HEALTH

South Salt Lake reports elevated manganese levels in drinking water

Jul 2, 2021, 12:01 PM | Updated: 12:35 pm
pleasant grove city cloudy water radium south salt lake water alert...
The EPA announced Friday $63 million in federal funding to toward Utah's water infrastructure, and that includes clean drinking water. (Adobe Stock)
(Adobe Stock)

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — South Salt Lake officials alerted residents Friday to the presence of elevated manganese levels in the city’s drinking water system. 

The alert does not mean residents need to boil their drinking water. However, the city said residents should avoid using tap water to make bottles or food for infants under the age of six months of age until further notice. 

Manganese occurs naturally

In a news release, South Salt Lake officials said there are no federal public health regulations for manganese in drinking water. The element occurs naturally, and both humans and animals need it.

“The South Salt Lake water system is taking action to reduce manganese levels and is continuing to have the water tested,” the city said in the release. “The water system will issue another notice when the levels have been reduced to a level below EPA Health Advisory levels.”

For most people, the city said elevated manganese levels should not result in any negative health consequences.

“In fact, some adults consume more than 10 mg/day of manganese in their diet without experiencing any harmful health effects,” the release stated. 

However, it can be harmful to bottle-fed infants under six months old. Babies “who drink water containing more than 0.3 mg/L of manganese over a period of 10 days may have negative neurological effects,” the city said. 

The city said it sent out the alert because the manganese concentration for a well near 300 East between 2100 South and 3300 South was above the Environmental Protection Agency’s Health Advisory Level for the element

Do’s and Don’ts for South Salt Lake water

According to South Salt Lake officials, these are the guidelines for water usage with elevated manganese levels: 

  • DON’T use tap water to make food or bottles for infants under six months of age, the elderly, or people with liver disease. 
  • DO use tap water to prepare foods like pasta, where boiled water gets drained or discarded before you eat. 
  • DON’T boil water for drinking, as it will not reduce manganese levels and may in fact increase manganese concentration. 
  • DO consider “in-home” treatment, such as water softening or reverse osmosis systems, which may reduce manganese levels in water. 

City leaders advised people with specific health concerns to check with their medical provider about the situation. Additionally, residents between 2100 South and 3300 South with an infant under six months or with elderly occupants or occupants with liver disease in their home may pick up one free case of bottled water from Fire Station 41, located at 2600 South Main Street.

Next steps for South Salt Lake

South Salt Lake officials continue to flush the water system in the affected area. City officials said new samples taken July 1, 2021, already showed a strong reduction in manganese levels. 

“The highest level of manganese samples taken July 1 was .8. Ongoing testing will continue and be made available to the public until the .3 advisory level is reached,” the city said. 

Once levels drop below that threshold, city leaders plan to send out another alert. 

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South Salt Lake reports elevated manganese levels in drinking water