The Different Categories of Water Damage
If you’ve been a victim of water damage, dealing with the task ahead may feel like an overwhelming feat. Perhaps a pipe has burst, your washing machine has overflowed or worse yet – you’ve been a victim of flooding.
It’s important to take a step back and assess what kind of water damage you have before attempting to repair it. Interacting with the wrong category of water damage could be unsanitary and potentially hazardous without professional equipment.
To help you deal with the problem faster, we’ve comprised a quick overview of the differing levels of water damage, and the recommended steps going forward.
Category 1: Clean Water
Clean water refers to water that does not pose a significant threat to humans. They can be sourced from malfunctioning water supply lines such as broken pipes, appliances, rainwater, heating and similar. In general, clean water home floods are safe for you to clean yourself, as the water does not pose any imminent risks. However, in less than 48 hrs, standing clean water can transform into Category 2: Grey Water.
Category 2: Grey Water (Sullage)
Greywater refers to water that contains substantial levels of chemical, biological or physical pollutants. This may be caused by water that has been used for washing and includes toxins such as detergents, food residues and bacteria (dishwashers, washing machines, toilet overflows). It may also be caused by a mild weather event.
You need to take great precaution when dealing with greywater damage, especially if the area is extensive. Though it contains fewer pathogens than blackwater, it still contains toxins and can give rise to illness.
For safe cleaning and decontamination of the area, it is highly advisable to hire professionals. It is important to get in touch with professionals swiftly, as clean up should begin as soon as possible. In less than 48 hours, standing greywater can transform into Category 3: Black Water – which in some cases cause unsalvageable damage.
Category 3: Black Water
Blackwater refers to water that contains toxic chemicals, harmful bacteria and fungi causing severe discomfort or disease. Contact with this water is largely unsanitary and hazardous to humans. Blackwater can be derived from sewers, septic backflow, toilet overflow with faeces, lake or river flooding.
This is the most dangerous category of water damage, and you should NOT attempt to clean Black Water alone. If you suspect black water damage, you must call the professionals as soon as possible.
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