How Safe Is the Water – Three Categories of Water

How Safe Is the Water – Three Categories of Water
How Safe Is the Water – Three Categories of Water

Before trying to remove water from your water damaged home or office, read this guide to get familiar with the different categories of water, ranging from sanitary to grossly contaminated water.

When it comes to water damage restoration, it seems like it's just a matter of removing the standing water, spraying some deodorizer, and testing for mold. Here, we'll explain why the process isn't quite that simple. Before doing anything, our professionals need to understand the nature of water in your home or office.

Water damage restoration and mold remediation standards are set by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), which has broken down water into three categories. To understand the water's nature, the first step is to know what the categories represent.

Here, we'll discuss these categories in detail, and in future articles will follow up with how we help in each circumstance.

Category 1: Sanitary Water

A very common example of water damage where you'd find Category 1 water is damage due to:

This water doesn't pose much threat to the human body through exposure or ingestion. Although it's not recommended to come into contact with it or drink it, there isn't much risk to you unless it comes into contact with electrical points or deteriorates to Category 2 or 3.

If Category 1 water comes into contact with a contaminated source, such as a gutter line or other areas where there are harmful microorganisms, the water can become contaminated very easily. Depending on the temperature and duration of contact, Category 1 water can transition to Category 2 or 3 in a matter of minutes.

Category 2: Contaminated Water

As Category 1 water transitions into Category 2, it releases a malodor. Category 2 is contaminated with unsafe levels of microorganisms, other organic matter, or inorganic matter such as chemicals. Category 2 water can leak into your house because of:

If consumed, this water can lead to irritation or sickness.

Category 2 water has a much higher chance of deteriorating to Category 3 if given enough time. If the water damage is not addressed quickly, it will become a biohazard. We recommend not coming into contact with this type of water unless absolutely necessary.

Category 3: Grossly Contaminated Water

Category 3 water is grossly contaminated with pathogens, toxins and other harmful agents, and is commonly found in:

If consumed, touched or even inhaled, Category 3 water can lead to significant adverse reactions and can even lead to severe infections resulting in death. If you have reason to believe your house is contaminated by Category 3 water, we recommend staying away from the water at all costs.

If you have any questions or concerns about water or our restoration services, please call us at 609.859.5600 or fill out our contact form.

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