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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

An Introduction to the 3 Water Classifications | SERVPRO® of Garden Grove East/Anaheim Central

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Understanding the difference between the types of water involved in water damage can help you better understand how to handle the situation. It is easy to think that all water causing damage is the same, but there are three different classifications of water involved: clean, gray and black.

No matter what type of water is involved in the damage, there is always going to be a cleanup and restoration process that follows. The first and most important step you must take is to remove all the moisture and damp items quickly, so that mold cannot begin to flourish in its ideal environment.

Clean Water

Much like the name says, this water is considered “clean” because it is free from contaminants and will not necessarily be the type to pose an immediate threat to your health. You will generally be dealing with clean water with the following:

  • Broken water lines
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Toilet holding tanks
  • Snow melt and rainwater

This is the easiest type of water damage to work with, as there will be fewer microbes living in the water, but after 48 hours and following contact with building surfaces, clean water then becomes a category two type of water, “gray” water.

Gray Water

In a gray water damage situation, cleanup and restoration can become a bit more tedious and serious. This is water that may pose a health risk, because it will contain some chemical or biological contamination. Because there is that slight contamination in gray water, it means that it would need to be thoroughly treated before being safe to consume.

Gray water can be a product of dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. The 48-hour exposure time applies here, as well, because if gray water is left untreated, it then becomes black water.

Black Water

Black water is the most serious of the three classifications, and the utmost precaution must be taken when dealing with it because it will be highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter.

This type of water includes floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters. Sewage is filled with harmful microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more—many of these can be harmful to humans.

Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroenteritis-type illnesses

The rule of thumb here is to remember that when it comes to floods, all water should be considered to be black water since it is picking up all kinds of contaminants along its path.

All of these classifications of water involved in water damage are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our technicians all study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration and are available to help determine the steps to take to get your home back to normal.

It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO® of Garden Grove East/Anaheim Central is here to help get the situation under control and make it "Like it never even happened." Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need emergency cleanup and restoration services!

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