Several St. Michael and Albertville residents expressed frustration and safety concern about the pink and purple water that showed up in their faucets Monday night.
The Joint Powers Water Board has emphasized that the chemical in the water, potassium permanganate, came at a very highly diluted level, and is safe to drink and use, but will discolor laundry. The issue was caused by a glitch in the annual maintenance of the system at the plant, when a filter that was started up again contained purple water from the chemical.
The water board also apologized for the inconvenience and said they do not take the issue lightly. They added they are immediately going to make changes to prevent it from happening again.
Mark Hebeisen, who lives in the Heights Northwest area, said in an email to St. Michael Patch that he and his family will not drink the water. They noticed the "pinkish water" at about 6:45 p.m. Monday night.
He said although the water board stated the water was not harmful, he is still concerned.
"My concerns about the safety is that the chemical is an oxidizer," he said. "What is this doing to the pipes in our house and the water softener and water heater?"
Eric Peterson, who lives in Albertville, in the Albert Villas development, wasn't concerned.
"I used to work in the water/Wastewater treament — I knew it wasn't a safety issue," he said in an email to St. Michael Patch. "I know this can happen, and I'm sure the operators at the treament plant did all they could to prevent this from happening."
He added that the water started clearing up at his home hours later Monday night. His home was not affected by the magenta water that was in area showers in May.
Residents took to Facebook to express various reactions to the pink water:
- Even if this is annual maintenance, they should let us know ahead of time. The stuff stains cloths.
- This is so ridiculous that this keeps happening. St. Michael water dept, get your act together! I don't believe drinking pink or brown water is safe!
- We are right off of Grand Ave...wished they told me about washing clothes..did a load of whites and they are brown
- We are on Heights Rd NE, toilet bowl is pink so far. NOT HAPPY. Very glad my load of laundry wasn't ruined. Last time they claimed this was safe for drinking? I don't buy it.
- It's disturbing to me that this keeps happening. And do your own research about the "safety" of this for consuming.
- My boys want to know why it can't be blue water instead. Hot pink is way not cool. :o)
- It does make one think though, about what would happen if we COULDN'T drink the tap water. Everybody should have a few gallons tucked away.
- This is completely unacceptable and disgusting…
The water board encourages concerned residents to find more information here:
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.