All water damage is not created equal; flooding caused by a broken pipe is different from flooding caused by backed-up sewer lines or weather events. Why? Because the water is different. Understanding the differences ensures the cleanup is handled correctly and safely. When you need 24-hour water damage repair in Kansas City, call EMS. The experts at Emergency Mitigation Services are available to handle all categories of flooding and time, day or night.
Here’s a closer look at how water damage is categorized:
Category 1: Clean Water
Category 1 floodwater is clean water that originates from a clean, unpolluted source. Clean water poses no significant risks; touching it, drinking it, or inhaling it are all considered safe. Sources of clean water flooding include the following:
- Broken supply lines to plumbing fixtures or appliances
- Sink, tub, or shower overflows that don’t involve soaps or other contaminants
- Overflowing toilet tanks or bowls free from cleaning products or human waste
- Melting snow
- Rainwater straight from the sky
Cleaning up category 1 water is relatively straightforward:
- Stop the water from flowing or wait for rising water to recede.
- Move furniture, textiles, and fixtures to protect them from the water and increase access to the area.
- Remove the water using a wet/dry vac.
- Use towels to sop up any remaining water.
- Dry the space out by opening windows, circulating the air with fans, and running dehumidifiers. Moisture monitors can help you measure your progress.
Important Note: Category 1 water becomes category 2 or 3 water when it flows through contaminated areas. Just because the water was clean when it started to flow doesn’t mean it’s still clean when you are cleaning it up—exercise reasonable caution.
Category 2: Grey Water
Greywater is water that may contain chemical or biological contaminants that have the potential to result in discomfort or illness upon contact. Sources of greywater include the following:
- Toilet overflows containing urine only
- Tub, sink, and shower overflows that have soap or other cleaning products
- Water beds
Cleaning up greywater requires personal protective equipment such as impermeable gloves, boots, and masks. Avoid direct contact with the water. In addition to the steps listed above, cleanup and damage mitigation also involves disinfecting and decontaminating anything that came in contact with the water.
Category 3: Black Water
Blackwater is heavily contaminated water. This water is known to contain potentially toxic bacteria and pathogens or other impurities such as pesticides, oil, solvents, mercury, and other caustic chemicals. Sources of black water include the following:
- Sewers and sewer lines, regardless of smell or appearance
- Septic tanks
- Rising floodwater from streams or rivers
- Rainwater during severe storms such as hurricanes
Clean up if black water flooding requires full PPE. There’s no safe contact with black water; skin contact and inhalation should be avoided at all costs. The same steps listed above must be followed for black water cleanup, but leaving the site until cleanup is completed is advised. Professional assistance is strongly recommended.
Understanding the categories of water damage helps you protect yourself and your property more effectively in the event of flooding. However, regardless of the category, taking swift action to accomplish emergency water removal in Kansas City is the most critical thing you can do. The longer any water is allowed to sit, the more damage it will do. The experts at EMS are here to help. Call us as soon as you discover water damage.