Why This Town's Water Suddenly Turned Pink

Despite all of those pictures you drew in elementary school, water isn't blue. But a sink filled with bright blue water would be less shocking than what people in Onoway, Alberta — a small town in Canada — saw when they turned on their taps yesterday: Hot pink water.
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Residents of the town were understandably wary of the water, and took to the town's Facebook page to ask questions, The Huffington Post reports.
Mayor Dale Krasnow answered their questions via a post to the town's official website on Monday, and updated the post Tuesday.
"We are still assessing what exactly happened but it appears a valve may have stuck allowing the potassium permanganate to get into our sump reservoir and thereby into the Town’s water distribution system," he wrote in the statement.
Potassium permanganate is used in water treatment to control the smell and taste of drinking water. It's harmless in small quantities, but can cause stomach pain and burning or swelling in the throat if ingested in large quantities.
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So those residents had reason to be wary of their suddenly very colorful water.
According to the mayor's post, the Alberta Environment was contacted to check the town's water system and figure out what went wrong. Town officials also drained the water reservoir to take care of the problem.
"Could the town have done a better job of communicating what was going on yesterday to our community? Absolutely, without a doubt,'' Krasnow said in the post."And we do apologize for that. This is a situation we can certainly learn from and develop a strategy for better response and communication should we ever face the same or similar situation in the future.''
Water in Onoway is no longer bright pink — according to Global Edmonton it's since faded to a paler shade. Some residents captured samples of the water at its brightest in a jar, but the real souvenir here is the story they'll always get to tell about the day the water turned pink.
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