Whether taking preventive steps, carrying out water damage restoration, or making insurance claims, you should know about the three categories of water damage. Understanding each category of water damage will help you work more seamlessly with a water damage restoration company should the need arise.
The three categories of water damage are based on the source of water and the contaminants in the water. The level of cleanliness is an essential factor in determining how dangerous water damage is.
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is responsible for classifying the different categories of water damage. Remember that this classification refers to contamination; from its original source and interaction with other materials.
Some people refer to these categories as clean, grey, and black water. These terms are not official, however, they can be used to remember the degree of cleanliness for each category.
The Categories of Water Damage
The IICRC Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration and (IICRC S500) defines the 3 categories of water. These categories are:
- Category 1 Water Damage: Sanitary or ‘Clean Water’
- Category 2 Water Damage: Significantly Contaminated or ‘Gray Water’
- Category 3 Water Damage: Grossly Contaminated or ‘Black Water’
What do the three categories of water damage mean? Below, we will discuss the definitions for each category and how they affect the water restoration process.
Category 1 Water Damage: Sanitary or ‘Clean Water’
The IICRC S500 explains Category 1 water with a clean source. It doesn’t pose a significant risk to human health from ingestion, inhalation, or dermal exposure.
Water from the following sources fall into Category 1 water:
- Toilet tanks free of chemicals
- Toilet bowls without contaminants
- Water supply lines
- Melting ice/snow
Category 1 water comes from a clean water source and should not pose any serious health risk. That is why it is also called ‘clean water.’
How does category 1 water damage affect the water restoration process? This requires drying and salvaging. You should get a restoration service to salvage and dry the affected areas and material. It is theoretically possible to recover carpets, pads, hardwood flooring, wet drywall, and other materials affected by category 1 water damage.
Category 2 Water Damage: Significantly Contaminated or ‘Gray Water’
The IICRC S500 explains Category 2 water as water that has been significantly contaminated and can cause sickness or discomfort if it is consumed or gets in contact with humans.
Water from the following sources fall into Category 2 water:
- Broken aquariums
- Damaged water beds
- Hydrostatic pressure seepage (occurs commonly in basements or slabs)
- Discharge or overflow from dishwasher/washing machine
- Overflow from a toilet bowl containing urine
Category 2 water is significantly contaminated due to its source. It also poses significant risks to human health and comfort.
How does category 2 water damage affect the water restoration process? Category 2 water damage requires removal and disinfection of the affected materials. A professional water restoration service uses HEPA vacuuming and an anti-microbial spray to sanitize the affected materials. Drying and salvaging will also take place.
Category 3 Water Damage: – Grossly Contaminated or ‘Black Water’
The IICRC S500 explains Category 3 water as highly contaminated water. It contains harmful contaminants such as toxigenic, pathogenic, or other dangerous agents. This water can cause severe adverse reactions from ingestion, inhalation, or dermal exposure.
Water from the following sources fall into Category 3 water:
- Water from over-flooded rivers/streams
- Wind-driven rain from tropical storms/hurricanes
- Waste line back-flows that flow from beyond the trap
Category 3 water contains harmful agents, thereby posing an extreme risk to human health. That is why it is also called ‘Blackwater.’
How does category 3 water damage affect the water restoration process in Hoschton, GA?
The cosmetic materials in the affected areas must be removed. These include hardwood flooring, carpet padding, insulation, cushions, carpet, and drywall. A professional water restoration service uses HEPA vacuuming and an anti-microbial spray to sanitize the affected materials. After that, drying and salvaging will also take place.
What Category of Water Damage Requires Professional Remediation Services?
Regardless of the category of water damage, you should hire a water restoration service to handle the damage. Category 1 water damage can worsen into category 2 or 3. This happens as the water encounters mold or remains unattended for more than 24 hours.
Furthermore, the volume of water loss can also affect the water restoration process. Unique drying methods are used when there is a large volume of water, even if it is category 1 water damage.
If you have a water damage problem in your home or commercial property, call a water restoration service at once.
Rising Water In Your Indoor Environment? Call Matrix Mitigation Today
Our team at Matrix Mitigation understands that your structural materials are at substantial risk when it comes to rising water due to broken pipes, washing machines, sink overflows, sump pump matters, and more.
We understand water damage, mold growth, bacteria growth, and a higher level of property damage are significant issues within your home or business.
Matrix Mitigation Services is located in Hoschton, GA. We are here to assist Northeast Georgia residents with all water damage restoration needs, and to prevent further damage that results from various causes.
A fast response is critical to a successful restoration if you’re dealing with water damage. So don’t delay! Call our team at Matrix Mitigation for a free estimate and fast response. Contact us at (762) 221-5585.