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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Understanding the 3 Water Classifications | SERVPRO® of Northeast Bronx

3/5/2019 (Permalink)

Understanding the 3 Water Classifications | SERVPRO® of Northeast Bronx

Even though it is easy to assume that all water causing damage is the same, there are three completely different classifications for these waters: clean water, gray water and black water. By having an understanding of these different types of water, you will be better equipped to handle a water damage situation.

There will always be the task of cleanup and restoration regardless of what type of water has caused the damage. The first, and most important, step to take is to remove all moisture and damp items quickly, so that mold cannot take advantage of this ideal environment and begin to flourish.

Clean Water

Clean water pretty much sums up this first category in its name. It is considered “clean” and free of contaminants and is not the type to pose an immediate threat to your health. This type of water can come from:

  • Broken water lines
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Toilet holding tanks
  • Snow melt and rainwater

This will be the easiest kind of water damage to deal with because it contains fewer microbes in the water, but after just 48 hours and building surface contact, clean water can move up very quickly to category two, “gray” water.

Gray Water

Gray water requires a more involved water damage cleanup and restoration process because this is water that may pose a health risk, due to containing chemical or biological contamination. That slight amount of contamination in gray water means that it will need to be thoroughly treated before it is safely consumable.

Gray water can usually be likened to the kind that comes from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. Here, again, the 48-hour exposure time rule applies as gray water can quickly turn into black water if not treated.

Black Water

Black water, which would include floodwaters and water containing sewage, is the most serious of the three classifications, and it is considered highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter such as sewage.

Sewage is contaminated with microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more, and can be hazardous to humans.

Some diseases transmitted by black water are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroenteritis-type illnesses

Remember to treat all waters related to floods as black water since as it makes its way along its path, it picks up contaminants and hazardous materials.

All three distinct classifications of floodwater are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), 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 Northeast Bronx 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!

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