By Kevin Oneill

Water damage does more than damage your South Carolina property – it can also endanger your health! Whether the damage is the result of a broken pipe or a major flood, these situations should be considered emergencies as the water can contain bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illnesses.

Three types of contaminated water may be present after a water loss:

Category 1: “Clear Water”

This is water that, although fairly benign, still demands immediate action. Water loss of this kind normally occurs due to a pipe bursting or a hose coming loose from an appliance. It’s usually the easiest type to clean up because there are far fewer health hazards than the other categories. But, if it’s not treated quickly, it can rapidly turn into a category 2 or 3, depending on the amount of time that has passed, the temperature, and what the water has come into contact with. While normally clean of contaminants, it can still do an ample amount of structural damage, as well as offer the required conditions to grow mold, fungi, bacteria, and the like.

Category 2: “Gray Water”

Gray water is a little bit more serious. This is water that’s slightly contaminated due to one of two reasons:

  • The source of the water. (E.g., washing machine overflow, toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces, or dishwasher overflow.)
  • Neglect. (E.g., a water loss that started as a category 1 but sat for an extended period will become a category 2 due to contamination and bacteria growth.)

Gray water needs to be addressed within the first 48 hours before it has the chance to sit and harbor more contaminants and hazardous materials. This is where it can quickly change into black water. With any water event, the nose knows. Be aware of any musty smells as they’re a sign of bacteria-ripe conditions.

Category 3: “Black Water”

This is the most hazardous of the three types of water losses. Category 3 losses occur due to natural disasters or sewage damage. This water contains toxic materials and pathogens that are harmful to your health. It’s grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact should be avoided. It also requires a more intense remediation process to restore your South Carolina home or business to appropriate health standards.

Black water contains contaminants such as bacteria, mold, viruses, and other diseases, such as:

  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Cholera

But no matter what the source of the water damage is, it’s always best to call the professionals at Kingsley Water Damage Restoration. We have the experience and skills to handle any situation, along with the certifications, expertise, and tools needed to remove these hazards and repair the resulting damage quickly and safely. Additionally, we can also help you decide what’s safe to keep and what needs to go.