Understanding How Floodwaters Are Classified | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County
Even though it is easy to consider all water that causes damage the same, there are three separate classifications: clean water, gray water and black water. You can better understand how to handle a water damage situation by having an understanding of the differences in these types of water.
The basics are the same. It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage because a cleanup and restoration process will always follow. First, and most important, is removing all moisture and damp items as quickly as possible, to hinder the growth of mold, which begins to flourish in this ideal environment.
Much like its name suggests, clean water is just that, “clean,” and not the type to pose an immediate threat to your health. Clean water is free of contaminants and may be the result of:
- Broken water lines
- Malfunctioning appliances
- Toilet holding tanks
- Snow melt and rainwater
Clean water is the easiest type of water damage to work with because there are fewer microbes living in the water. But remember, it only takes 48 hours and contact with the surfaces of a building for clean water to become a category two, gray water.
Gray water means the water damage cleanup and restoration can become a bit more serious. This water may create a health risk since it will contain slight chemical or biological contamination.
This slight contamination involved with gray water will mean that it will need to be thoroughly treated before safe consumption.
Gray water includes water from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. The 48-hour exposure time applies here as well, since gray water becomes black water if not treated.
Where there is black water, you now have the most serious of the three classifications, and it is considered highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter. This type of water would be floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.
Sewage is contaminated with dangerous microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more, which are harmful to humans.
Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:
- Gastroenteritis-type illnesses
It is best to treat all waters associated with water damage as black water because water picks up contaminants along its path.
The three classifications of floodwater are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our technicians all study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration and are available to help determine the steps to take to get your home back to normal.
It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County is here to help get the situation under control and make it "Like it never even happened." Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need emergency cleanup and restoration services! Call us at 845-831-3600.