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Dangerously bad tap water has been in the news more than once over the last few years. The Flint, Michigan water crisis is the most infamous example. Flint was a huge scandal, involving firings, resignations and criminal prosecutions. It was not merely a case of negligence, but of knowingly exposing the people to water that contained lead for the sake of making some extra money.
In Canada, ten people were killed back in 2000 due to being infected by bacteria found in poorly treated tap water. The Walkerton E. Coli outbreak is something that many Canadians still remember. These tragedies remind us that living in a first world country does not always mean that one has to deal only with petty problems.
Valve malfunction causes tap water in Canadian town to turn pink
Recently, the water in the Canadian town of Onoway, Alberta has turned pink due to chemical contamination. The water is not merely a little bit pink either. It’s the color of cream soda. Bright pink. Is it toxic and dangerous? The local officials say that the water is safe to drink and that the problem will be fixed shortly. A formal apology has been made by the local authorities. The problem is due to a faulty valve, which allowed a chemical used for removing impurities from wastewater to enter the drinking water supply.
Is the water, in fact, perfectly safe to drink? Officials say it is – the amount of potassium permanganate is enough to turn the water bright pink, but not enough to hurt you. Pure potassium permanganate could burn your skin, but in very diluted quantity it is said to be safe. Perhaps we could assume that the authorities are telling the truth and that the water is safe to drink after all. This does not, however, mean that the incident was a harmless mishap. A chemical was accidentally leaked into the water supply of a Canadian town. It may not have done any harm – but what if a harmful or lethal chemical had leaked into the water supply instead? Certainly, the incident should be taken seriously whether anyone becomes sick or not. It will be very disappointing, and worrying if no one is even fired.
— Shallima Maharaj (@ShallimaGlobal) March 7, 2017