Do you know there are three different categories of water sources for water damage?
Category 1—Clean Water A building damaged by clean water or treated water is the least contaminated type of water damage. By definition, clean water is “clean” because it likely poses no substantial risk to human health. The source of clean water normally does not contain microbes in concentration or kind that would pose substantial health threats. For clean water to remain in the “clean” category, it must not come into contact with structure or materials that would result in harmful microbial contamination. Given enough time, clean water damages can produce reservoirs of microbes. The longer clean water is present in a structure, the more likely conditions will develop where microbes (such as bacteria and fungi) grow rapidly and attack human health. High humidity increases the concentrations of bacteria and fungi in the air. Warm temperatures allow microbe colonies to expand.
Category 2—Gray Water Gray water contains a significant level of contamination that could potentially threaten human health or cause discomfort. Clean water damages can develop higher levels of contamination and become gray water damages if not removed promptly. Over time, water becomes more contaminated with biological contamination, and the danger to human health increases. Spores from fungi and bacteria can be inhaled, causing allergies or disease. Water is also classified as gray water when contaminated with chemicals or other types of matter.
Category 3—Black Water Black water is the most contaminated type of water damage and, therefore, the most threatening to human health. Contaminants include not only human waste products, but also dangerous chemicals. Black water situations always contain pathogens, which are disease-causing agents, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and even parasites. Being exposed to microbes from black water can result in infectious diseases, allergies, and toxic poisoning. Viruses can grow and multiply only in living cells. Sewage contains hundreds of viruses that can be transmitted to humans by hands contacting the mouth, by inhaling airborne viruses, and by ingesting contaminated foods and liquids. Once infected, humans can suffer diarrhea, infections of the respiratory tract, eyes, stomach or intestines. Sewage contains the hepatitus A virus that causes inflammation of the liver. Parasites are organisms living on or in another organism. Sewage may contain parasites such as the tapeworm that lives in human intestines. The helminth worm, one of various parasites in sewage, can cause intestinal disease in humans. Bacteria found in sewage are extremely virulent and able to overcome our bodies’ defenses. Such bacteria as Salmonella and E. coli release poisonous toxins as their cells die and cause health problems like diarrhea and food poisoning. Unprotected restoration professionals and building residents are at risk since bacteria are dispersed into the air when sewage-contaminated materials, particularly carpet, are extracted.