery have gone up with major distributors. PoolCorp announced price increases earlier this year that are set to start on May 3, 2021. Many pool companies however, have reported wide spread price increases from other distributors in the months prior to the announcement taking effect. Stock on many essential components are in short supply due to Covid causing a series of wide spread factory slowdowns. This following an unprecedented demand for pool and spa goods in 2020.

Hurricane Laura sparked a fire at one of the main chlorine production plants, shutting down more than 40% of the chlorine tablet production in the United States. We have seen significant price increases on chemicals, especially chlorine. The price for chlorine tablets is predicted to increase up to 50% by mid July according to analysts.

A plastics shortage is creating supply chain gaps in the pool industry for essential parts like PVC Pipes. Experts are reporting that the recent Texas freeze took a large percentage of valves off the market as well.
A plastics shortage is creating supply chain gaps in the pool industry for essential parts like PVC pipes. Experts are reporting that the recent Texas freeze took a large percentage of valves off the market as well.

Plastics Shortage Impacting The Pool Industry

ISM is reporting a plastics shortage that is already predicted to severely impact the pool industry. Raw material shortages for resin have dramatically impacted supply chains. Dwindling supplies were already tight say leading experts. The recent deep freeze caused by winter storm Uri, took many supplies off the market as pool owners in Texas experienced millions of dollars in unexpected pool equipment repairs.

The Petrochemical industry which is largely based in Texas, was nearly brought to it’s knees during the winter. Uri had disastrous implications on supplies which are impacting the inventory that pool companies have depended on being available for this seasons installation projects.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited S& P Global Platts, the freeze in Texas, one of the largest exporters of plastics and other petrochemical products, halted production of 75% of polyethylene, 62% of polypropylene, and 57% of PVC. Texas manufactures about 85 percent of the polyethylene used in the United States, making it the most commonly used plastic in the world. The manufacturing delays have triggered a global plastics shortage.

Maintaining Pricing Structures is Impossible

Maintaining existing pricing structures has already become untenable for pool service companies due to the rising costs of chemicals like trichlor and dichlor. Many pool service companies have begun to send out announcements to customers to expect price increases on weekly pool service this season. “We have absolutely no choice” said Mike Pompura of Pool Masters in Corona, CA. “Distributors have raised their prices considerably this season and unfortunately we are going to have start passing these price increases on to our customers.”

Pompura who has run his pool service company for the past two decades, says he has never seen conditions like this before. “I’ve been in business since 2001 and this is the worst I have seen it. We are having problems getting valves. PVC has also gone way up this year” said Pompura.

The problems Pompura is experiencing seem to echo the sentiments of many pool companies sounding off in pool industry groups on social media. The stress on plastic supplies and a surge on demand for resins are causing bottlenecks in the supply chain across the nation. Experts cite a number of causes for ongoing delays including port closures, over the road capacity shortages, and an increased demand on plastics for food packaging and PPE.

Many in the industry think the Covid-19 relief bill has inadvertently caused a serious labor shortage.

Emile Stinchcombe of Aqua Guard Pools in Detroit says the problem is bigger than just a shortage of materials. The Covid-19 relief bill has provided extra stimulus to the point where the industry finds itself suddenly short of skilled labor during the busiest months of the pool season. “We have a serious shortage of labor this year. Suddenly everyone wants to stay home and collect unemployment instead of work for a living. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years in the pool industry.” said Stinchcombe.

Winter storm Uri hit petrochemcial plants in Texas and Louisiana hard. Many industry experts fear that supply chains have not yet recovered to make a meaningful impact in time for this years pool season. This could very well be why major distributors are hedging their bets by stating that further price increases may be just around the corner.

Shortages Causing Prices to Soar

One thing is certain, with raw materials increasing in price – consumers can be certain to feel the trickle down effect in their wallet this pool season. The price of an inground swimming pool is predicted to increase 15-25% in most markets throughout the United States this year in comparison to last year. This is on par with the rising costs of raw materials like lumber contributing to an expected additional $36,000 to the price of average new home construction this year.

