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Water Restoration Companies & How We Categorize Water Damage

Water Restoration Companies specialize in providing a resolution to any significant damage your business, multi-family complex, or home may encounter. This includes flooding, water damage, sewage back up, or any other major event where your company is facing potential safety hazards or loss. Water restoration companies should be the first responders in these events, knowing the difference between clean water, greywater, and blackwater water damage will help you determine when you should contact your restoration provider.

Clean Water

Clean water is what is safe to ingest, therefore posing little risk if it cleaned up quickly. The appearance will be completely clear. You should be able to see completely through it to be able to consider it a clean water flood. These floods can result from malfunctioning appliances, a broken water supply, toilet holding tanks, melting snow, or an abundance of rainwater. If you encounter this type of flooding and it is manageable, it is okay to clean this up yourself, but remember that time is an important factor. Standing clean water can change into greywater in as little as 48 hours and the longer the water sits, the more damage it will do. If you feel you do not have enough time to clear the water within the 48 hour time period, you should contact a water restoration company as soon as possible.

Greywater

Greywater, also known as sullage, refers to wastewater that is not contaminated with fecal matter. Floods by greywater can generally be described as a flood caused by a weather event, an overflowing plumbing fixture/appliance, or a broken pipe. This type of greywater can saturate carpeting, furniture, and drywall. All pets, children, and immunocompromised individuals should not be in areas that are experiencing greywater flooding. Even though it does not contain fecal matter, it still contains contamination that is considered unsafe. If you must clean this yourself (given it is manageable to do so), be sure to wear protective gear such as gloves. Cleanup must begin immediately, like the incident with a clean water flood, greywater can change to blackwater within 48 hours as well.

Blackwater

If you encounter blackwater, there is no question to be asked. Blackwater flooding is considered the most destructive and hazardous to encounter and should be treated as such. You must contact your water restoration company to assist you in this matter if you want to keep your customers, employees, or family members safe. Blackwater is defined as wastewater contaminated with human waste and other pathogens or toxins. Blackwater is raw sewage. It could come from flush toilets/bidets or broken sewage pipes. Blackwater, however, is not just raw sewage. It can also come from food preparation sinks, dishwashers, or any large-scale flooding that includes seawater and rising water from rivers or lakes. Any water that enters buildings from an outside source, could potentially be carrying contaminants and is should be automatically characterized as blackwater. In these instances, carpets, upholstery, and drywall are often unsalvageable due to the bacteria.

Remember that in any flooding situation, standing water is dangerous, and mold grows as soon as moisture is present. Restoration Companies should be the first responders in these scenarios and you should have a response plan made in advance to minimize structural damage. This will help ensure preservation and protection.

If there are no glaring signs of water damage, also keep a lookout for:

  • Discolored Flooring
  • Musty Smells
  • Mold
  • Flaking or Bubbling Walls
  • Increase in Utility Bills
  • Eventual Water Spots

If you see any of these signs, you should contact a water restoration company immediately.

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