Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) is a strong oxidizing agent that was originally discovered in 1659. Carus Corporation has been producing permanganate since 1915. As an oxidizing agent it has the ability to add oxygen, remove hydrogen or remove electrons from an element or compound. Potassium permanganate is made up of 1 manganese atom surrounded by 4 oxygen atoms. The molecular weight of permanganate is 158.04 g/mol. The diagram below is of a permanganate tetrahedral.
Potassium permanganate has the ability to oxidize soluble manganese and iron in drinking water to an insoluble manganese dioxide and iron oxide that can be removed by filtration. If these compounds were left untreated, they would cause staining of plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks and bath tubs and impart a bad taste to the water.
Potassium permanganate is recognized by its characteristic purple to pink color when made into a solution. In high concentrations it is a dark purple color.