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Dealing with Contaminants in Flood Damage

Written by jsolloway on . Posted in , , .

A family is worried when they enter their basement and find grey water flooded from a storm that had just hit.  The family is worried that the flood is a potential hazard to their belongings.  Furthermore, they want to clear the damage before mold develops, as it can be harmful to their health and promote further water damage to their home.

Call for Help with Flood Cleanup

The family realized they needed to take immediate action to dispel of the flooding, though they weren’t sure of the severity of the water damage and they knew they needed to act quickly.  The family called Soil-Away Cleaning and Restoration Services, a family owned and operated cleaning and restoration service local to New Hampshire. The company offers 24-hour emergency services and specializes in water damage cleanup, fire damage cleanup, mold remediation, and carpet cleaning.  For expert care and restoration, contact Soil-Away Cleaning and Restoration at (603) 641-6555.

Restoration Services or Do it Yourself?

One of the first questions the homeowners ask is “How bad is the water damage in my home?”  Without the professionals being on site, it’s tough to gauge. That is why when the homeowner contacted Soil-Away, a representative was immediately dispatched to assess the damage and put the homeowners at peace. After a review of the property it was agreed that the water damage restoration should be handled by their highly trained professionals, as they would eliminate any messes with the safest and most thorough means.

Types of Water Damage

IICRC S500 Standard categorizes water contamination as either category 1, category 2, or category 3 depending on the severity of contamination.  The quality of water varies from the originating source, contact with materials on site, as well as time and temperature.  Listed below is a description of each category of water contamination:

  • Category 1: Water in category 1 is clear in color and originates from a sanitary source. It does not expose a risk from dermal, ingestion or inhalation exposure.  However, if left unattended for 48 hours, it can become category 2 after contact with building surfaces, materials, items, and soil.  It is important to clean up clear water as soon as possible so that it does not turn into category 2 and cause further damage to your home.


  • Category 2: This water, generally grey in color, contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort and sickness to anyone who may come into contact or consume it. Category 2 water usually comes from showers and sink drains, washer drains, dishwasher drains, and aquariums.  If this water is also left for 48 hours or more, its conditions may worsen to category 3 and cause even greater damage to your health or home.  If you are unsure what contaminants may be in category 2 water, then it is best to rely on professionals to take care of it safely.


  • Category 3: Generally black in color, this water is grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic and other harmful agents. Category 3 water results from sewage, toilet backflow from beyond the toilet trap, flooding from seawater, ground surface water, rising water from rivers and streams, and other contaminated water from extreme weather conditions.  This water can contain organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances.  What separates water from category 2 and category 3 is that category 3 contamination contains bacteria and other microorganisms.

If you suspect you contain category 3 water in your home, do not clean it up on your own by any means.  You must call professionals to take care of it immediately.

Water Damage Insurance Coverage

It is important for homeowners to understand the water damage repair process and their specific homeowner’s insurance coverage. Depending on the source of the damage some cases of flooding are not covered by homeowner’s insurance policies.  Some people may need to pay an additional fee to have flood coverage from extreme weather conditions or flooding that originates from ground water outside of the home.  It all depends on the specific plan is what their coverage offers. You should discuss and clarify with your local insurance agent.

Water Damage Restoration

In most cases of water damage restoration, it is best to contact professionals who have the proper equipment and years of experience to restore your home.  If you choose to restore your home on your own, I would advise that you contact Soil-Away Cleaning and Restoration Services (603-641-6555) before accomplishing only what is possible on your own.  Taking on a hazardous restoration project on your own can be harmful. It is important that all cases of flooding and water damage be taken with care by a professional means.
By A. Phelps

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