Water losses, such as overflowed toilets and sewage issues aren’t only a hassle, they can become a danger to your health very rapidly. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) classifies this into 3 categories.
Category 1 - “Clean water” is water that comes from a clean source, such as a supply line, faucet or the tank of a toilet. If category 1 water is not treated quickly it can progress into category 2 or 3 and become very hazardous to your health.
Category 2 - “Gray water” is water that is contaminated and is not safe to consume or touch. Category 2 water may come from the inside of a washing machine that contains detergent, water that has been sitting for a few hours to a day, but does not have a smell or discoloration.
Category 3 - "Black or "Sewage water" Black Water damage is water damage to a home or business is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness to both humans and pets. When you experience a category 3 water damage you will need professional help. Removing sewage requires using personal protective equipment. This type of water damage can carry bacteria, viruses and mold and coming in contact with it can be very hazardous.
A water loss can change from a Category 1 to a Category 2 to a Category 3 water loss depending on time and contaminants that the water comes in contact with. For example, if the water is from a clean water source and sits un-remediated for say a day or 2, an odor can be smelled. Usually nothing visually will be seen at this point. This is typical of changing to a Category 2 water loss. If left longer, microbial growth will occur and be seen visually and the odor will become much greater. At this point it can be deemed a Category 3 water loss. Similarly, if a water loss occurs on a second floor and seeps down through the ceiling of the first floor, hitting contaminated insulation in-between, it may turn to a Category 2 or a Category 3 water loss.
Category 3 (black or sewage water) poses serious health issues and therefore needs to be remediated in a special way. When we remediate, relative to carpet removal, the IICRC states that in a Category 1 water loss carpet and pad can be dried in place. In a Category 2 water loss, the pad needs to be removed but the carpet can be saved. In a Category 3 water loss that the carpet and pad must be removed. Additionally, in a Category 3 water loss anything non-structural and porous needs to be removed, not dried in place (i.e. drywall touching the CAT 3 water, cabinet boxes, baseboards, trim material, etc.) Structural components such as stud walls and joists can be saved, dried, and remediated with a combination of antimicrobial application and surfactants.
When water damaged materials are treated right away, you can prevent further damage from occurring. This can save flooring and furniture that would be further damaged by staying wet. By taking these simple steps you can help prevent your belongings from becoming any more damaged before our technicians arrives: