Could relief be in sight for the soaring cost of chlorine? With the re-opening of the Biolab chlorine manufacturing facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana, many believe that the answer is a resounding yes!
On November 2, KIK Consumer Products, a global leader in pool, household cleaning, and automotive products, marked the successful rebuilding of its subsidiary BioLab’s state-of-the-art trichlor production facility located in Westlake, Louisiana, outside of Lake Charles, with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The pool and spa industry has every reason to celebrate the new $250M facility reopening, which has promised to significantly increase production flexibility in readiness for 2023 pool season.
After two years of one chlorine disaster after the next, combined with supply-chain snafus and inflation, the price of trichlor, the form of chlorine preferred by most service professionals, has tripled, forcing small business owners to raise their own prices and risk losing accounts. It’s been a stressful time to say the least, but with the rebuilding of the Biolab facility, some may see a light at the end of the tunnel. “Today marks a new beginning for BioLab and is the culmination of over 26 months of planning, engineering, construction, and commissioning,” Jeff Schmitt, COO of KIK Consumer Products, said at the ribbon cutting. “Our plant stands here today as a demonstration of the resiliency of our workforce and the people of Louisiana who have made this project possible. With the support of the people, businesses, and institutions across Lake Charles, including the Louisiana State Police and local fire department and law enforcement, we have delivered on our promise of rebuilding and reinvesting in the future of not only this facility – but the future of this community.”
Government officials turned out to celebrate the event, joining BioLab employees, retail partners, construction and other local partners including the Lake Charles Metal Trades Council, as well as other members of the community. These included Senator Bill Cassidy, Congressman Clay Higgins, and Don Pierson, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development.
Following the unprecedented impact of Hurricane Laura in 2020, the company invested more than $250 million in rebuilding and reopening its damaged facility. The new facility will employ nearly 80 high-paying, local union jobs and reflects BioLab’s commitment to building on its deeprooted legacy in Louisiana, where it has operated for decades.
The facility was reconstructed with improved production flexibility, which will enable BioLab to more effectively meet the demand for pool cleaning products. The facility will also operate with numerous enhanced safety features, including improved structural ratings, an elevated control room and ride out shelter, and improved fire detection and extinguishing systems.
“We are delighted to reopen our BioLab facility in time to support the 2023 pool season and to meet our promise to the Lake Charles community to rebuild,” said Michael Sload, CEO of KIK Consumer Products. “Our thanks go to our valued stakeholders who have made this milestone possible – from our dedicated employees, to our trusted retail partners, to the entire community at large.
We look forward to furthering our more than 40-year history in Lake Charles for years to come, bringing products to millions of American families that help keep their spas and swimming pools safe and clean.”
Don Brunette, BioLab’s plant manager, echoed this sentiment: “Our BioLab employees are excited to get back to work and honored to celebrate this moment together with all our stakeholders.
We are pleased to be welcoming our team back to our newly rebuilt facility, which is one of the most advanced trichlor production facilities in the world and even stronger and safer than before.”