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The Three Types of Water Damage

November 21, 2018 | Bre Bakan

Uh oh! Did a pipe burst? Experience flooding?

We know the feeling. Sopping up water from who-knows-where is a disgusting job. Not to mention that the water you clean up could be seriously contaminated. Don’t worry though! We have a handy way to tell what type of water you’re dealing with. While there are three types of water damage, only one is grossly unsanitary.

Category 1 which is essentially clear water, is relatively harmless. This damage stems from a malfunction of a water source that is – you guessed it – clean! It poses no threat to humans or animals. We don’t suggest swimming in it by any means, but it’s safe to clean up without the help of a company designed to deal with it. Even though clear water is practically harmless, we do suggest cleaning it up as soon as possible. What may start out as category 1 can quickly turn into category 2 if left untouched.

Possible causes for category 1 water damage:

  • Sink / Bathtub Overflow
  • Broken Water Line
  • Appliance Malfunction

Category 2 or grey water, may contain contaminants. If you find yourself or (most likely) your pets drinking it, expect to get sick or have some discomfort. This type of water damage is usually caused by sump pump failures, dishwasher discharge, or toilet runoff (urine only).

Take caution when cleaning up these messes. Wear gloves, try not to touch it directly and definitely do not drink it. Better yet, call up a local restoration company and have them help you out.

Possible causes for category 2 water damage:

  • Snow/rain fall
  • Dishwasher overflow
  • Toilet overflow

Category 3, or black water, is incredibly hazardous to human and animal health. This type of water stems from catastrophe events, see hurricanes or flash floods. This water is grossly unsanitary and is almost exclusively comprised of sewage based components. It can contain any number of parasites, viruses, and bacteria. Do not drink, do not touch and call a restoration company for aid.

Possible causes for category 3 or Black Water Damage:

  • Sewage
  • Flood Waters
  • Ground Water

An important note that while we refer to levels as “clear, grey or black”, we are referencing the level of hazards in the water. These names do not necessarily indicate the color of the water.

With all water damage, be sure to clean it up quickly and effectively. For Category 2 and 3, it’s best to call a local restoration company to help you out.