Water Damage: Categories

So the unthinkable has happened, you find yourself dealing with a sewage backup in your home. Along with being unpleasant to deal with, sewage damage can have significant health risks attached to it. Sewage water can contain microbes, viruses, and harmful bacteria. Three types of contaminated water can classify water damage, and each has its own appropriate remediation plan to follow. It is important to know which one you are dealing with if your sewer backs up so you can take the correct action in getting it cleaned up.

water damage columbusCategory 1: Clean Water

Category 1 water comes from a clean source, such as a leaky faucet or broken supply line. Water damage restoration from category 1 water is fairly simple. First, water must be extracted and dried completely. Then, damaged materials can be repaired or replaced. If category 1 water is not remediated quickly and correctly, it can turn into category 2 or 3 water.

Category 2: Gray Water

Category 2 water is contaminated water that may contain bacteria and viruses. Common sources of category 2 water include dishwasher overflow, washing machine overflow, and toilet overflow (without feces).  This type of water could cause illness by coming in contact with it, and needs to be handled promptly. Not only is adequate drying needed, but thorough disinfecting must also take place. If left untreated, category 2 water can very quickly degrade to category 3 water.

Category 3: Black Water

Like the name entails, category 3 water is grossly contaminated. All contact should be avoided because this type of water can cause serious illness and even death if ingested. Black water can come from flooding streams, canals or rivers, water from the sewer line, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or long-standing water that has begun to grow microbes.  This type of water requires professional clean up with the use of specialized equipment to safely remove contaminants.

If you are unsure which type of water you are dealing with, be sure to call a water damage restoration team. With the proper training and equipment, restoration crews that specialize in sewage remediation can determine the water category and proceed with an appropriate plan of action. While you are waiting for the restoration team to arrive, there are steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe from contaminated water.

  • Keep children and pets away from the affected area
  • Contact your insurance company and let them know a restoration team is on their way. Take pictures of the damage as proof for your insurance adjuster.
  • Stop the further spread of contamination by keeping the area contained as best as possible.
  • Be sure to use personal protective equipment such as facemasks, rubber gloves and boots, and impervious coveralls if you have to go into the area.
  • Turn off all electrical power to your home of the affected area.
  • Turn off the water supply and any running water into the home or area.
  • DO NOT use the HVAC unit to ventilate the area because that can spread microbes through the air. If possible, open windows in the affected area to get airflow.
  • Remove any dry, uncontaminated items out of the area.

Dealing with any water damage is stressful, but especially when it is sewer water. Mammoth Restoration and Cleaning is an Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certified (IICRC) Firm with experience in sewage remediation and water damage restoration. We are available to home and business owners in Columbus for 24/7 emergency response and all water damage restoration needs. Let us help take the stress off your hands, and ensure that your home is restored properly.

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