News Releases

Media Bulletin - Manitoba

May 3, 2021

INFORMATION ON MANGANESE IN DRINKING WATER FOR PRIVATE WELL OWNERS



The province advises that a number of wells in Manitoba may exceed a new health-based guideline for manganese. Previously, manganese was thought to have only esthetic impacts. Based on new evidence, Health Canada developed a health-based limit of 0.12 mg/L for total manganese in drinking water. In December 2020, the new guideline for manganese was adopted as a drinking water standard in Manitoba.

Manganese is a naturally occurring trace element, commonly found in well water throughout Canada. Some well owners treat for manganese, as it is often associated with discoloured (brown or blackish) water.

Manganese is an essential element and consumption of small amounts is part of a healthy diet. Manganese in solid food is usually not a concern, but too much manganese in drinking water has been associated with some adverse health effects.

The new evidence indicates that drinking water with high levels of manganese may harm brain development in infants and young children. For adults and older children, short-term exposure to manganese in drinking water slightly above the guideline is unlikely to cause negative health effects, but infants fed with formula mixed with water are the most sensitive population. 

For more information on manganese or on testing a well, see the Manganese in Manitoba Well Water fact sheet at https://www.gov.mb.ca/sd/pubs/water/drinking_water/factsheet_manganese.pdf.

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