Tuesday, September 02, 2014
   
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Types of Water Losses

Category 1

Clean Water

Category 2

Gray Water

Category 3

Black Water

Referred to as “clean water.” Clean water originates from a source that does not pose substantial harm to humans. Examples of clean water sources may include, but are not limited to, broken water supply lines, sprinkler systems, tub or sink overflows with no contaminants, appliance malfunctions involving water supply lines, melting ice or snow, falling rainwater, broken toilet tanks and toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives. Note that the clean water that has contact with structural surfaces and content materials deteriorate in cleanliness as it dissolves and mixes with soils and other bio-contaminants.

* Time and temperature aggravate category 1 water contamination levels significantly. Clean water in flooded structures that remains untreated for longer than 48 hours may change to category 2 – gray water.

Referred to as “gray water.” Gray water contains a significant level of contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans. Gray water carries microorganisms and nutrients for microorganisms. Examples of gray water sources may include, but are not limited to, discharge from dishwashers or washing machine, overflows from washing machines, overflows from toilet bowls with some urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic pressure, broken aquariums and punctured water beds. Gray water may contain chemicals, bio-contaminants (fungal, bacterial, viral, algae) and other forms of contamination including physical hazards.

* Time and temperature aggravate category 2 water contamination levels significantly. Gray water in flooded structures that remains untreated for longer than 48 hours may change to category 3 – black water.

Referred to as “black water.” Black water contains pathogenic agents and is grossly unsanitary. Black water includes sewage and other contaminated water sources entering or affecting the indoor environment. Category 2 water that is not removed promptly from the structural may be re-classified as category 3 water. Toilet backflows that originate from beyond the toilet trap is considered black water contamination, regardless of visible content or color.

Includes all forms of flooding from seawater, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams. Such water sources carry silt and organic matter into structures and create black water conditions. Additionally, the water is considered to be category 3 water; in situations where structural materials and/or contents have been contaminated with such contaminants as pesticides, heavy metals, or toxic organic substances.

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