Dangers of Water Damage

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dangers of Water Damage 


In order to assess the type of water damage that may exist within a home, it is important to  know the different categories of water damage.  There are three distinctive categories for hygiene risks as listed below (clean, grey and black water). 

Category 1 or Clean Water:  Is water that has not been pre-disposed to severe micro-organisms as it has not originated from a source that has contaminants.  This type of water damage may be caused by broken water supply lines. 

Category 2 or Grey Water:  Is water that carries a significant amount of contamination and can cause sickness if consumed.  This type of water damage may be caused by sump pump failures or overflowing dishwashers.  If the water is left for more than 48 hours without being cleaned up then this water may then be considered Category 3 water. 

Category 3 or Black Water:  Is water that poses a severe health risk, as it is laden with contaminants.  This is most consistent with flood water as its source is from rising rivers, ground surface water and contains debris and other chemicals such as pesticides and toxic substances.  This category is the most severe for health risks as it generally carries significant bacteria such as e-coli, giardia and salmonella.  It may also carry the virus of hepatitis A and carry organisms such as tape and round worms.

It is important to know that these categories do not display the actual color of the water.  Category 3 water may still be murky or brown in color although its name is black water.  The color names associated with the categories are for personal hygiene gauges.

Once the category of water has been established, the water will need to be removed.  Different removal methods can be used for each category and for how long the water has been stagnant. An example might be whether or not to save a carpet.  If it is category 1 water damage and the water has only been on the carpet for 24 hours, then the water can be removed, and likely the carpet be saved.  If it is category 3 water damage and has been over 48 hours, then likely the carpet will need to be removed. 

Contacting a certified professional water damage restoration specialist can help to decide what will need to be removed, and what possibly can be saved.  

Remember that even when the water has been removed, water-borne microorganisms, toxins, bacteria, viruses and contaminants may be left behind.  These microorganisms can become airborne, and this can lead to the toxins becoming inhaled.  Some individuals may have adverse or allergic reactions to these microorganisms.Mold and mildew produced from high humidity and water can lead to significant health risks as well.  It is imperative to clean the damaged areas to minimize health risks.