When you're dealing with flood damage in your home, your goals are to get everything dried out and cleaned up as soon as possible. You may not be thinking about what kind of threats contaminated water may pose to your structure and family.
The professionals at ServiceMaster Restore® want to make sure you're not exposing yourself or your family to potential risks if water damage occurs. Learn about what Category 3 water is and how it could pose a serious safety hazard with the following information.
How are water damage categories classified?
Just as a variety of problems can lead to water damage, the water damage clean-up process requires different safety procedures. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has set up three different categories of water damage based on the types of contaminants that may be present:
This type of water damage originates from a sanitary source and doesn't pose a threat if consumed by humans or animals. However, Category 1 water may become contaminated if it comes into contact with other surfaces or materials.
Dirty water from a dishwasher or washing machine classifies as Category 2 water damage. This type of water could pose a health risk to humans and animals due to some degree of contamination.
Commonly referred to as black water, Category 3 is the most dangerous type of water contamination. Often originating from sewage or rising flood water, Category 3 water contamination may pose a significant health risk to animals and humans because it may contain toxic chemicals, ground debris or a variety of disease-causing organisms.
How category 3 water can affect your home and health
Category 3 water damage is more than just raw sewage; it's water that contains a significant level of contamination. When a home is contaminated with Category 3 water, extensive damage to materials and the home's structure can develop unless prompt action is taken.
Besides the risk of damage to your home, any type of water damage can lead to mold growth if the issue isn't remedied within just 24 to 48 hours. Mold can easily hide behind walls, within the ceiling and underneath carpets. If left untreated for long periods of time, you and your family members may experience mold-related health problems, including symptoms that range from allergies to asthma attacks.
Dangers of category 3 water: Diseases and illnesses
Floodwater is a common source of Category 3 water damage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after a flood, "Microbial exposure is a concern because wastewater treatment plants, residential septic systems, municipal sanitary sewer systems, and agricultural operations can be affected by flood waters and can contaminate flooded areas."
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises that exposure to Category 3 water such as floodwater can lead to a variety of diseases and illnesses, including:
- Gastrointestinal infections
- Wound infections
- Respiratory infections
- Upper respiratory symptoms
- Skin rashes
- Infectious hepatitis
To prevent exposure to dangerous pathogens, anything in your home that has been touched by Category 3 water must be removed.
Why you should call the experts after category 3 exposure
Category 3 flooding in a home requires professional water damage mitigation and restoration services. Ordinary clean-up procedures can't address the hazardous contaminants that may seep into porous structures of your home. The longer the water sits, the more dangerous the problem can be for you and your family.
Any home is susceptible to water damage, but there are steps you can take to be prepared before a major issue arises. First, learn about the top causes of water damage and how you can prevent them. Then, become more familiar with the different types of contaminated water.
Finally, reach out to the experts at ServiceMaster Restore as soon as the need arises. We'll use industry-proven methods and equipment to get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our contaminated water clean-up services.