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Pics of The Day: What Chemical Turned This Water Pink?

Residents in a small town in Alberta, Canada got a surprise this week when they turned on their faucets.

Residents in a small town in Alberta, Canada got a surprise this week when they turned on their faucets.

For part of the day Monday, water flowing through the taps in Onoway, which has a population of about 1,000, was a bright pink hue.

The chemical culprit for the startling color was later identified as potassium permanganate. The chemical is widely used to remove dangerous substances from water like iron and hydrogen sulfide, which is highly toxic and corrosive.

Although large amounts of potassium permanganate can cause skin irritation, exposure to the chemical is generally considered safe.

The town’s mayor released a statement saying that the water posed no significant health concern, but urged residents to run their tap until the water was clear just to be safe.

The city blamed a faulty valve for allowing the chemical to get into the town’s sump reservoir and then the water distribution system.

No adverse medical conditions were reported.

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