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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Identifying Black Water

4/27/2019 (Permalink)

Water that has made contact with sewage, sewer lines, or other forms of biological waste is designated black water by the IICRC standards.

After a serious residential flooding event in Oakville, MO the cleanup process may require you to correctly distinguish between different levels of water contamination. Consider the following procedures and water damage remediation measures when confronted with dirty water in your home.

1. Gray Water

Not all types of standing water receive the “black” designation. Under normal circumstances, water that flows from the sink or bath is termed “gray water” and does not need to undergo the same rigorous treatment process. This is because the amount of chemical and organic contaminants is lower in water that is merely used for washing. Irrigation water, such as the kind used in sprinkler systems or collected in rain barrels from roof runoff, is also typically gray water. After minor flooding, any backed-up liquids coming from these systems can usually be safely removed by hand as long as proper skin protection is maintained during water damage repair.

2. Sewage and Other Sources

Water that has made contact with sewage, sewer lines, or other forms of biological waste is designated black water by the IICRC standards. This means that a qualified HVAC service or restoration professional should perform the bulk of the cleanup. Just because the standing water is currently in the sink or tub does not automatically downgrade it to the less-problematic gray water category. Because flood water usually pervades entire floors of your home, sewage tends to contaminate any contiguous pools and pockets, making the entire water body black. To be safe, only personnel equipped with a hazmat-style protective suit and respirator should attempt to drain and clean surfaces affected by sewage.

Water damage from residential flooding doesn’t have to bring your daily routine to a halt. Whether your problem results from clogged drains, severe weather, or broken mains, you can take the first steps toward a solution by correctly identifying and avoiding black water.

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