Update, 9:08 a.m.:
Joint Powers Water Board water and sewer manager Kelly Daleiden issued a statement on the pink water, apologizing for the inconvenience and explaining why it is safe: the chemical is highly diluted.
"Please be assured that, while the water may appear very bright pink to purple for some people, the concentration of the potassium permanganate used is non-toxic and used every day to remove iron and manganese in our water treatment process," the statement read.
While this event is completely unrelated to the event that occurred back in May of this year, what you are experiencing is essentially the same and we do not take this lightly. Immediately we will be working on additional plant piping modifications that will prevent this issue from occurring in the future. We absolutely understand the inconvenience it poses to customers. Affected residents should be advised that the water remains safe to drink. Affected customers may choose to allow taps to run until the color returns to normal.
If customers experience any staining of fixtures or white laundry, a simple solution of ½ hydrogen peroxide and ½ white vinegar will remove the color.
More information about potassium permanganate, in general, can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw/mdbp/pdf/alter/chapt_5.pdf. (It’s important to note that the concentration used in the treatment process is a highly dilute solution.) We expect that any residual color will be resolved quickly. In the meantime, we ask any customers with questions about their water call us at 763-497-3611. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and are committed to preventing this in the future.
Pink and purple water seen in St. Michael and Albertville households Monday night came about during the water plant's annual filter maintenance, by a glitch with an unknown reason.
The non-toxic chemical potassium permangenate was used to supercharge the filters, and when the filters went online again, one of the three still had "purple" in it from the chemical, according to Joint Powers Water Board water and sewer utility manager Kelly Daleiden.
Why did one of the filters still have purple in it? Daleiden said it's unknown.
"We caught it right away, within minutes, but it doesn't take very much (of potassium permangenate) at all to make very pink water," she explained. "That's what people are seeing. In just a few minutes, the pink water went out to houses."
in area homes, but the culprit then was a pump that feeds postassium permanganate into the system. The pump, residents said they heard from water board members, was left on and put too much of the compound into the system.
Potassium permanganate is not toxic or dangerous, and is often used as an oxidizer in water supplies. It removes the "sulfur" smell that can infiltrate into wells and can also be an effective treament for waste water.
Daleiden said Joint Powers is looking into making changes in their process to stop this from happening again. They are considering piping changes and other modifications.
"We're working on that," she said. "We need some process modifications to be able to make this completely preventabele. It's something that can be done."
She added that the plant has had the same process since its opening in 2000, and that it hasn't been an issue in the past, before this year.
Daleiden emphasized that the pink or purple water is safe, and the residents should run their water until it becomes clear. It can, however, discolor white laundry.
"If it takes them an extremely long time to run their water for it to clear up, they can give us a call," she said. "We can issue them some sort of credit."
The water board can be reached at 763-497-3611. They provide water for St. Michael, Albertville, Hanover and Frankfort Township.
Daleiden is working on putting together more detailed information to post on the water board's and city's website. The information will include technical information on the chemicals and their process at the plant.