Clean Water Current

Possible Rail Strike Affecting Chlorine Shipments; Water Sector Requests Congressional Intervention

Sep 14, 2022

Water sector utilities may experience disruptions in deliveries of chlorine and other chemicals due to an ongoing labor dispute between major railroads and labor unions.  Given the severe operational challenges this could cause for clean water utilities, a group of water sector organizations including NACWA have asked Congress to intervene.

With a potential labor strike as early as this Friday, railroads have already started to remove shipments of chlorine and other hazardous chemicals from their lines so they will not be left unattended if a work stoppage occurs.  These chemicals are regulated by the Transportation Security Administration and are required to always be secured.

The White House is actively involved in negotiations to avoid a strike, and Congress could act to block a strike or impose a new contract on workers.  As long as a possibility of a strike remains, though, chlorine will likely not be shipped by rail. 

NACWA has joined with the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), the National Rural Water Association (NRWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), and the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) on a joint letter to Congress, urging action to allow shipments of chlorine and other chemicals to resume as soon as possible. 

NACWA will continue to monitor this situation closely and report on any developments.  Water/Wastewater Action Networks (WARNs) have also been notified of the situation and utilities are encouraged to monitor their WARNs for additional information.  NACWA members that experience delivery disruptions for chlorine and other chemicals are asked to contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.  

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