Health

We Now Know Why A Town’s Drinking Water Turned This Alarming Shade Of Pink

by Penn Collins

March 9, 2017

The tiny town of Onoway, Alberta has recently found fame for a bizarre and alarming reason. The town’s residents (who number only 1,029) recently got an unwelcome surprise when they turned on their faucets. The water coming out wasn’t crystal clear as it normally is. In fact, it was about as colorful as colors can get. 

As the tweet below notes, the water coming out wasn’t just pink, but “very, very pink.” 

While this is certainly not a normal occurrence (Have you ever seen anything like this?), the explanation is fairly mundane when compared to the electric hue that resulted. 

Water treatment plants use potassium permanganate to remove hydrogen sulfide—an odorous and sometimes toxic compound—from drinking water before it’s supplied to businesses and residents. 

Well, the valve releasing the potassium permanganate wasn’t shut off properly, and a lot of it got into the public supply. It’s a harmless additive, so while the color may be alarming, the water itself isnt’ particularly dangerous. 

Nonetheless, the residents made known their desire to return to good ol’ clear water, and the city is working on it quickly. 

So while the problem is close to solved, it looks like the town of Onoway will have to find a new, less fluorescent claim to fame. 

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