After several months of assessing, removing and attempting to salvage structures and some intensive planning to optimize future operations, the BioLab team has begun the reconstruction of the Lake Charles, La., plant. KIK/BioLab executives and local officials, including Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, gathered on June 30, 2021 to break ground and officially kickoff that phase of the project.
When Hurricane Laura destroyed the facility back in August of 2020, the BioLab team mobilized and immediately began planning how to restore the plant and workforce as soon as possible. They have spent countless hours developing ways to strengthen the facility, improve its operations and streamline the building process.
The addresses of the KIK executives and the Louisiana Governor during the groundbreaking ceremony highlighted that KIK’s investment in Lake Charles will not only return jobs to the community but also allow the resumption of the production of much-needed products that benefit the millions of people who enjoy pools and spas.
As Governor Edwards quipped, “I have a pool at my house, and I can tell you that since this facility has been sidelined, the cost of those chemicals has gone up, and they’re harder to get. I am so happy we are going to be putting it back into production soon.”
“We are actively working to rebuild our plant, which is a $170 million investment slated to be completed in spring of 2022, which will operate at 30% greater production capacity,” says BioLab President Jon Viner.
“The shortage resulting from the shutdown of tour facility is impacting pool retailers and pool owners across the country, and they are eagerly awaiting our plant to be operational and to fill the gap”.
“This means we will be well-positioned to rapidly address the shortage of pool disinfecting agents in North America, but unfortunately there may be times when retailers do not have adequate supply on the shelves. In those cases, we are encouraging pool owners to keep visiting their retailers for added solutions.”
But Stephen Jackson, KIK CFO, also pointed out that the company’s plans are to go beyond merely filling the market gap. “The $170-million investment that KIK is going to deliver on will improve and make this facility more efficient and flexible. It will be a state-of-the-art plant that will significantly increase our capacity.”
This project milestone is a testament to the hard work that has gone into getting the site ready for construction. Governor Edwards noted that “BioLab represents the very best of the character of Louisiana’s workforce and the resiliency here in Louisiana not only to come back but come back stronger and better.”
The company is targeting a Spring 2022 reopening and until the plant is fully operational, it will continue sourcing raw materials from global sources in order to fulfill the ongoing need for chlorine sanitizers in the U.S. and Canadian markets.
To help keep pools sanitized through the shortage, the company recommends boosting chlorine performance wherever possible and protecting chlorine from conditions that may impact how long it can last. Frequent testing is more important than ever to ensure water is balanced so treatments are working as they should.
Based in Lawrenceville, GA., Bio-Lab Inc., the Pool Division of KIK Consumer Products Company, has been supplying water treatment products for recreational applications on a global basis for over 50 years. Additional information concerning KIK is available at www.kikcorp.com.