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Why does my water look pink?

Pink banner

Key facts: 

  • If your tap water looks pink, this can be caused by potassium permanganate being used to treat water systems
  • It is the most common water cleaning chemical, next to chlorine
  • Pink water doesn not pose any immediate health risks but can cause stains on the hands, body, clothes and fixtures
  • In most circumstances, pink water will run clear after a short period. Contact your water supplier if your water remains pink 

Have you noticed your water looks pink?

Should you pour yourself a glass of water one day and see bright pink water running, try not to be too alarmed. It is not entirely uncommon for tap water to run pink and is often due to the chemical, potassium permanganate being used by municipal water plants to treat water systems. This chemical is regularly used to remove bacterial growth, dissolved iron minerals, toxic compounds, manganese and also, hydrogen sulphide, which can cause your tap water to smell like rotten eggs.

What Causes My Water To Look Pink?

Potassium permanganate is characterised by small granules and is added to treat water, per the correct weight at your local water treatment plant. The permanganate is often added before the standard treatment steps and removed through filtration and disinfection. Irregular quantities or mechanical failures can cause an excess amount being released during treatment, turning your water bright pink and sometimes, a deep purple. Despite the water systems working to remove the permanganate by flushing the distribution system, pink water can still reach your tap.

Is Pink Water Safe To Drink or Use?

As pink water does not pose any immediate health risks, it has been deemed safe to drink and use. However, if an individual has sensitive skin, it is advisable to use an alternative source of water for bathing until your tap water begins to run clear. You can contact your water supplier and seek further advice on this. 

What Should You Do?

Do not panic.

In most circumstances, pink water will run clear after a short period. However, if you continue to see pink deposits in your tap water, it is advisable to contact your water supplier and notify them of the ongoing issue. You can also visit your water supplier’s website or social media platforms for further information and advice.