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What is Blackwater

Water Damage
Author: ServiceMaster Restore

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.

Blackwater, more commonly known as category 3 water as categorized by the IICRC, can be particularly harmful and could expose you and 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.


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.


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
  • Dysentery
  • Infectious hepatitis

To prevent exposure to dangerous pathogens, anything in your home that has been touched by Category 3 water must be removed.


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.

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.

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