Pink Water Incident Renews Focus on Water Treatment

Residents of Lake Charles, Louisiana, were unhappy to discover pink tap water pouring into their sinks and showers last month.

The cause of this rosy surprise? An excess of potassium permanganate mistakenly added to the raw water treatment. Though alarming, the pink water was safe to drink and, in this case, was short-lived—the water was “crystal clear” in about a half hour.

Permanganate Peril

This is a colorful reminder of the importance of proper water management and treatment. This may be a rare occurrence and, fortunately, not one with harmful consequences, but water and wastewater management professionals must be vigilant to every aspect of the water treatment process in order for the system to work properly and to keep residents safe.

Permanganate is a useful addition to water that removes manganese and iron. When used in appropriate amounts, the oxidant gives water a slight pink tint that goes away after treatment.

Water Safety At Stake

While this particular incident proved harmless, that’s not always going to be the case when dealing with volatile chemicals. If the overused chemical had been fluoride, for instance, results may have been more serious. In very small amounts, it strengthens and cleans your teeth. But when not carefully managed, fluoride is a deadly poison that can eat away your insides when consumed.

Water operations require an expert to safely manage chemical amounts and act quickly in the event that something goes wrong. You can count on PeopleService to always provide that level of service. After all, the safety of your community is at stake.

And we can probably all agree that brightly colored water is best left to flavored beverages and vitamin waters.