If you live in Minnesota and receive municipal water, it might surprise you to learn that high levels of manganese are becoming a common state-wide water issue.
It’s true our bodies need manganese to survive—in fact manganese is found in some of our favorite foods, including whole grains, nuts, leafy vegetables, and even coffee. But when manganese levels get too high, it can cause serious side effects and long-term health issues.
To help you understand this common water issue that’s impacting many counties in Minnesota—including, but not limited to, Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, and Washington—here is everything you need to know about how to identify and combat high levels of manganese in your water.
What Is Manganese?
Manganese is a naturally occurring trace mineral. It often materializes in soil and rocks in combination with other elements like iron. It’s typically found in groundwater wells or surface water.
As noted previously, manganese is a mineral our bodies need. In fact, it provides antioxidants, supports bone formation, helps reduce inflammation, and aids in blood clotting (Medical News Today). If your body isn’t getting enough manganese, there are over-the-counter supplements you can take to ensure you meet your recommended daily intake.
That’s the good part about manganese. The bad part is when it occurs in high amounts, which then funnels from your groundwater supply into your tap water system. Before we dive into that issue, let’s first review what is considered a safe amount of manganese.
What Is a Safe Level of Manganese in Drinking Water?
According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), manganese is considered safe to consume if it is below 300 μg/L. However, if you have an infant (under the age of one) who drinks tap water or uses formula that contains water from your tap, the recommended level is below 100 μg/L.
The MDH states that although consuming water with high levels of manganese is dangerous, bathing in water that is over the 300 μg/L recommended amount is not a health issue. However, you can still expect other issues to develop, as a result, such as:
- Stains on your laundry
- Stains on your toilet, bath, or shower
- Scaling on your plumbing
- Smelly and bad tasting water
Over time, the build up of manganese, in combination with other minerals like iron, can wreak havoc on your appliances and end up costing you money in repairs and replacements.
Okay, that was the bad. Next, let’s review the ugly.
What Happens If You Drink Water with Higher Levels of Manganese?
If you consume more than the recommended amount of manganese for a long period of time, you risk developing certain health issues. The MDH lists these as the following:
- Problems with memory
- Problems with attention
- Problems with motor skills
This is especially true for infants, as they may develop learning or behavior issues later in life, if they continually consume water with high manganese levels.
It should be noted here that public water systems are not required by law to test for the presence of manganese. That means if you’re receiving municipal water, it could have higher amounts of this and other minerals.
Though a study conducted by the MDH concluded that cities in Southwestern Minnesota, such as Willmar, Redwood Falls, and Jackson, tend to have higher levels of manganese, the truth is manganese occurs all over the state and because there is no clear pattern to what makes one water supply more susceptible than another, it’s hard to know if your drinking water is at risk.
Areas of High Manganese in Ground Water
High Levels of Manganese in Montrose, MN
According to news reports, high levels of manganese have been detected in the City of Montrose’s municipal water supply—testing well above the MDH’s recommended guidelines for infants and adults. Though city officials are working to address the issue, residents in this area have been urged to purchase water bottles and filters and are being discouraged from using tap water to drink or cook with.
Read the full report here.
High Levels of Manganese in Lino Lakes, MN
In 2019, the Minnesota Department of Health tested the City of Lino Lakes manganese levels in each of the city’s wells as part of the EPA current EPA rules. The data from the water tests indicated that 5 out of the 6 wells exceeded the maximum recommendations for manganese levels for infants. Furthermore, 3 out of the 5 wells exceeded the max for adults and children.
Unfortunately, Montrose and Lino Lakes are not the only city in the state of Minnesota to be affected by elevated levels of Manganese.
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Other areas include:
Each month, the city of Ramsey in Anoka County collects well water samples to test for parts per billion (or ppb) of manganese levels. Currently, the ppb is higher than the recommended concentration for infants (100 ppb).
In Hennepin County, the City of Mound has also been issued a warning that its drinking water contains elevated levels of manganese in two of its city wells. Water tested as high as 470-750 ppb for manganese.
Crook, a city located in St. Louis County, has also reported higher levels of manganese in well water—reaching as high as 948.5 μg/L.
But this water issue isn’t limited to only Minnesota. According to department of health officials for the state of Wisconsin, many western communities have been experiencing higher levels of manganese in the past few years.
In the Village of Bruce, officials reported dangerous levels of manganese. Just last year (2020), manganese levels were reported as high as 1K μg/L.
In Barron County, the Village of Dallas has experienced manganese levels nearing 600 μg/L.
Balsam Lake, WI
The Village of Balsam Lake in Polk County also reported levels of manganese over 700 μg/L. As with other communities affected by elevated levels of manganese, an advisory has been issued to prevent infants and adults over the age of 50 from drinking tap water.
We know this sounds scary, especially if you leave in (or near) these geographic areas. But the good news is there is a solution to your manganese problem.
How to Treat Manganese in Water
As certified dealers of Kinetico, we can assure you that the best solution to your manganese water issue is through the use of an advanced water filtration system.
- The Kinetico Reverse Osmosis (RO) Whole Home Water Treatment & Iron Filter helps purify your water and remove traces of manganese and other minerals or contaminants found in your groundwater supply.
- As a whole-home solution, the RO system will also protect your appliances and plumbing from high levels of manganese, saving your money on costly repairs and replacements.
- The Kinetico K5 Drinking Water Station is another option to help you safely remove manganese, so your water is safe to drink and cook with.
Because every home is different, you may decide on one or multiple Kinetico products to help you enhance your home with clean, fresh water for drinking, bathing, and running your appliances.
It will really depend on your home’s water needs and what type of water issues you’re dealing with.
Common Signs of Manganese in Water
If you think you have a manganese issue, there are a few telltale signs to look out for:
- Strange colors of orange or pink forming on your plumbing fixtures
- Rust stains on clothing and appliances
- Metallic taste and smell in drinking water
But there’s an even better way to test for manganese in water.
In-Home Water Test for Manganese
The best way to test your water supply and identify the exact type of chemicals and/or minerals you’re ingesting is with a free home water analysis from Aquarius Home Services.
Our team will travel to your home to perform the test and provide you with a breakdown of the contaminants in your water supply. Afterward, we’ll provide you with a customized solution to help treat and improve the quality of your home and drinking water for good!
Remember every home is different, so the best way to find an effective solution that works for your individual situation is to know what you’re dealing with first. An Aquarius in-home water test can do just that!
High Levels of Manganese in MN & WI
If you live in Minnesota or Wisconsin, it’s never a matter of “if” you have manganese in your water supply. It’s a question of “how much” and “is it harmful”?
To protect you and your loved ones, Aquarius is here to help! We continue to support families throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin to ensure they have access to quality, filtered water that’s clean and clear of dangerous minerals or chemicals.
To get started, contact us for a free in-home water test!