Floodwaters are classified into three categories based on the cleanliness of the water. Understanding the different categories helps prepare you to take appropriate measures to mitigate damages, preserve your property, and protect its occupants.
As soon as you see water where it doesn’t belong on your property, determine the category, take the following safe, logical steps, and call Emergency Mitigations Services for emergency water cleanup in Kansas City.
Category 1: Clean Water
Category 1 flood waters are “clean.” This means that the water originated from a clean, unpolluted source and that it has not flowed through any space or substances that are potentially contaminating. Category 1 water does not threaten anyone’s health through contact; it is safe to touch, inhale, or ingest. The following sources of floodwater are typically considered category 1:
- Broken water supply pipes
- Tub or sink overflows that don’t contain soaps or other cleaning agents
- Leaking toilet tanks
- Broken, leaking toilet bowls that don’t include human waste or cleaning products
- Appliance water supply or hose malfunctions
- Melting ice and snow
- Falling rainwater
Category 1 water can become category 2 or 3 water depending on its path.
Category 1 floodwaters are the easiest to handle. Minimal precautions are required, though reasonable care is always recommended.
Category 1 water cleanup includes the following:
- Stop the source of the floodwater. If a weather event causes flooding, you may need to wait for the water to recede naturally.
- Remove as much water as you can using a wet/dry vac, towels, mops, etc.
- Move furniture and fixtures to a dry area to allow complete water extraction and give the items a better opportunity to dry out.
- Circulate the air by opening windows, turning on fans, and running the HVAC
- Remove remaining moisture with dehumidifiers.
Category 2: Grey Water
Category 2 floodwaters are mildly contaminated with chemical or biological matter. Contact poses a risk of illness or other discomforts. Sources of category 2 water include the following:
- Leaking washing machines or dishwashers.
- Toilet bowl overflows containing only urine.
- Tub or sink overflows containing soaps or other cleaning agents.
- Ruptured water beds
Microorganisms within category 2 water can grow with time, exponentially increasing its toxicity. Speed is essential.
It’s important to take precautions against touching, inhaling, or ingesting this water. Reasonable precautions include the following:
- Waterproof, cut resistant gloves
- Protective eyewear. Goggles are recommended as they fully protect the eyes from splashes.
- Impermeable boots
- Protective clothing
- Face mask or shield
While the basic cleanup steps are the same for all water categories, category 2 floods require sanitization as an additional step. Everything that came in contact with the water needs to be disinfected.
Category 3: Black Water
Blackwater refers to heavily contaminated water. It contains toxic elements that can cause serious health consequences in the case of contact. No type of contact is safe, but any contact should be discussed with a physician. Blackwater floods come from sources such as the following:
- Sewage or septic line backflows
- River and stream flooding
- Seawater flooding
- Severe weather such as hurricanes or tropical storms
Because black water is considered to be highly toxic, full PPE must be used, including head to toe protective impermeable clothing and a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) respirator or masks
Cleanup of black water requires professional expertise. Call EMS right away for black water removal in Kansas City.
Regardless of what category your flood is in, it’s critical to act fast. A quick response is the best way to mitigate the damages and get on a path to recovery. Our teams are standing by 24/7 to respond to any flood. Call us as soon as you see floodwaters.