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A Town in Canada Had Hot Pink Water Coming Out of Its Faucets

Local officials said the water was fine to drink, but no one would blame the citizens for not wanting to brew coffee with the Pepto-tinted liquid.

On Monday, citizens of the Canadian town of Onoway in the country's Alberta province woke up to a surprise when they found a rash of neon-pink water flowing from their taps and shower heads.

"My hubby gets up this morning to take a shower and he goes, 'Sheila, why is there pink water coming out of the faucet?'" Sheila Pockett, an Onoway resident, told the CBC. Apparently the water cleared up after running it for a few minutes, but not before denizens of the Alberta town snapped photos to share all over Twitter.


The Pepto-colored water was apparently the result of potassium permanganate, which is used to clean water lines of iron and magnesium deposits and cleanse sulfur from drinking water. The chemical, which turns magenta when diluted in water, is supposedly harmless, but no one would blame the fine people of Onoway for not wanting to use the rose-tinted liquid to brew a pot of coffee.

The local government didn't officially respond to the pink-water crisis until Tuesday morning, when it finally issued a statement on its Facebook page.

"Yesterday, during normal line flushing and filter backwashing, a valve seems to have stuck open allowing potassium permanganate to get into the sump reservoir. The reservoir was drained, however some of the chemical still made it into the distribution system," the statement reads. "While it is alarming to see pink water coming from your taps, potassium permanganate is used in normal treatment processes to help remove iron and manganese and residents were never at risk."

Just to make sure, Alberta's environmental agency inspected the pipes and deemed them (and the water that travels through them) safe. While the pink water was certainly freaky, at least the people of Onoway still have a water supply—almost 200 of Canada's First Nation communities are without any safe drinking water at all. And in the US, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is still unresolved, and the city just entered its third year without clean water.