categories of water damage

The 3 Categories of Water Damage

When you experience a water damage emergency in your home or property, it is important to know the category of the water. This will help you to understand which type of water is causing the damage and how unsafe it may be. There are three categories of water that predominantly refer to its source and the microbes and contaminants that the water may contain.

Knowing these categories and understanding the varying levels of damage and contamination that they cause is important in understanding the appropriate drying techniques to use as well as what items and materials can be repaired and what cannot. Here are some simple ways to figure out what type of flood damage you have on your property.

Category 1: Clean Water Damage

Clean Water Damage

Clean water refers to any water that comes from a clean source in your home. This includes water supply lines. Damage can come from these supply lines breaking, from a sink or tub overflowing or a toilet tank that has broken. Clean water often comes from a source that is not harmful if humans or pets are exposed to it.

Category 2: Gray Water Damage

Grey Water Damage

Gray water, on the other hand, is not necessarily safe to be exposed to. This category often has a considerable amount of physical, biological or chemical contaminants. Some sources of gray water include: water discharge from washing machines or dishwashers, toilets or sump pump failure.

Category 3: Black Water Damage

Black Water Damage

As you may assume by the name, black water is the most hazardous and contaminated of the three categories. Black water contains a higher level of physical, chemical or biological contaminants. This can include organic contaminants such as harmful bacteria, fungi and other microbes. In homes, the most common source of this can be sewage and standing/stagnant water. It can however come from seawater, overflow from rivers and streams as well as ground surface water.


At 3D Environmental, we strongly urge that any flood restoration be handled by a professional. if you find that you are dealing with flood or water damage from an unsafe source, do not hesitate to give us a call. We are certified in flood damage restoration and would love to help you get your home back in order.

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