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For homeowners water damage is always a kind of “natural disaster”, no matter how big it is, or how much damage it causes. However, professionals look at it differently – they have created a special classification of water damage types that helps them assess the difficulty of the situation and see what measures need to be taken to treat it.

Typically, water damages fall into three categories:

1) Category one – “clean water”
“Clean water” is self-explanatory – it is clear and comes from a source that most likely is not contaminated by harmful microorganisms, thus posing no threat to people. Usually clean water comes from sink or bathtub overflows, broken water supply lines, or appliance malfunctions.
It can be treated with simple water extraction, clean up, and drying procedures.

2) Category two – “grey water”
“Grey water” may contain chemical, biological or physical contamination, such as various kinds of bacteria that may cause discomfort or sickness to anyone exposed to this kind of water damage. “Category two” water damage can be caused by sump pump failure, water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, toilet clogging, rainfall or snow.
Furniture, appliances and other personal belongings affected by “grey water” in most cases have to be discarded, though some exceptions can be made, depending on the type of material and the level of contamination. 

3) Category three – “black water”
“Black water” is considered highly dangerous, as it may be grossly contaminated and may cause severe health issues to people exposed to it by any way. This category includes water from sewage, ground surface water, water from rivers or streams, and standing water. “Black water” may contain pesticides, heavy metals or toxic organic substances. It usually has specific smell, and has to be treated with caution.

Anything affected by “category three” water damage can no longer be used, and has to be discarded as garbage. Removal of “black water” also requires special personal protective equipment, including disposable coveralls, full-face masks, heavy-duty hands and feet protection, etc. 

Depending on the category of water damage, restoration companies use different removal methods and cleaning techniques. Restoration measures also depend on the amount of water, and its stagnation period. Even a clean “category one” water can be treated as “category three”, if not taken care of for 48 hours or more after water damage happened.

Regardless of the source of water, it is extremely important to take measures to eliminate this problem as soon as possible. Over time, water damages can result in expensive repair bills, ruined carpets, destroyed furniture and electronics. Other consequences, such as mold growth, can also occur. Besides, procrastinating may complicate your relations with insurance companies, costing you more money in the end. 

Contacting a certified water damage restoration company is the safest and the most efficient way to take care of you water damage emergency! Water damages, especially “category two” and “category three”, require special training and extensive experience, in order to eliminate the existing hazards and prevent secondary damage.


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