Learning About the 3 Classifications of Floodwaters | SERVPRO® of Wilson County
You may consider all water causing damage as the same, but there are three different classifications of water that cause water damage: clean, gray and black. When you understand the differences in these types of water, you will also understand how to better handle a water damage situation.
It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused the water damage because there will always have to be a cleanup and restoration process that follows. The most important thing to do first is to remove all the moisture and damp items quickly because this is mold’s favorite environment to grow and flourish.
Much like the name states, this water is considered “clean” and not any kind of water that would pose an immediate health threat. It is free of contaminants and will be water from:
- Broken water lines
- Malfunctioning appliances
- Toilet holding tanks
- Snow melt and rainwater
The damage from clean water is the easiest type of water damage to work with since there will be fewer microbes living in the water. However, after 48 hours and following contact with the surfaces of a building, clean water can move up to category two, gray water.
Gray water starts to make the water damage cleanup and restoration a bit more tedious as it may be water that could pose a health risk, due to it containing chemical or biological contamination. The slight contamination in gray water means the water should be thoroughly treated before being safe for consumption.
Gray water, for example, is water from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. The 48-hour exposure time applies here as well, because if left untreated, gray water will become black water.
Black water is highly contaminated water and is the most serious of the three classifications and will contain harmful chemicals and biological matter.
This would include floodwaters that contain soil and any type of sewage waters. Sewage harbors contamination from microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more—many of these can be hazardous to humans.
An example of diseases that are transmitted by black water are:
- Gastroenteritis-type illnesses
Remember, when it comes to floods, treat all waters as black water since it picks up contaminants along its path.
These three classifications of floodwater are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), an organization that certifies and sets the standard for the cleaning and restoration industry. 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 Wilson 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!