Residents of the small Canadian town of Onoway got a shock this week when hot-pink water emerged from their faucets. During normal line flushing and filter backwashing, a valve appeared to have stuck open, letting the chemical enter the sump reservoir.
Town Mayor Dale Krasnow maintained that the water was safe and the public was not at risk and blamed the unusual color on a stuck valve in the town's water distribution center.
Trevor Winfield noticed that the water in his toilet was bright pink earlier this week and filmed it filling up his sink.
"The reservoir was drained, however some of the chemical still made it into the distribution system", Krasnow said in a statement.
Caused by Potassium permanganate, a chemical used in the standard water treatment process, there was no significant health risk to the residents of Onoway, Alberta. But she wished the town warned them earlier about the pink water and any potential harm.
Vicki Veldhuyzen Van Zanten said she learned of the pink water from her neighbor who called and asked if she noticed the weird liquid, reportedTheStar.com. While potassium permanganate diluted with water is extensively used as an antiseptic, water-treatment additive, and flame retardant, it can be quite unsafe in large doses.it can stain and burn skin on contact.
"Could the town have done a better job of communicating what was going on yesterday to our community? Absolutely, without a doubt", said Krasnow. "And we do apologize for that".
He added that "there was never a public health risk" and that the town had been working with the province's environment officials.
People should flush out the colored water before use, he advised.
"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.
"It was very, very pink".