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Categories of Water Contamination

Any water even if it is clean water that soaks into carpets, soft furnishings or into the pores of the building structure of your home can quickly become unsanitary. As Queensland’s storm season is fast approaching, we wanted to share some information about the different categories of water contamination that our technicians are trained in so you can become more aware of what could potentially be or become a health hazard.

Understanding the categories of water contamination determines:

  • the best procedures to restore a home or office

  • the correct drying procedures

  • if removal of carpets & underlay are required or a strip out necessary

  • the proper cleaning & sanitisation necessary for the property to be safe to live in, which includes performing clearance testings 

Categories of Water Contamination

Water contamination is classified into three separate categories: Category 1, 2 & 3. The category of water contamination is not described by the colour of the water present, but is categorised by the source of contamination ie. Characteristics of water and the length of exposure to surfaces and contaminants that it comes in contact with.

Category 1 – Clear Water

A Category 1 water damage situation is classified as a situation where water originated from a relatively clean source that does not present substantial harm to humans.

  • Broken/leaking hot water system

  • Burst internal pipe

  • Rain that has entered through an open window

Clean water if not promptly removed has a potential to deteriorate in its cleanliness as microorganisms will start multiplying as it comes in contact with structural surfaces and mixes with other contaminants. Resulting from this, if the water is left unattended for over a 48 hour period, will generate an odour and a potential for mould growth could occur.

Category 2 – Grey Water

A Category 2 water damage situation is classified as a situation where water originated from a grey water source.

  • Discharge from a dishwasher/washing machine

  • Overflown toilet bowl that does not contain faeces

  • Overflow from a bath, shower or sink

  • Fish tank leaks

  • Water bed leaks/bursts

Grey water generally contains microorganisms that have potential to be pathogenic and varying on how it is stored can undergo changes in quality which include growth in numbers. Exposure to a grey water source has a potential to cause infection or disease in humans due to the varying levels of microorganisms. If a grey water situation is not rectified promptly the contamination levels have a potential to increase substantially and if left unattended for a period longer than 48 hours might change in its properties to a Category 3 black water situation.

Category 3 – Black Water

Category 3 water damage situations are classified as situations where water originated from a black water source. Black water poses a very significant threat to human health as it can carry a wide variety of pathogens and allergens. The severity of the health threat depends on the degree and extent of penetration into the building environment. Most common black water contamination:

  • Sewerage contamination

  • Flood waters that have entered into the house from outside

 Total decontamination and sanitisation is required to ensure the home or office is safe and liveable again. Successful cleaning of a property impacted by sewerage contamination is only complete once a final lab test results have been cleared. This final clearance testing is performed to guarantee the safety and well being of all persons residing in the property.

If your property has been affected by any water inundation and damage, contract professional, like Juvenaire to have it resolved as soon as possible as each day it is left unattended, the higher the health risk and the more expensive it becomes to dry, clean and decontaminate.

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1300 550 960