Some residents in Warrick County, Indiana are seeing pink water coming out of their faucets. Keep reading to learn why and what it means for you.

Alert for Water Changes Some Warrick County Residents

Water services in part of Warrick County are provided through Indiana American Water. The company, which first began in 1886 as the American Water Works & Guarantee Company, has been providing water and wastewater services to communities for more than a century. American Water Company is also the largest investor-owned water and wastewater utility in the nation.

Indiana American Water Reporting "Pinkish Tint" to Water for Some Customers

Earlier today, Monday, May 13, 2024, Indiana American Water customers in a portion of Warrick County, including Newburgh and the surrounding area, received notification about an issue with tap water appearing pink. According to Indiana American Water, the issue is the result of what they are calling "a slight disruption at our water treatment plant."

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Is The Pink Water Safe to Drink?

Indiana America Water says that some customers are now experiencing "a pinkish tint" to the water coming out of their faucets. The pink tint comes from the "an imbalance" of a chemical known as potassium permanganate.

Our local operations team is working to correct this issue. We take water quality very seriously and your safety is our number one priority. The pink water that some customers are experiencing is the result of a slight imbalance of potassium permanganate, a chemical that is EPA approved and widely used in the drinking water treatment process.
attachment-Indiana American Water Potassium Permanganate

What Exactly is Potassium Permanganate?

Potassium permanganate is a chemical compound regularly used in the treatment of water for purification purposes. It is sometimes also called permanganic acid, potassium salt, permanganate of potash, chameleon mineral, purple salt, according to a Hazardous Substances Fact Sheet made available online by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Potassium permanganate has a sand-like appearance, is dark purple in color, and has no odor. It is used as a disinfectant, deodorizer, and bleaching agent when added to water.

What Does This Mean for the Water in Your Home?

If your home is included in the coverage area for the affected area, pictured below, you too may experience pink colored water as a result of the presence of potassium permanganate. For residents in the area of impact, Indiana American Water says that the tap water is still safe to consume, noting that it meets "water quality standards for consumption." The utility company says they estimate to have the issue remedied by May 15, 2024.

attachment-Indiana American Water - Potassium Permanganate
Indiana American Water

You Can Drink It But Don't Wash Your Clothes With It: It's Not What You Think

While Indiana American Water does say that the water meets quality standards and is safe to consume, they are advising customers in the affected area to avoid washing laundry at this time. Your first thought may have been the same as mine, "I bet it will turn laundry pink," but you'd be mistaken. It's actually because it might lighten your laundry. Since potassium permanganate acts as a bleaching agent, in addition to a disinfectant, it is frequently used in the garment manufacturing industry - like your favorite pair of jeans that have the faded spots near the knees and seams. Potassium permanganate is used to give denim that perfectly worn-in look.

Other Uses for Potassium Permanganate

Potassium permanganate is also used to treat  skin conditions including fungal infections, and dermatitis, and is even used in wound care. There are even some survival uses for the chemical compound. Of course, caution should be taken when handling any type of chemical, and you should always consult with a healthcare professional before using something like potassium permanganate at home.

[Source: American Water Works Service Company]

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