Categories of water damage to your property are required to perform loss assessment and the appropriate degree of restoration. As defined by the IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (IICRC S500), there are three categories of water that cause damage to your property.
Category 1 – Clean Water
That which is clean at the releasing source and does not pose a hazard if consumed by humans. Category 1 water may become progressively contaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings or building assemblies (walls, decking, subflooring). Time and temperature, which promote the growth and amplification of microorganisms in water, can cause Category 1 water to degrade.
Examples: burst water pipes, failed supply lines on appliances, vertically falling rainwater.
Category 2 – Gray Water
That which begins with some degree of contamination and could cause sickness or discomfort if consumed by humans. As with Category 1 water, time and temperature can cause Category 2 water to become progressively more contaminated and change to category 3.
Examples: discharge or overflow from dishwashers or washing machines, overflows from toilet bowls with some urine (no feces), sump pump failures, broken aquariums, and punctured waterbeds.
Category 3 – Black Water
That which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans.
Examples: sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes.
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