Citizens in the small town of Onoway, west of Edmonton, were surprised on Monday night to see their drinking water turn into pink lemonade.
Several photos and videos posted on social media show that the water of the municipal aqueduct literally tinged in pink, arousing concerns among the residents of the city.
The local mayor, Dale Krasnow, said in a statement that a poorly closed valve allowed potassium permanganate to leak into the water system.
In a statement posted to its Facebook page,, the town said the strange colour was caused by a chemical used during routine flushing of the lines and was not a cause for 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,” reads the statement. “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.”
This inorganic salt colors the water in pink when diluted. It is used in the treatment of water from artesian wells to oxidize iron and manganese.
The Alberta Health Agency confirmed to eOntarioNow that the water is potable, despite its pinkish tinge. However, people with sensitive skin may experience mild irritation in contact with water, the government agency said.
A citizen of Onoway, Lisa Schulte, corroborated the information on the television channel. “I drank it a little this morning and it did not look any different, except it was pink,” she said.
The City purged its water system to address the problem.