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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Avoid Exposure to Category 3 Black Water

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

Cartoon of a person watching an overflowed toilet Overflowing toilets are considered category 2 water.

When your house is flooding, designations such as "gray" or "black" water may not be in your first thoughts. However, before anyone begins addressing cleanup and repairs, you need to understand the hazards that accompany the categories of water:

  • Category 1 Water is clean (or drinkable) water. Water dripping from the bathroom faucet or splashing out of the tub doesn't pose a serious risk to you or your home as you dry and repair the area.
  • Category 2 Water is often called gray water. This water may contain soap residue or similar substances. It often comes from overflowing toilets or a damaged dishwasher.
  • Category 3 Water poses the greatest risk and is called black water. This type of water may carry sewage, hazardous chemicals, and other contaminants. The dangers of exposure to category 3 water are significant. This contamination may happen when the sewer backs up or when rising rivers and other bodies of water flood into your home.

Other factors, such as the duration of exposure and the temperature, may affect the category of water in your home. For example, clean water absorbed by a sofa and left for several days will become gray water as it picks up chemicals from the furniture.

Sources of Hazardous Water

Any flooding and water damage from broken pipes, backed sewage systems, and natural flooding must be addressed by trained professionals. The contaminated water may carry pathogens related to the Norovirus, Hepatitis B, and tuberculosis. These pathogens and other bacteria may be transferred to you through direct exposure to the water and some may be airborne.

A Safe Response to Contamination

Professionals use protective gear when performing sewage cleanup and flood repairs, often including gloves, masks, and disposable coveralls. Technicians are trained in industry standards for cleaning and sanitizing the property to limit further contamination and mold growth.
The health risks that accompany black water are serious. The better you understand the potential risks, the better you can make decisions about repairs and cleanup in your Bountiful, UT, home.

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