Tap water turns pink in Onoway, Alberta

March 8, 2017
The Town of Onoway said that the bright color was caused by routine flushing and should not cause concern.  
Town officials say a chemical used during routine maintenance turned the community's water pink. (Facebook)

ONOWAY, ALBERTA, MRCH 8, 2017 -- Residents in one central Alberta town woke up to pink water running from their taps on Tuesday.

The Town of Onoway apologized to its 1,000 residents via a Facebook post, and said that the bright color was caused by routine flushing, using potassium permagnate and should not cause concern.

"Yesterday, during normal line flushing and filter backwashing, a valve seems to have stuck open allowing potassium permanganate to get into the sump reservoir," the statement read. "The reservoir was drained, however some of the chemical still made it into the distribution system. While it is alarming to see pink water coming from your taps, potassium permanganate is used in normal treatment processes to help remove iron and manganese and residents were never at risk."

The statement did not come until hours after the first reports of the odd color surfaced, and Mayor Dale Krasnow apologized via the town website on Tuesday.

"We were never advised by Alberta Environment to issue a public advisory and all indications are that there was never a public health risk," Krasnow said. "Could the town have done a better job of communicating what was going on yesterday to our community -- absolutely, without a doubt. And we do apologize for that."

Potassium permanganate, also known as potassium salt, is a chemical disinfectant commonly used to remove iron and hydrogen sulphide from well water and waste water.

Read more here.

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