Floods of any type are no fun. Unfortunately, some are much worse than others. What a lot of people don’t realize is that there are different types of water loss and there is a different way to handle each one.
Different Kinds of Water Damage
Category 1: Clean Water
Clean Water is water that comes from a source that does not pose substantial harm to humans.
Some examples are broken water supply lines, sprinkler systems, tub or sink overflows (with no contaminants), melting ice or snow, falling rainwater, and broken toilet tanks.
However, clean water that has contact with structural surfaces and content materials may deteriorate in cleanliness as it dissolves and mixes with soils and other bio-contaminants and if not treated quickly may become Category 2 – Gray Water.
Category 2: Gray Water
Gray Water is water that comes from a source that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when exposed or even consumed.
Some examples are toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.
Category 2 (Gray Water) that is not promptly removed from the structure and/or has remained stagnant may be reclassified as Category 3 (Black Water).
Category 3: Black Water
Black Water is water that is very unsanitary and contains harmful bacteria that would cause severe discomfort or sickness. This would include water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water, standing water, or toilet
This would include water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water, standing water, or toilet backflow that originates from beyond the toilet trap regardless of visible content or color.
It is sometimes difficult to determine what type of water loss you have. However, if the water loss is not handled properly it will escalate into a worse category of water loss, resulting in rugs, carpets and belongings possibly needing to be completely replaced as opposed to just cleaned and restored.
Additionally, if the water isn’t fully removed and the area fully dried, mold will begin growing quickly and will also have to be resolved.
Here are some quick steps to take right away if you have a water loss:
- Do what you can to eliminate the flow of water from the source if possible.
- Turn off the circuit breakers to the affected area.
- Wash and sanitize your hands if you touch any affected items.
- Call a restoration company immediately.