Manganese turns Poulsbo water red

POULSBO | The City of Poulsbo announced March 16 that there have recently been a few discolored water events at various locations within the city.

The City of Poulsbo’s Public Works Department has determined the cause to be from the presence of manganese in the city’s water, which turns water a rust-red or brownish color. Because manganese is a naturally occurring mineral and is not harmful, the issue is purely aesthetic.

The City’s Water Department has protocols in place to help minimize the impacts of discolored water to residents and businesses such as:

  • Flushing water mains every six months to keep discolored water events to a minimum.
  • Flushing water mains between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. to allow minerals to settle in the water and clear up with minimal impact to customers. However, there are times when water flow increases significantly and results in a wide-scale dirty water event.
  • Customers whose clothes become discolored while doing laundry should contact Public Works for a bottle of Red Be Gone – a product that will remove any discoloring caused by manganese.
  • Public Works recommends customers who are experiencing discolored water, turn on all cold-water faucets at the same time and run them for a few minutes. If the issue persists customers should notify Public Works.

The city recently completed construction of a new water treatment plant at the Lincoln Hill well, which primarily provides water to Poulsbo’s east side and will remove manganese from the water before it enters the distribution system.

The Water Department will also be cleaning the water tank and distribution lines of residual manganese on the east side of the City during the next couple months. By the end of 2018, the manganese issues on Poulsbo’s east side should be minimal if not non-existent. Another treatment plant is scheduled for construction in 2019 to serve the City’s west side, which includes the Olhava and Viking Avenue neighborhoods.

Please direct any questions or concerns to the Poulsbo Public Works Department at 360-779-4078 or