(ABC) — Hundreds of people in Canada arrived home Monday evening to an unusual sight: bright pink liquid running out of their faucets.
Despite its unusual hue, the fluid was neither fruit punch nor pink lemonade but city water that had been contaminated during a weekly treatment of the water lines, according to the city of Onoway in Alberta province, about 42 miles northwest of Edmonton.
A disinfecting agent called potassium permanganate likely tainted the city’s water supply through a valve that became stuck, allowing the fuchsia water to enter the distribution system, according to a notice posted to the official Onoway website on Monday.
“We do a weekly flush and have done it for years and years, and nothing like this has ever happened before,” said Onoway Mayor Dale Krasnow, according to CTV News Edmonton.
Residents took to social media to express shock and amazement at the state of their tap water.
— Shallima Maharaj (@ShallimaGlobal) March 7, 2017
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One video posted to Facebook showed the water coming out of the tap starting off as a bubblegum color and quickly darkening to a more saturated shade of pink.
“This morning when I ran the tub to give [my kids] a bath, I immediately shut that down,” Onoway resident Shauna Wilkinson told CTV.
Once the city realized the problem, it immediately began flushing the water distribution system, officials said. On Tuesday, the city announced that it had determined that the incident was not caused by operator error.
All of the main water lines had been cleared by Tuesday and the water was deemed safe to drink, city officials said.