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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

A Look at How Floodwaters Are Classified

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

Moping Up Flood Mess

The water involved in water damage is not always the same. There are three different classifications for water that causes damage: clean, gray and black. If you ever find yourself in a water damage situation, by understanding the differences in these types of water, you can be better able to handle that situation.

It will not matter which of the three types of water is involved; there will always be a cleanup and restoration process that will follow. The first—and most important—step to take is to be sure to quickly remove all the moisture and damp items to inhibit mold growth in an ideal environment.

Understanding Clean Water

Much like its name infers, this water is considered “clean” and free of contaminants, not the type to pose an immediate threat to your health. This water can come from:

  • 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, “gray” water.

Understanding 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.

Examples of gray water is water from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. The 48-hour exposure time will apply here as well, as gray water turning into dangerous black water if not properly and quickly treated.

Understanding Black Water

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:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • 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.

These three classifications of floodwater are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), which certifies and sets the standards to be followed in 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 Henderson/Boulder City 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 today at: 702-564-8508

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