Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ooopsie in a water treatment plant in Alberta

It's almost-not-quite a Process Wednesday, but it's this story of a stuck valve causing a little bit of a stir in a town in Alberta (via the CBC): 
Credit: Facebook/CBC/Sheila Pockett (?)
The Town of Onoway in central Alberta is apologizing to its 1,000 residents after drinking water from taps started running bright pink.
Complaints about strange fuchsia-coloured water started pouring into the town office Monday night.
As you can see the picture, that's some really pink water. Here's the town's explanation: 
"Yesterday, during normal line flushing and filter backwashing, a valve seems to have stuck open allowing potassium permanganate to get into the sump reservoir," reads the statement. "The reservoir was drained, however some of the chemical still made it into the distribution system. 
"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."
Glad that some thorough flushing seems to have gotten rid of it. I'm a little bit surprised the town's water treatment plant is apparently betting that valve never sticks open; I'm guessing that there were multiple holes in the Swiss cheese to allow this incident to happen. Also, just by looking at the solution, what ppm permanganate do we think that is? 

9 comments:

  1. It really is crazy how dark a tiny bit of KMnO4 can make a solution. I'll throw out 10 ppm as a guess.

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    1. http://www.caruscorporation.com/resources/content/7/5/images/remediation6.png
      Looks like a good guess.

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    2. Hah! The internets are cool

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  2. Sorry, but shouldn't that be potassium perpersonganate? #sexist

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    1. #jfc #giveitarest

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    2. I think it's more #obvioustrollisobvious. BTT has a... unique sense of humor.

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    3. Oh come on as in terms of chemists humor I smiled with #oldiebutgoodie although Anon 2:59PM response made me laugh out loud as reflection of #HelpPCworldviewtakingover

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  3. Feb 22nd was Pink Shirt "anti-Bullying" Day (in Canada at least) so perhaps some one was attempting to maintain the effort by having people wash their clothes so all the white's would turn pink!

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  4. Ok, I officially no longer feel guilty about dumping milligram quantities of Mn-containing waste down the classroom drains.

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