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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Understanding the 3 Water Classifications | SERVPRO® of Pueblo

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

Understanding the 3 Water Classifications | SERVPRO® of Pueblo

Water that causes water damage is not all the same. There are three different kinds of water: clean, gray and black. When you begin to understand the differences in these types of water, you will better understand how to handle a water damage scenario.

First and foremost, quickly remove all of the moisture and damp items to inhibit the growth of mold in its ideal situation. Remember, no matter what type of water has caused damage, there will always be a cleanup and restoration process to go through.

Clean Water

As the name says, this water is free of contaminants and is considered “clean,” not the type to pose an immediate threat to your health. Examples of clean water is water from:

  • Broken water lines
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Toilet holding tanks
  • Snow melt and rainwater

This will be the easiest type of water damage to clean up after since there will be fewer microbes living in the water. After a period of 48 hours, however, and following contact with the surfaces of buildings, clean water will become a category two water, which is gray water.

Gray Water

Gray water starts to make water damage cleanup and restoration more involved. This is water that may pose a health risk because it will contain chemical and/or biological contamination. The slight contamination in gray water means that it would need to be thoroughly treated before being safe to consume.

Gray water is water that can come from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. Again, the 48-hour exposure time applies here because if not quickly and properly treated, gray water becomes black water.

Black Water

With black water, you are now involved with the most serious of the three types of water since it is considered highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter, which would include floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.

Sewage is highly contaminated with microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more, which can be harmful to humans. Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroenteritis-type illnesses

When it comes to floods, consider all waters black water since as it moves along its path, it is busy picking up contaminants from everything it encounters.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC) is an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industry and recognizes all three of these classifications of water. Our technicians all study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration and are available to help determine the steps to take to get your home back to normal.

It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO® of Pueblo is here to help get the situation under control and make it "Like it never even happened." Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need emergency cleanup and restoration services!


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