Manganese is a chemical element that occurs naturally in soil. It can dissolve in groundwater and contaminate it. All living organisms need a small amount of manganese. Though drinking water sometimes contains manganese, it is mostly found in foods.
In Québec, there is no standard for the maximum amount of manganese in drinking water. However, when its concentration exceeds 0.2 mg/L, manganese can:
- Change the taste and colour of water
- Stain clothing and household appliances washed with the water
Some studies show that manganese may have effects on the neurological development of children. However, these studies concern children exposed to water with a concentration of manganese that is a lot higher than 0.02 mg/L.
Protection and Prevention
Have your water tested for manganese if you notice that it has a particular taste or smell or that it is brownish or blackish.
If the concentration of manganese exceeds 0.12 mg/L, caution is advised for young children and especially bottle-fed babies. Use a source of water other than your well to:
- Prepare drinks for young children
- Prepare feeding bottles for babies
Boiling water is pointless because manganese does not evaporate. In fact, doing so can increase the concentration of manganese in the water.
You can install a residential water treatment system to reduce the concentration of manganese in water to an acceptable level. Be sure to install a certified system conforming to NSF/ANSI standards and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. If you install a residential water treatment system to eliminate manganese from your water, you must verify its effectiveness by testing your water every year.
Frequently asked questions about manganese in drinking water (in French only)
Institut national de santé publique du Québec