Bright pink tap water startles Canadians

A small town in Alberta, Canada has been dealing with an unusual mystery - the tap water has been coming out bright pink.

Onoway resident Vicki Van Zanten Heale said her neighbour had asked if she was dealing with pink water too.

"And then a little bit later our water became pink," she says.

"As the night wore on, more and more people were saying they had pink water."

Some of the bemused residents avoided using the water, until mayor Dale Krasnow cleared up the confusion.

Potassium permanganate is used in the town to wash filters at a treatment plant.

It's believed a valve may have gotten stuck during the wash, resulting in the potassium permanganate entering the reservoir and the water distribution system.

"We do a weekly flush and have done it for years and years, and nothing like this has ever happened before," Mr Krasnow says.

"I offer a sincere apology that we didn't get something out there, at least to say, 'Your water is pink'."

Potassium permanganate is commonly used as medication for a number of skin conditions as well as treating water.

It doesn't pose a risk to public health so anyone who did drink the mysterious water is safe.

Mr Krasnow says the water reservoir has now been drained and the distribution system is being flushed.