The Categories of Water Damage
Aaron’s Restoration is a member of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning & Restoration. According to IICRC Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration, there are three categories of water damage to buildings.
Category 1 Water Damage Cleanup – Clean Water
Water that originates directly from a sanitary source is considered Category 1 water damage.
When Humans are exposed to Category 1 Water Damage – through the skin, inhaled or ingested – it does not cause harm to humans. Category 1 Water Damage is free of harmful bacteria or toxins.
Examples of Category 1 Water Damage:
- Burst water supply pipes
- melted ice or snow
- rain water
- tub or sink overflows
Category 1 water, however, may become contaminated as it mixes with dirt, passes through walls, decking, subflooring or picks up toxins or bacteria. Time and temperature can also cause bacteria to grow in Category 1 water.
Category 2 Water Damage – Gray Water
Category 2 Water has with bacteria present, but does not contain solid waste. Category 2 water can cause discomfort or sickness if inhaled or ingested by humans or pets.
Examples of Category 2 Water Damage:
- dishwashers or washing machine overflow
- toilet bowl overflows (urine without feces)
- seepage due to hydrostatic pressure
- sump pump failure or backup
Category 3 Water Damage – Black Water
Category 3 Water contains pathogenic agents and toxins. Category 3 water can cause extreme illness – or even death – ingested or consumed by humans. Sewage contains fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Exposure to sewage is particularly dangerous for people with weak immune systems,
Examples of Category 3 Water Damage:
- raw sewage and sewer backup
- burst waste disposal pipes
- toilet bowl overflows (with feces)
- ground surface water
- rising water from rivers or streams.
When you experience water damage, the longer you wait, the worse it can get. Never allow the water to sit because the risk of bio-hazard increases with time and temperature. In less than 2 or 3 days, category 1 water can turn into category 2 water – and eventually it will become category 3 water as other bacteria and pathogens begin to grow and multiply.