Tap water ‘very, very pink’ has residents in Alberta town in a tizzy

ONOWAY, Alta. — Residents in a small town northwest of Edmonton say bright pink water coming out of their taps was a bit of a shock.

Vicki Veldhuyzen Van Zanten of Onoway says she got a call from a neighbour asking if her water was pink.

It wasn’t, but a short time later her daughter called her from the bathroom to see purple water coming out of the taps.

It later turned a bright pink, and Veldhuyzen Van Zanten says she posted on a town Facebook page and found hundreds of others were experiencing the same thing.

Onoway Mayor Dale Krasnow posted a message Tuesday on the website saying the public is safe and was not at any risk.

He says the town was doing its weekly wash of filters at the water treatment plant using potassium permanganate, which turns water pink when used in large quantities.

Krasnow says it appears a valve may have stuck, allowing the compound to get into the sump reservoir and then into the town’s water distribution system.

The town has drained its water reservoir and is flushing the distribution system, he said Tuesday.

“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.”

He said Alberta Environment officials were coming to the town to review its system to try to determine what happened and what needs to be corrected.

Veldhuyzen Van Zanten said she wouldn’t drink the water, even if officials say it is safe. She said the water is clear coming out of her cold water taps, but not the hot water taps.

“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.

“It was very, very pink.”

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