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This Canadian town sees ‘alarming’ pink tap water

POSTED: March 11, 2017 6:51 a.m.
Herb Scribner/

Residents of Onoway, Alberta, Canada, found their tap water tinged the color pink starting on Monday.

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Residents of a town in Canada saw something surprising drip out of their tap water faucets this week — pink water.

BBC reported that residents of Onoway, Alberta, Canada, found their tap water tinged the color pink starting on Monday.

Town resident Vicki Veldhuyzen Van Zanten first noticed the change in her water once a neighbor called her to ask about it, according to The Huffington Post.

Her daughter called her from the bathroom to let her know that their water had turned pink, too, The Huffington Post reported.

Once she posted on the town’s Facebook page about it, citizens expressed concern and outrage over the changes.

Other residents shared Facebook posts of the pink water, too, according to CBC.

The town’s mayor, Dale Krasnow, said in a statement that there wasn’t a health risk with the water. The water’s change is a result of a water-treatment chemical called potassium permanganate that was leaked into the water supply after a valve malfunctioned, according to BBC.

This chemical often removes iron and hydrogen sulphide from water, BBC reported.

"The reservoir was drained, however some of the chemical still made it into the distribution system,” Krasnow said in a statement. “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 in a statement that Onoway "could have done a better job communicating what was going on.”

Krasnow also said in his statement that he hopes the town can learn from this experience for the future.

"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," the mayor said, according to BBC.

Despite the town’s charge that the water is fine, Veldhuyzen Van Zanten told HuffPost she doesn’t plan on drinking it.

"It was weird. I just didn't use it, I had leftovers, I put what we had in the microwave, I didn't need water to make supper. But I'm sure other people had issues,” she said. “It was very, very pink.”

Back stateside, thousands of Californians have voiced concerns over contaminated water, according to NBC-7 San Diego. More than 3,000 people in the greater San Diego area don't have safe tap water, according to California's Water Resources Control Board.

The California water allegedly has high levels of uranium — about five times the normal limit, NBC-7 reported.

“There are really serious health impacts from some of these contaminants,” said Laurel Firestone, executive director of the Community Water Center in California. “It can cause cancer (and) in the case of nitrate in very high levels, it can even cause death after a few days of high exposure.”

Families hope changes will come.

“We’re in California, the sixth largest economy in the world, but we still have Third World conditions right here at home,” said state assemblyman Devon Mathis to NBC. “I think a lot of people forget that.
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