A small amount of manganese is a healthy and normal part of the human diet. It becomes notable in tap water when the limit exceeds 0.05mg/L through brown color and foul odor of water. If you see black stains in your plumbing or even in your drinking glass, the culprit is manganese, for sure.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that the safe limit of manganese in drinking water is 0.3mg/L (300 ug/L). This limit is safe for long-term exposure, but for short-term exposure to manganese, the safe limit in drinking water is below 1 mg/L (1000 ug/L). Infants must not drink water that contains manganese above 0.3 mg/L (300 ug/L) at any time.
Let’s find out the health concerns, testing methods, and removing techniques for manganese in drinking water.
Manganese and its Way to Drinking Water
Manganese is the fifth most abundant element in the earth’s crust. Manganese is found in water, soil, and air with chemical element number 25 and the symbol Mn. Manganese is essential to human nutrients, but its excessive amount is dangerous for human health. It enters drinking water through natural resources such as soils, rocks, wastewater discharge, and mining operations. It is surely found in homes with a private well.
Water in wells has been in touch with rocks for extended periods, so well water has more manganese than other waters.
Benefits of Manganese in Drinking and Well Water
A balanced amount of manganese in drinking water and the human diet is essential for growth. Manganese has some health benefits, which are as follows.
- Helps in digestion
- Increase bone strength
- Helps in wound healing
- Aids in detoxification
Disadvantages of Manganese in Drinking and Well Water
Manganese in drinking water above optimum level is dangerous for human health. The more significant negative effects of high manganese dose are given below.
- Long-term manganese exposure through drinking water causes Parkinson’s disease (progressive nervous system disease).
- Manganese makes water taste unpleasant, and it also causes a foul odor. Thus, a high concentration of manganese in drinking water makes drinking difficult.
- High manganese dose in drinking water alters its color and decreases its aesthetic value. The water will look black or greenish-black. When high levels of iron and manganese mix together, the water color will be red, brown, or yellow.
- Long-term exposure to manganese also affects memory, mobility, and attention.
If infants (up to 12 months old) drink high doses of manganese water for the long term, they may develop various difficulties, including:
- Lower IQs
- Weaken memory
- Impaired academic skills
- Increased risk of ADHD
Testing Method for Manganese
Black stains on plumbing fixtures, toilets, faucets, showers, and laundry indicate manganese in the water. So, if you face such issues, you must test your water for manganese.
The well water test kits for manganese are the best option to opt for water testing. These kits identify heavy metals, bacteria, and other contaminants in water. Testing guides come along with kits to provide a step-by-step guide for water testing.
Fill a large semi-clear vial with water up to the top. Dip the manganese strip no 1 from the kit into the vial for 20 minutes with constant up and down motion. Remove and discard the strip. Add the manganese strip 2 into the vial and dip it for 20 seconds with up and down constant movement. Discard the strip and add manganese strip no 3 into the vial for 30 seconds with the same constant back and forth movement. Remove the strip and shake off the excess water from the strip; let it leave for three minutes and match the strip color with the reference color chart.
Well water test kits include different strips for heavy metals including manganese, iron, chlorine, sulfur, magnesium, etc.
How to Remove Manganese from Drinking Water?
If your drinking water has more than 0.3 mg/L of manganese, you must remove it before drinking. Here are the common methods of removing manganese from drinking water.
Air injection filters are used to remove manganese from the drinking water. These filters use oxygen and air to break down heavy metals like manganese into the water. After breaking down, manganese can be filtered out easily.
A water softener or ion exchanger is other good options to remove manganese from drinking water. Through water softeners, the manganese ions are exchanged for sodium ions that are easily removable from water.
Water filters use the chemical oxidation method to remove manganese from water. In chemical oxidation, chemical injection removes manganese from drinking water. A chemical such as chlorine oxidizes manganese into solids. The solid particles can easily be removed through conventional filtration methods.