How Floodwaters Are Classified | SERVPRO® of Madison/Goodlettsville
When you understand the differences in the types of water that are involved with water damage, you will be better able to deal with the cleanup.
It is easy to think that all water causing damage is the same, but there are three separate classifications for it: clean water, gray water and black water.
Whatever the type of water that has caused the water damage, there will most assuredly be a cleanup and restoration process to follow. To begin the process, the most important thing to do is remove all of the moisture and damp items quickly, so that mold will not begin to flourish in its ideal environment.
The name says it all; this water is free from contaminants and is considered “clean” and not the type to pose an immediate threat to your health. Sources of clean water are:
- Broken water lines
- Malfunctioning appliances
- Toilet holding tanks
- Snow melt and rainwater
This will be the easiest type of water damage to work with since there are fewer microbes living in the water, but after 48 hours and building surface contact, clean water can move up to category two, and “gray” water.
Gray water is where water damage cleanup and restoration can become a bit more complicated, and it may pose a health risk due to its containing chemical or biological contamination. That slight contamination in gray water means that it will have to be properly and thoroughly treated before safe consumption.
Gray water can come from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. The 48-hour exposure time applies here as well, with gray water turning into black water if not treated.
Black water is the most serious of the three and is considered highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter, therefore making cleanup risky. This type of water includes floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.
Sewage contains microbe contamination, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more, which are hazardous to humans.
Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:
- Gastroenteritis-type illnesses
You should remember that, where floodwaters are concerned, it should be assumed that all water involved is black water since it will be picking up contaminants along the path it travels.
All floodwater classifications are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), which is 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 Madison/Goodlettsville 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!