Water damage, commercial and residential combined, is a far more common issue in the US than one might expect. According to one survey, water damage from broken pipes ranks second to damage done by hurricanes, and a small leak can let out 250 gallons in one day. The consequences for the damage, depending on the level, can be catastrophic without the proper mitigation. Here are the potential categories and classifications water damage could be.
Categories of Water Damage
There are three categories of water damage that any building, whether residential or commercial, can have.
Category 1: Also known as “fresh water,” or “clean water,” this is the category of flooding in which damage is less potentially destructive. The flooding comes from a potable (drinkable) water source and does not typically have hazardous substances within it. Clean water can come from rainwater, sprinkler leaks, and broken supply lines, just to name a few. While it does not pose an immediate health threat, organisms can start to grow on it if not properly treated.
Category 2: Gray water is the next level up from clean water, having a greater level of contaminants in it. This includes water leakage containing urine, detergents, bacteria, and/or other chemical or biological matter. Gray water is, understandably, not safe for human consumption or contact.
Category 3: Water from flooding is called “black water” when it is “grossly contaminated.” Not only does black water typically come in the form of sewage spills, but it also includes brackish and seawater flooding as well. This type of water contains pathogenic and toxigenic materials, heavy metals, and pesticides, and deadly other substances.
Classifications of Water Damage
While the category of water damage refers to the type of water that came into a building, the classifications of water damage refer to the materials damaged, how much water there is, and the amount of evaporation needed.
Class 1: Class 1 refers to materials which are non-porous and therefore have little damage due to the flooding. Sealed concrete and tile are a couple of examples of surfaces which do not receive much harm from water. Little evaporation is necessary.
Class 2: Occurring with materials of medium to high porosity, water damage is more extensive. Wood and carpet can be victims, which both require more time to restore.
Class 3: The highest amount of water, porosity, and evaporation happen in Class 3. The entire area is soaked, and its materials require the most restoration.
Class 4: Class 4 situations require special cleaning services. Stormwater may be trapped in an area, or the materials may be highly porous, or both. Longer water removal and drying times, as well as specific treatments, are necessary in this case.
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