Understanding the 3 Water Classifications | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights
It is easy to think that all water causing damage is the same, but there are three classifications for it: clean, gray and black. Understanding the differences in these types of water can also help you understand how to better handle the situation.
No matter what type of water has caused damage, there will always be a cleanup and restoration process to follow. The most important aspect is to remove all the moisture and damp items quickly, so that mold cannot begin to flourish in its ideal environment.
Much like its name states, this water is considered “clean” and not the type to pose an immediate threat to your health. This water is free of contaminants and can come from:
- Broken water lines
- Malfunctioning appliances
- Toilet holding tanks
- Snow melt and rainwater
This is the easiest type of water damage to work with, as there will be fewer microbes living in the water, but after 48 hours and following contact with the surfaces of a building, clean water can move up to category two, which is gray water.
Gray water is where water damage cleanup and restoration can become a bit more serious. This is water that may pose a health risk, due to containing chemical or biological contamination. The slight contamination in gray water means that it would need to be thoroughly treated before being safe to consume.
Gray water can come from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. The 48-hour exposure time applies here as well, with gray water turning into black water if not treated.
Black water is the most serious of the three classifications, and is considered highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter. This would include floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.
Sewage is contaminated with microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungis and more—many of these can be harmful to humans.
Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:
- Gastroenteritis-type illnesses
Remember, when it comes to floods, all waters should be assumed to be black water since it picks up contaminants along its path.
The three 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 Alamo Heights 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!