Splash of Water

How to Remove High Manganese In Drinking Water?

Manganese is a naturally occurring mineral that exists in soil and rocks.It plays an essential role in energy metabolism, protein, metabolic regulation, cellular protection in humans and animals.

The mineral is present in groundwater, surface water, and sediments. Therefore it is often found in drinking water systems. The concentration of manganese in groundwater depend on factors such as geochemical environment, rainfall chemistry, and groundwater flow paths. At normal levels, manganese is not harmful to human health. However, it can affect the water and other objects that come into contact with the element. If the concentration level of manganese increases, it can become hazardous.

Rules And Regulations

To ensure the protection against toxicity and health risks from manganese in drinking water, the Department of Public Health has set an Action Level (AL) limit of 0.5mg/L. Concentrations of manganese below that limit are not considered to be toxic and can be ingested.

Signs And Effects of Manganese 

Food And Water

Manganese in Food and Water

Manganese in Food and Water

Manganese at levels of 0.5mg/L and higher can affect the color and flavor of food and water. It has the potential to react with tannins in tea and coffee producing black slush and changing the appearance and taste of the beverage.

Faucets And Water Pipes

The mineral builds up in drains, pipes, pressure tanks, and water softeners, reducing the pressure of the water supply and its quantity.

Health Risks

High exposures to manganese can affect the nervous system and is linked to Parkinson's disease in the elderly. (R). The disease has symptoms such as weakness, anorexia, slow speech, monotonous tone of voice, emotionless, slow movement of the limbs, muscle pain, and other uncomfortable signs of sickness.

Luckily, the concentration level of manganese in water drinking systems is controlled by the government, and the risk of developing Parkinson's disease and other neurological diseases is low. A study conducted in Germany (1995) and two studies in Japan (1966 and 1970) found there is no correlation between the consumption of drinking water in adults with increased manganese concentration often associated with neurological illnesses. Patients showed no effects or changes in their health from manganese consumption at even 2.26mg/L.

Effects On Young Children 

Young Children

Young Children

The intake of manganese in young children and infants should be regularly monitored. Although there is proof that manganese in drinking water may be dangerous for children and adults, certain baby formulas already contain manganese, so their dosage will be twice as much. Infants and young children tend to absorb more manganese into their systems and excrete less than older children and adults.

As a result, the amount of the mineral adds up and has the potential for over-exposure at a young age. It is recommended that a child should consume water with a concentration of manganese less than 0.5mg/L.


The removal of manganese from the drinking water depends on the concentration and the presence of other microorganisms in the water, such as iron bacteria.

  • Chlorination/filtration: This method is recommended when iron bacteria is present in the water supply. The chlorine will control bacterial growth and oxidize the iron and manganese.
  • Water Softeners: This treatment is effective when the concentration of manganese in the water is less than 1 mg/L. It is a salt-based softener that has a cation exchange resin which reduces small amounts of manganese.
  • Oxidizing filters and Reverse Osmosis: These are used to treat the water supply with a high level of manganese concentration.


Manganese is a naturally occurring mineral, and in normal concentrations, it is harmless to human health. The signs of the mineral's presence in water is the change of color and taste of food and water, black slush in tea and coffee, and changes in water pressure. Studies have shown that there is no direct correlation between consuming higher than normal levels of manganese in water and human health.

However, in general, high exposure to manganese is linked with Parkinson's disease in older people. It is recommended that young children and infants consume water that has a lower concentration of the mineral, as children tend to absorb more and excrete less than adults. Manganese can be removed from the drinking water by either chlorination/filtration, water softeners, oxidizing filters, or reverse osmosis.

For more information on manganese and its processes, please check out these videos:


References And Recommended Reading

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