Residents of a small Canadian town were left puzzled this week when their tap water starting running an “alarming” bright pink.
The water started running a bright fuchsia colour on Monday night after a problem at the water treatment plant at Onoway, a town of 1000 people in Alberta province.
“My water is broken. Thanks Town of Onoway,” resident Trevor Winfield wrote on Facebook.
A stuck valve that allowed an excess amount of potassium permanganate into the town’s water distribution centre may have been to blame, according to a statement from Mayor Dale Krasnow.
Potassium permanganate is a common water-treatment chemical used to remove bad tastes and odours from drinking water — but too much of it can turn water pink or purple.
Mr Krasnow said there was no public health risk but admitted town officials could have “done a better job of communicating what was going on”.
“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,” he said.
Some residents, including Shauna Wilkinson, avoided using the pink water.
“This morning when I ran the tub to give [my kids] a bath, I immediately shut that down,” she told local news channel News Edmonton.
But others were less concerned — Lisa Schulte made her usual morning coffee.
“I kind of took a little bit of a taste of it this morning and it didn’t seem any different, except that it was pink. It tastes fine. It tastes really good,” she told Global News Canada.
Mr Krasnow said the town was flushing its water distribution system and encouraged residents to run their taps until the water was clear.