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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What is Category 3 water and why is is dangerous?

10/11/2021 (Permalink)

What is CAT 3 Water? This is a very common questions that we hear from our customers and clients especially following a major flood, storm or hurricane. The word CAT is short for category and there are 3 different types when it comes to water inside of a home, business or structure that we focus on. Category 1 water is originated from a sanitary or potable water source and does not pose a substantial risk if humans are exposed to it, otherwise known as clean water. Examples of category 1 water is water from water supply lines, melting snow or ice, rainwater, toilet tanks and toilet bowls without contaminants. In the case of a category 1 water damage a restoration company can realistically salvage and dry any of the affected materials including carpet, drywall, carpet padding, hard wood flooring and other porous building materials.

Category 2 water contains a significant amount of contamination and may actually cause illness or infection if exposed to it. Category 2 water can potentially contain unsafe levels of various bacteria, viruses or mold and nutrients for the microorganism and other contaminants, otherwise known as grey water. Examples of Category 2 water are washing machine / dishwasher overflow, aquariums, damaged water beds, urine filled toilet bowls and hydrostatic pressure seepage from foundation slabs. Most building materials that are affected by category 2 water should be removed and the open spaces should be HEPA-VAC’ed and cleaned with anti-microbial solutions to disinfect the affected materials.

Category 3 water is widely referred to as black water. The IICRC defines Category 3 water damage as water that is “grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents that can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed”.  Some examples of Category 3 water are sewage of any type, seawater, waste line back flows that originate beyond the trap, rising waters from river or streams and wind driven rain from hurricanes / tropical storms. All affected building materials including insulation, carpet, carpet padding, cushions, hard wood floors and laminate flooring from a category 3 water intrusion should be removed from the property due to contamination.

I hope this blog helped you understand the difference between the major categories of water and most importantly the dangers inherent in the classification of Category 3 water. Category 3 water is potentially harmful for you and your family and should only be handled and remediated by restoration professionals. If you have any questions or needs for our remediation services please contact SERVPRO of East Baton Rouge at (225)753-3434.

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