City of Montrose: Elevated levels of manganese found in drinking water

The City of Montrose says elevated levels of manganese have been detected in its drinking water, which could pose health risks.

City officials put out a notice to its residents Wednesday saying that its drinking water supply, which serves more than 3,200 residents, tested above the Department of Health’s guidelines of 300 parts per billion of manganese. The high manganese levels were discovered during routine water testing in the city.

Currently, the city is working with consultants and the state to determine how to reduce the manganese levels in the city. It has purchased sampling and testing equipment to conduct additional testing. The city is working to inform residents and plans to schedule an open house to answer questions.

What is manganese?

The Department of Health says manganese is normally found in rocks and soil and is often found in Minnesota ground and surface water.

Your body needs some manganese to stay healthy, but too much of it can be harmful. The Department of Health says people who drink manganese over a long period of time could develop problems with memory, attention and motor skills. Infants can develop learning and behavior problems if they drink water with too much manganese in it, too. High levels of manganese can stain plumbing fixtures black.

For more information about manganese, visit this Department of Health web page

What you can do

If you are a Montrose resident, the city recommends doing the following:

  • Purchase a water filter pitcher or a filtering unit to attach to your faucet. These items must be certified to remove manganese and the filter media changed according to the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.
  • Working with a residential water treatment company such as Culligan, to install a point of use water system certified for manganese removal.
  • Purchase bottled water for consumption If you do not have a home water treatment device that removes or reduces manganese, you may want to considering installing one or using bottled water that is labeled "purified" for drinking, cooking, and preparing infant formula.

Private Well Owners – Some Minnesota groundwater naturally has levels of manganese higher than the MDH guidance values. Homeowners with private wells are responsible for having their wells tested. Learn more on the Minnesota Department of Health’s website and search Owner’s Guide to Wells.