In addition, timelines for completing inground pool projects have also been dramatically impacted. There is an enormous backlog of homeowners waiting just to get on the list for pool construction. Consumers can expect extended timelines for construction to go up from the typical timeframe of 6-8 weeks to now 3 months or more in many areas of the country.

Shortages are causing delays with construction as materials become scarce and what supplies are left now go for a premium.
Shortages are causing delays with construction as materials become scarce and what supplies are left now go for a premium.

The news does not bode well for homeowners like Penny Lopez in Las Vegas who contracted with her pool builder back in January and is still waiting for her pool to be finished. “We were told that we would be swimming by May but I’m still looking at a giant hole in my backyard,” said Lopez, whose story seems to resemble that of other homeowners throughout the Las Vegas region.

The Trickle Down Effects

The pool and spa industry is just one of many industries affected by this crisis. John Schiegg, VP of Supply Chain Services for Houston-based home builders David Weekley Homes, said he’s seeing shortages and price increases on everything from siding to adhesives to insulation. After winter storm Uri, several PVC manufacturers reported to Schiegg they would be unable to meet their contractual obligations. Schiegg said he was surprised to hear distributors in other neighboring states were impacted as well.

New York based Confer Plastics, manufacturers of pool ladders, steps, and spa accessories; said they would be unable to deliver products planned or scheduled. They’ve already been forced to layoff 40 employees. Vice President Bob Confer said he’s never seen a situation like this in his 47 years in the industry. Confer Plastics is far from the epicenter of the Texas freeze but is still experiencing the long range ripple effects as are many other manufacturers throughout the pool industry.

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Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email [email protected] or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to [email protected]

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Floating Swimming Pool Proposed For San Francisco Bay Area



Floating Swimming Pool Proposed For San Francisco Bay Area

A floating swimming pool has been proposed for the city of San Francisco and set to be the city’s first public pool of its kind, bringing a new type of aquatic experience to the Bay Area. Located on the San Francisco Bay, the heated, Olympic-sized pool would float on Piers 30-32, which are currently used for parking and will be rebuilt as part of the project.

The proposed floating pool would be surrounded by retail space, offices, and housing, including an apartment tower with 725 units, 25% of which would offer affordable housing. San Francisco State Senator Scott Wiener proposed legislation in 2021 authorizing the construction of the pool on the state-owned piers. The plan proposes a unique recreational and relaxation space while also protecting the city’s waterfront from climate change and sea-level rise.

The concept has faced challenges, as previous attempts to revitalize the piers have been unsuccessful. Previous plans to turn the area into a stadium, a museum, and a cruise terminal have fallen through. However, Wiener is optimistic that this project will succeed. He believes that the previous plans failed because they tried to rehabilitate the piers, while this project involves completely rebuilding them. The success of the project depends on approval from the city, state, and various other agencies.

Floating swimming pool for San Francisco, CA.

The floating pool would be built on one of the two piers, with the other pier being converted into 375,000 square feet of offices and 45,000 square feet of retail space. The swimming pool would include space for lap swimming, water polo games, and lounging in a hot tub. A section of the Bay surrounding the pool will be dedicated to open water swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

The project, similar to the Plus Pool being proposed for the East River in New York City, aims to create an attractive and sustainable space that will enhance the waterfront, providing opportunities for new homes and public spaces that can be enjoyed by all.

The new plan for the project is a change from earlier versions, which emphasized commercial space on the piers, giving the impression of a large office park with a little waterfront recreation. The latest version of the project emphasizes swimming, with a focus on public access to the Bay and views of the Bay Bridge. The plan now calls for a single pier to be rebuilt, with the remaining pier to be converted into an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a shallow pool for people learning to swim, a hot tub, and shower facilities. Along the Embarcadero, there would be a market hall with food kiosks and artisan stands where makers can sell their goods.

