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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What Kind of Water Damage is your Water Damage?

8/8/2017 (Permalink)

There are three categories of water contamination. Don't let a clean water damage turn into a fetid germ utopia.

When you have a water intrusion in your home or business there are many factors at play which will affect what needs to be done in order to make it "Like it never even happened." One of the first determinations we make on the site of a residential or commercial water damage is the waters level of contamination. The level of contamination, along with the specific circumstances of the job, will dictate what actions need to be taken during the remediation process. Essentially the cleaner the water, the more we can save instead of throwing away and replacing building materials; which means a cheaper, less invasive, and shorter job altogether.

In the restoration industry the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (or IICRC) is the organization which sets the restoration industries standards and practices. It is the IICRC’s standards that we follow to ensure every water mitigation and remediation job we tackle is done correctly. When it comes to the sanitary level of water there are three levels: 

  • Category 1: Clean and Sanitary. Typically comes from a sanitary source such as faucet, toilet tanks, drinking fountains, or water heaters.
  • Category 2: Grey Water which can cause illness or discomfort if ingested. Typical sources are dish washers, washing machine overflows, flush from sink drains, or toilet overflows with urine (no feces)
  • Category 3: Black Water is grossly unsanitary which could cause severe illness or death if ingested. This includes sewer backups, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow with feces, and stagnant liquid which has supported microbial growth.

These categories are also time dependent so a flood caused by a drinking fountain (Category 1 clean water) will become contaminated category 2 water after 48 hours. Another 24 hours after that it becomes a category 3 loss. This change in category means a tremendous difference in the scope of work, cost of remediation, and time of job. 

Take Michael as an example; a clean water pipe broke in his basement while he was at work and now he has wet carpets and wet drywall. At the moment it is a category 1 loss and as long as the carpet pad does not have a vapor barrier we do not even need to pull the carpet back, the carpet, carpet pad and drywall can all be dried in place with minimal disturbance to his day to day.  

If Michael waits 48 hours to give us a call now the water is a category 2 loss meaning we have to pull back all the affected carpet, remove and dispose of the affected carpet pad and apply an antimicrobial to the carpet and subfloor. As far as the walls and other materials go they may need to be cut out and removed based on the unique circumstances of the loss or how saturated the materials have become. 

If Michael waits another 24 hours to give us a call now we are dealing with a category 3 loss so both the affected carpet pad and the carpet must be cut out and removed. The affected walls will most likely be severely saturated and contaminated and will most likely need to be removed. All furniture and items left in that water will need to be cleaned and sanitized with the possibility that many items will not be able to be saved. 

Waiting to take care of water damage is a bad idea that can cost you money, time and cause a lot of hassle. That is why we serve Wichita 24 hours a day 7 days a week so that as soon as disaster strikes we can be there for you. Give us a call, we are here to help.

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