Why Does My Water Look Pink?


Should you turn on your faucet one day and see bright pink water flowing out of the tap, try not to be too alarmed. It is not entirely uncommon for tap water to run pink, and it is often due to the chemical potassium permanganate being used by municipal water plants to treat water systems. This chemical is regularly used to remove bacterial growth, dissolved iron minerals, toxic compounds, manganese, and also, hydrogen sulfide, which can cause your tap water to smell like rotten eggs.

Quick Facts:

  • Potassium permanganate can cause stains on your hands, body, clothes, and fixtures.
  • It is the most common water-cleaning chemical, next to chlorine.

What Causes My Water to Look Pink?

Potassium permanganate is characterized by small granules and is added to treat water, per the correct weight at your local water treatment plant. The permanganate is often added before the standard treatment steps and removed through filtration and disinfection. Irregular quantities or mechanical failures can cause an excess amount to be released during treatment, turning your water bright pink, and sometimes, a deep purple. Despite the water systems working to remove the permanganate by flushing the distribution system, pink water can still reach your tap.

Is Pink Water Safe to Drink or Use?

As pink water does not pose any immediate health risks, it has been deemed safe to drink and use. However, if an individual has sensitive skin, it is advisable to use an alternative source of water for bathing until your tap water begins to run clear. You can contact your water supplier and seek further advice on this. The residents of Alberta, Canada recently experienced a color change in their drinking water due to a stuck valve. Many were left startled, and the local authorities stated there was no risk to public health or safety.

What Should You Do?

Do not panic.

In most circumstances, pink water will run clear after a short period. However, if you continue to see pink deposits in your tap water, it is advisable to contact your water supplier and notify them of the ongoing issue. You can also visit your water supplier’s website or social media platforms for further information and advice.

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