Category of Water Damage
When your home or business suffers from a storm, it’s critical to know the difference between different levels of contaminated water. There are 3 category of water, Clean (Cat 1), Gray(Cat 2) and Black (Cat 3).
Category of Water
The Categories of water as defined by this document, refer to the range of contamination in the water, considering both its originating source and its quality after it contacts material present on the job site. The time and temperature can affect or retard amplification of contaminants, thereby affecting its category. Restorers should consider potential contamination, defined as presence of undesired substances; the identity location, and quantity of which are not reflective of normal indoor environment; and can produce adverse health effects, caused damage to structure and contents, or adversely affect the operation or function of a building.
Category 1: Category 1 water originates from a sanitary water source and does not pose substantial risk from dermal, ingestion or inhalations exposure. Examples of Category 1 water source can include but are not limited to: broken water supply lines; tub or sink overflows with no contaminants; appliances malfunctions involving water-supply lines; melting ice or snow; falling rain water; broken toilet tanks; toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives.
Category 1 water can deteriorate to a Category 2 or 3. Category 1 water that flows into an uncontaminated building does not constitute an immediate change in the category. However, Category 1 water that flows into a contaminated building can constitute an immediate change in the category. Once microorganisms become wet from the water intrusion, depending on the length of time that they remain wet and the temperature, they can begin to grow in numbers and can change the category of the water. Odors can indicate that Category 1 has deteriorated.
Category 2: Category 2 water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. Category 2 water can contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological). Examples of Category 2 water can include, but are not limited to: discharge from dishwashers or washing machines; overflows from washing machines; overflows from toilet bowels on the room side of the trap with some urine but no feces; seepage due to hydro-static pressure; broken aquariums; and punctured water beds.
Category 2 water can deteriorate to Category 3. Once the microorganisms become wet from the water intrusion, depending upon the length of time that they remain wet and the temperature, they can begin to grow in numbers and can change the category of the water.
Category 3: Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic or the other harmful agents and can cause the significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed. Examples of Category 3 water can include, but not limited to: sewage; wasteline back flows that originated from beyond the trap regardless of visible content or color; all other forms of contaminated water resulting from seawater; rising waters from rivers or streams; and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment, such as wind-driven rain from hurricanes, tropical storms or other weather-related events if the carry trace levels of contaminates (e.g. pesticides or toxic organic substances).