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Are there really three categories for water damage?

Not all water is just water. In the restoration industry and many other professions use a category system when it comes to identifying water. When it comes to water damage situations, restoration companies use three categories to identify the type of water in the affected area. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) designated these three categories so restoration companies can figure out the best way to tackle a water damage event. The three water damage categories are: 

  • Category 1 – Clean Water
  • Category 2 – Gray Water
  • Category 3 – Black Water

When a restoration company like Rocky Top Restoration is called to a water damage job, the first step is to determine the category of water damage. Once the restoration technicians are aware of the type of water they are dealing with, remediation can begin. 

Category 1 – Clean Water

Probably the easiest to remediate, category 1 or clean water is exactly what it sounds like. It is water damage that is essentially clean and toxin-free. There is no trace of sewage or hazardous chemicals in the water. It is the least severe category of water damage, and restoration professionals can dry and remove this water quickly from your property. This type of water damage can come from:

  1. Broken pipes or water supply lines
  2. Sinks
  3. Bathtubs
  4. Dishwashers
  5. Ice/rain leaks

Category 1 water damage won’t leave any potential side effects and is not as dangerous as category 2 or 3. If you suspect your property has category 1 water damage, don’t panic. Contact our team at Rocky Top Restoration, and our technicians can remove it quickly. 

Category 2 – Gray Water

Category 2 water damage may or may not be harmful to your property, but this category involves gray water. This category of water damage has the potential to be contaminated with chemicals, bacteria, and/or mold. Because of that possible contamination, it is important that all affected areas and items within the area are sanitized and decontaminated. People and pets might experience some discomfort from gray water exposure, but restoration professionals can remediate the damages and disinfect the area to avoid harmful side effects from developing. 

Like clean water, gray water can also come from appliances like washing machines and sump pumps. Gray water can also come from toilets with urine only, punctured water beds, and fire sprinklers. Contact Rocky Top Restoration immediately after discovering gray water damage. If left untreated, category 2 damages can quickly become category 3. 

Category 3 – Black Water

The most dangerous and extreme form of water damage is category 3 or black water damage. This black water is extremely contaminated, containing disease-causing microorganisms, toxins and hazardous chemicals. It is unsanitary water and can lead to serious health risks and side effects if not properly taken care of immediately. Restoration professionals must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during the mitigation and remediation process to avoid any harmful risks. Residents are not allowed on the property during the cleanup process either. Sources of black water include: 

  1. Sewer backups
  2. Toilet overflow containing feces
  3. Flood waters

Serious diseases can be present in black water, so it is vital you call professionals like Rocky Top Restoration for category 3 damages. Affected areas with category 3 water have to be specially treated, and everything within that area has to be removed and disposed of quickly. Depending on what chemicals, toxins and/or diseases are present, a biocide may need to be used to kill harmful microorganisms. 

When it comes to water damage, it is in your best interest to contact local restoration professionals to handle the damages. If you believe your water damage is a category 2 or 3, call Rocky Top Restoration immediately to get started on the removal and cleanup process. We will always put your safety at the top of mind. Whatever the category of water damages, Rocky Top Restoration has the team that can help you out.