A chlorine products plant that was destroyed by Hurricane Laura last fall will be replaced with a new facility.
Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and KIK Consumer Products COO Jeff Schmitt announced that the company’s BioLab division will make a $170 million investment to build a new chlorine products facility in Westlake on the site of its previous facility that was damaged as a result of Hurricane Laura in 2020.
The project will create 82 direct jobs, with an average annual salary of $76,000 plus benefits, and the company will retain 19 existing jobs in Westlake. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 231 indirect jobs, for a total of more than 310 new jobs in Southwest Louisiana.
According to the announcement, BioLab is a leading company in the recreational water treatment industry, and it is a top supplier of pool and spa treatment products in North America and international markets. The company’s first manufacturing facility was built in 1979, but a major component of the manufacturing facility was destroyed as a result of Laura’s impact on the region. The new facility will replace the old manufacturing plant and restore the jobs that were lost resulting from its destruction. It is expected to be completed in 2022.
“Last year, our state faced many unprecedented challenges from which we are still recovering, but today’s announcement is a testament to the fortitude, determination and resilience of our people and our business climate,” said Gov. Edwards. “Hurricane Laura pushed Southwest Louisiana to its heels, but the people of this region have shown strength throughout its long and storied history. We welcome BioLab’s reinvestment in Westlake; we are grateful for their support in helping this region come back stronger.”
The new facility will produce trichloroisocyanuric acid, or TCCA, which is a chlorine-based sanitizer that kills microorganisms, including bacteria; prevents algae growth; keeps water clean and protects pool equipment. Featuring state-of-the-art equipment, the new facility will have an improved output compared to the previous facility, with a significant increase in production capacity.
“We are proud to bring a new state-of-the-art facility to Westlake, to bring back great opportunities for our people, and deliver the pool cleaning products that are in high demand,” said Schmitt. “For anyone in any manufacturing industry, Hurricane Laura was the level of disaster you plan for and pray never happens. But if it does, you want your team to respond exactly the way ours did. They worked to secure the site and then get it ready to bring us back better than we were before.”
The company is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“Continued investment in our community by an established community leader here in Calcasieu is a sign of resiliency and recovery,” said Brian Abshire, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President. “On behalf of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, I want to thank BioLab, and KIK Custom Products, for significantly reinvesting in our community to deliver quality products that positively impact not just the local, but the national consumer."
“We are very pleased that BioLab is rebuilding their facility here in Southwest Louisiana,” said George Swift, President and CEO, Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “This will result in more than 80 direct jobs and about 200 indirect jobs. While this plant has been closed, a shortage has developed of many household products and swimming pool chemicals. The scarcity of these products from this facility received national attention. Many across the nation will welcome a new BioLab plant.”