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chemical element

What Is Manganese?

Manganese is a metallic element with an atomic number of 25 and the chemical symbol Mn. Manganese can’t be found in the natural world in its elemental form but is prevalent in mineral deposits, according to WebElements. Miners extract most manganese ores from Brazil, Australia, India, Gabon, South Africa, and Russia.

The Royal Society of Chemistry reports that manganese has a very high melting point, staying in a solid-state until heated to more than 1246 degrees Celsius.

The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility states that manganese was discovered in 1774 by Johan Gottlieb Gahn, a Swedish chemist who heated the compound pyrolusite (MnO2) using charcoal to separate manganese into its elemental form. Most modern methods require the use of heated pyrolusite to obtain manganese.

According to Live Science, manganese is one of the most common elements found in the Earth’s crust. Most people who eat natural, vegetable-based diets consume manganese as a mineral. Foods that contain a significant amount of manganese include leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and teas, as reported by scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University.

Manganese Uses

Manganese is an essential component of steel and iron production due to the element’s alloying capabilities and deoxidizing properties, per Live Science. By removing oxygen and sulfur from steel, manganese increases the metal’s malleability and allows the steel to resist damage upon high impact. According to the United States Geological Survey, up to 90% of commercial manganese use is in the steelmaking industry.

Other manganese uses reported in Live Science include: preventing the formation of hydrogen in batteries, reducing the octane rating in gasoline, and ensuring glass remains clear during production.

Manganese Vs. Magnesium

Manganese and magnesium are both essential minerals, and their similar names lead to many people getting the two confused. They both can accumulate in drinking water, and there are different methods to treat them.

Magnesium benefits human health in multiple ways. According to Healthline, magnesium plays a role in the bodily processes of energy creation, gene maintenance, and protein formation. Magnesium is a “hardness” mineral that contributes to hard water while being healthy for human consumption. You can learn more about how magnesium and calcium affect your water, and how you can treat hard water, at our water softeners education page.

Manganese, on the other hand, is a mineral more closely connected to iron than calcium. Keep reading to learn how manganese can get into drinking water and what it can do.

How Does Manganese Get Into Water?

Manganese is naturally occurring, along with other metallic elements, in areas with mineral deposits. The Water Quality Association (WQA) attests that manganese is more concentrated in groundwater than surface water. Manganese can exist in municipal water supplies and in private wells utilizing groundwater that has been in contact with minerals. The WQA also notes that industrial and mining activities can facilitate the release of manganese into local water supplies.

Manganese is not often found alone in water supplies - as we discussed above, manganese mostly appears as an alloy. According to the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, iron and manganese often occur together in affected drinking water. Many water tests and treatment solutions filter both manganese and iron simultaneously.

Effects of Manganese in Drinking Water

Manganese causes unwanted aesthetic problems. According to the WQA, when your water contains high iron and manganese levels, it takes on a bitter metallic taste. Water contaminated with manganese and iron can appear brown or even black as it interacts with oxygen. Manganese in drinking water also stains plumbing and appliances. Deposits can form in your pipes, and your water may contain sediment.

Manganese in Pool Water

Manganese is not a common pool contaminant, so it can be challenging to identify. When manganese becomes part of your pool water, staining can occur on plaster and tile grouting. Manganese is also known to cause pool water to discolor and turn purple or black.

Treat manganese in pool water with superchlorination. This process will oxidize the manganese, which will settle at the bottom of the pool. Vacuum it out and replace your filter promptly to prevent staining.

How to Test Your Water for Manganese

If you get your drinking water from a private well, you must be proactive and test the water yourself since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t regulate private well water. According to the Groundwater Foundation, domestic wells should be tested at least once a year.

Homeowners who live near mines or areas with high concentrations of minerals may want to test their water and check the yearly water quality report. A metallic taste and a brown or red hue are signs that you should test your water for manganese.

There are multiple testing options if you’re concerned about the possibility of manganese in your drinking water. You can contact your city or county health department to request a free test for your well water. If these services are not available in your area, we recommend our 16-Point Rapid Water Test. This affordable water test will measure the levels of manganese and total iron in your drinking water.

Once your water test arrives, follow these instructions:

  1. Carefully read all of the instructions on the packaging to guarantee a valid sample.
  2. Follow the instructions provided to gather a water sample for testing.
  3. Using FedEx or UPS Overnight Saver, return your kit with the sample to the testing laboratory location indicated in the instructions. Note: return shipping is not included.
  4. The lab will process your water test results within 7 to 10 days of receiving your kit.
  5. Read your results once they have been mailed back to you.

After reading your water quality analysis report, it’s best to contact the lab that conducted the testing if you have any questions. Test your water for manganese and iron today with a water test kit from Pentair Water Solutions.

How to Reduce Manganese in Drinking Water

Are you wondering how to remove manganese from your water? The EPA recommends that the level of manganese in your drinking water not exceed 0.05 milligrams per liter. Above this level, manganese and iron could cause aesthetic problems, including staining and improper taste to your drinking water. The College of Agricultural Sciences at Pennsylvania State University recommends a point-of-entry (POE) water treatment solution to reduce manganese before drinking water enters the home.

According to the WQA, methods that have proven effective at reducing manganese levels in water include water softening, reverse osmosis, and distillation filters. Once you conduct a water test in your home, you will be able to make an informed decision for your home manganese reduction.


Best Water Filters for Manganese

Installing a water filter can help treat aesthetic problems associated with manganese. Pentair Pelican Water has developed specific water filtration systems for this contaminant:

Iron & Manganese Water Filter - Iron & Manganese Water Filter: Our Iron Series water treatment systems safely reduce the iron and manganese from your water with minimal maintenance. The four stages of water treatment deliver trusted water to your home. Reduce stains and the potential effects associated with manganese. Choose your model based on the size of your home.

Iron/Manganese Filter & Water Softener Alternative - Iron/Manganese Filter & Salt-Free Softener: This combination product is a step up from our iron and manganese filter. Reduce unwanted impurities and combat hard water with cutting-edge technology. Our filter contains a non-electric dosing system, and our water softener alternatives save electricity and eliminate water waste! Again, choose the appropriate model based on the size of your home.

Tell-tale stains and a metallic taste in your drinking water are signs that it’s time to take action. If you have any questions about our products or manganese and iron in drinking water, contact a Pentair Pelican Water expert today.

Disclaimer: The FDA has not reviewed the information on this website. Products offered for sale herein are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. No medical claims are being made or implied. Contaminants mentioned are not necessarily in your water.