Floating pool proposed for the Bay Area.

The project’s developers, Strada Investment Group and Trammell Crow, hope to attract bay swimmers with a roped-off area similar to the aquatic park near Crissy Field. They plan to heat the pools, most likely with fresh water, rather than the frigid water pumped in from the Bay. Developers have also released new renderings of the piers, which is more public-oriented than previous plans.

The piers’ redevelopment plan is designed to revitalize the Embarcadero and make it a more enjoyable public experience. The project’s success depends on making the Embarcadero feel less like walking by a couple of office building lobbies and more like an engaging, waterfront destination. The concept has undergone several changes in response to feedback from state agencies, particularly those that regulate the waterfront. The changes reflect the desire to create a space that is more in line with the natural environment, with a greater emphasis on public spaces and water recreation.

The project has faced several challenges, including the fact that the site where the project is proposed to be built is owned by the state, which means that special legislative approval would be required before a developer can build there. The project must also get approval from the city, the state, and several other agencies.

Developers hope that the floating pool will provide a unique aquatic experience in San Francisco, drawing locals and tourists alike to the Bay Area. The concept has received strong support from San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who said that the project would help the city to invest in critical infrastructure that would protect the waterfront from climate change and sea level rise while also creating opportunities for new homes and new spaces for the public to enjoy along the city’s gorgeous waterfront.

Photo Credits: Strada Investment Group

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Smugglers Use Swimming Pool To Transport Illegal Immigrants



Smugglers Use Swimming Pool To Transport Illegal Immigrants

Recently, a strange and shocking incident made headlines when U.S Border Patrol agents discovered six people concealed in a fiberglass swimming pool being hauled by a man named Jorge Christopher Perez. The incident occurred at the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint, and Perez was subsequently arrested. The incident highlights the risks and dangers associated with human smuggling and the extreme measures that smugglers may take to avoid detection.

The case of Perez is particularly strange as he claims that he was not aware that people were concealed in the swimming pool. He reportedly agreed to haul the pool as a favor for a stranger he met at Wal-Mart, and he was not being paid for the job. According to the criminal complaint, Perez encountered an unknown person at a Wal-Mart in Mission who asked him to transport a truck and a flatbed trailer loaded with a pool to Alice, TX. Perez claimed that he did not know about anything or anyone concealed in the pool and agreed to do the favor.

When Border Patrol agents encountered Perez, he appeared jittery and nervous, and his eyes grew wide when he saw a service canine approaching his vehicle. During a secondary inspection, the agents discovered six people concealed in the pool, who were determined to be from the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The incident highlights the risks and dangers associated with human smuggling and the lengths that smugglers may go to conceal their human cargo. It is not uncommon for smugglers to use unconventional means to transport people across borders, including vehicles, boats, and even planes. However, the use of a swimming pool as a concealment device is particularly unusual and demonstrates the ingenuity and creativity of human smugglers.

The incident also raises questions about the role of individuals who unknowingly aid smugglers in their operations. While Perez claims that he was not aware of the people concealed in the pool, he may face charges of aiding and abetting human smuggling. The case also underscores the importance of vigilance and reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities.

In recent years, the issue of human smuggling across the U.S southern border has become a pressing concern, with many people resorting to extreme and dangerous measures to cross the border illegally. The use of coyotes, or individuals who specialize in human smuggling, has become prevalent, with many smugglers exploiting vulnerable migrants and subjecting them to inhumane conditions during transport.

The use of a swimming pool to transport illegal immigrants may seem like an odd occurrence, but it is not the first time that such a method has been employed. In 2019, Border Patrol agents rescued a family attempting to cross the Rio Grande using a children’s inflatable pool. The family, consisting of a woman, her three children, and her husband, had inflated the pool and were using it as a makeshift raft to cross the river.

Both incidents highlights the desperate measures that people will take to cross the border illegally and the ingenuity of human smugglers in devising new methods to avoid detection.

