Did you know that there are different types of water damage that call for different cleanup and restoration techniques?

While we can all agree that water can be quite the menace – causing wood to rot and metal to rust while paving the way for mold to grow – it may not be common knowledge that there are actually 3 basic categories of water damage. And they all call for different remediation processes.

Determining what category of water damage is actually the second course of action when your building has suffered water damage, with the task of shutting off the water source being the first.

To provide insight on how you can determine which classification you’re dealing with, we will explore the 3 water categories as they’re defined by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

The 3 Categories of Water Damage

Category 1: “Clean Water”

As the name implies, “clean water” is not contaminated at the source and is not harmful if consumed by humans or animals. Clean water damage may result from a broken dishwasher or washing machine supply line or overflowing bathroom sink or tub.

Clean water damage can be addressed by removing the excess water and adequately drying out the affected area(s).

Any “clean water” spills left untreated for 72 hours will become “grey water.”

Category 2: “Grey Water”

Grey water contains bio-contaminants, chemicals and other forms of contamination that may lead to discomfort or illness if ingested by humans or animals. Grey water damage is often the result of a ruptured waterbed, overflowing toilet bowl with urine in it, aquarium water leak or a broken outgoing appliance supply line.

Given the safety hazards, proper remediation for grey water damage involves removing the excess water and thoroughly cleaning, disinfecting and drying the affected area(s).

“Grey water” left untreated for more than 48 hours can be classified as “black water.”

Category 3:  “Black Water”

Black water is highly contaminated at the source and poses a serious health risk (severe illness or death) to both humans and animals due to the pathogenic agents it carries. Sources of black water include sewage spills, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water, flooding from seawater or even toilet backflows originating from beyond the toilet trap.

Due to the severe safety hazards presented by black water damage, it is strongly recommended to seek the expertise of a trained professional to ensure the affected areas are properly dried, disinfected and restored as necessary.

Don’t Hesitate to Call the Water Damage Restoration Experts

If your home or office has recently suffered from water damage – regardless if it’s from clean water, gray water or black water – don’t hesitate to call a certified water damage restoration company. The faster you call, the better chance you will have at minimizing the damage.

ServiceMaster Absolute offers water damage remediation services to all of San Diego County and our qualified, IICRC certified professionals are equipped with both the knowledge and tools to handle even the largest water damage and flood related issues.