When your house floods, the water can wreak havoc on the structure of the house, your personal belongings, and the health of the inside environment. Flood waters contain many contaminants, debris and sometimes mud. Even with just an inch of water, for example: flooring, baseboard, appliances, and furniture are all susceptible to costly repairs. A more severe storm or deeper flood may add damage to even more expensive systems, like: ducts, the heater and air conditioner, roofing, private sewage and well systems, utilities, and the foundation.
There are three categories used to classify water losses that occur in structures. Educating yourself on the differences, can help you make safe and smart decisions for you and your family, should you have to experience a flood in your home. The more severe the source of water the more likely you will need to relocate while you allow the situation to be properly handled.
Below we briefly describe each of the three categories and offers some examples.
Category 1 Water
Water that is described as category 1 comes from a source of water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and classified as clean water. It is clean because it is liquid that is coming from a clean and sanitary source. Examples are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows, toilet tanks or appliance malfunctions that involves water supply lines. Examples of appliances with water supply lines are water heaters, and refrigerators.
Category 2 Water
This category of water can sometimes be called grey water. This means that it contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to. This type carries micro organisms and nutrients of micro organisms. Examples are toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines. The quantity of time that the water has been sitting for is another factor that can change a supply line water loss from Category 1 water to Category 2 water. The longer water is stagnant, the more prone it is to grow harmful agents.
Category 3 Water
Category 3 is known as black water and is very harmful. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort, sickness or death if ingested. Category 3 are contaminated water sources that affect the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Category 2 water or grey water that is not promptly removed from the structure and/or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 water. Toilet back flows that originates from beyond the toilet tank is considered black water contamination regardless of visible content or color.
It is always best to contact a flood damage expert to help determine the cause of the flood and if there is any potential of it reaching Category 3 water.