The incident also underscores the importance of Border Patrol agents in preventing and detecting illegal immigration. Without the vigilance and quick response of the agents, the family may have faced serious injury or even death in their attempt to cross the river using a children’s pool.

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Cyberattack on Pool in Israel a Wake-Up Call For Pool Pros

A recent cyberattack on a swimming pool in Israel should be a wake up call for pool professionals everywhere.



Cyberattack on Pool in Israel a Wake-Up Call For Pool Pros

The recent cyberattack on a hotel pool controller in Israel highlights the potential risks and vulnerabilities that the pool industry faces in terms of hackers affecting Operational Technology (OT) security. As the use of technology in pool systems continues to increase, it is important for pool companies and professionals to understand the potential dangers and take steps to protect themselves and their clients.

Hackers Shine Spotlight on Lack of Security

The hacktivist group GhostSec claimed it breached the hotel’s pool water system and could control the pH and chlorine levels in the pools. The attackers did not disclose the details of the OT breach, but researchers at Otorio, a cybersecurity company specializing in OT security, investigated the incident and found two Aegis II controllers that were exposed.

The Aegis II controller is a device used to monitor and control the chemical concentration in water in locations such as swimming pools, spas, and water parks. The controllers can communicate with other systems, such as pumps, heaters, and sensors, to maintain water quality.

AEGIS II Controller

In this case, the AEGIS II here was responsible for continuously measuring and controlling the conductivity and biocide concentration to keep pipework and heat exchangers clean.

The AEGIS II Controller’s applications included:

  • Control of bleeding in evaporation cooling systems
  • Control of corrosion inhibitors, de-foamers and dispersants
  • Measuring and control of inhibitor concentration
  • Measuring and control of pH and ORP voltage
  • Metering of biocides

According to Otorio’s report, the hackers could have potentially affected the pH levels of the hotel’s pools, but there is no evidence that any harm was done to the guests or the facility. However, the incident raises concerns about the growing threat of OT cyberattacks and their impact on critical infrastructure and public safety.

Targeting Pool Automation Devices With Weak Security

One of the key concerns in the pool industry is the use of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and other ICS devices that are used to monitor and control the various aspects of pool systems, such as chemical levels, temperature, pumps, and lighting. These devices can be vulnerable to cyberattacks if they are not properly secured, especially if they are connected to the Internet or other networks.

OT cyberattacks are not new, but they are becoming more frequent, sophisticated, and disruptive. Unlike hackers that focus on stealing data or disrupting services, OT attacks can have physical consequences, such as equipment damage, production loss, environmental damage, or human harm.

Finding Out Exactly How It Happened

In the case of this particular pool controller breach, the attackers were able to access the Aegis II controllers with default passwords, which is a common weakness that can be easily exploited. Once the attackers gained access to the controllers, they could potentially manipulate the chemical levels in the pools, which could cause harm to the swimmers or damage to the equipment.

At the discovery of this breach, OTORIO promptly informed Israel’s Cyber Emergency Response Team (CERT) of the incident and worked closely with the authorities to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. As of now, the affected controller is no longer accessible to the public.

This incident highlights the importance for pool professionals to take a proactive approach to OT security by implementing best practices and security controls, such as:

  • Changing default passwords and using strong and unique passwords for each device and user
  • Updating firmware and software patches regularly to fix known vulnerabilities
  • Segmenting the network and restricting access to critical devices and systems
  • Encrypting data in transit and at rest to prevent unauthorized access
  • Monitoring the system for suspicious activities and anomalies that could indicate a cyberattack
  • Having a comprehensive incident response plan in place to minimize the impact of a cyberattack and restore normal operations as quickly as possible.

Installers who are performing upgrades or new installations of equipment should also stay informed about the latest trends and threats in OT security and seek guidance from cybersecurity experts or specialized vendors if needed. By taking a proactive and collaborative approach to OT security, pool professionals can help mitigate the risk of hackers gaining access to equipment and ensure the safety and satisfaction of their clients.

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