We Handle Sewage, Gray Water and Storm Water
Unlike simple water damage, sewage and gray water damage is often hazardous. Raw sewage contains bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause serious health issues because it is not only a solid waste, but also an airborne one, and can be inhaled and/or ingested. If left untreated, it is possible for the bacteria to be transmitted throughout a home or business by simple contact with clothing or shoes.
While most would recognize sewage from its odor or appearance, the reality is that contamination can be very diluted and have little or no odor and appear to be fresh water. The IICRC has published a definitive guide which categorizes black or unsanitary water as any water which has entered a building from an outside source. This could include floodwater, water from a drain or toilet, or any water that may have been in contact with soil or other possibly contaminated surface. We remove sewage and gray water.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Treat all water-impacted surfaces and furnishings as toxic until properly decontaminated.
- Keep children and pets out of contaminated areas.
- Track contaminated material into undamaged areas.
- Attempt to decontaminate surfaces with sprays and other over-the-counter germicidal products, which may not fully disinfect contaminated surfaces.
- Pack out any salvageable contents.
- Extract contaminated fluids.
- Remove non-salvageable bacteria-infected items.
- Sanitize and deodorize contaminated materials that remain.
Types of Water Contamination
Referred to as “clean water.” Clean water originates from a source that does not pose substantial harm to humans. Examples of clean water sources may include, but are not limited to: broken water supply lines, sprinkler systems, tub or sink overflows with no contaminants, appliance malfunctions involving water supply lines, melting ice or snow, falling rainwater, broken toilet tanks and toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives. Note that the clean water that has contact with structural surfaces and content materials deteriorate in cleanliness as it dissolves and mixes with soils and other bio-contaminants.
* Time and temperature aggravate category 1 water contamination levels significantly. Clean water in flooded structures that remains untreated for longer than 48 hours may change to category 2 – gray water.
Referred to as “gray water.” Gray water contains a significant level of contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans. Gray water carries microorganisms and nutrients for microorganisms. Examples of gray water sources may include, but are not limited to: discharge from dishwashers or washing machine, overflows from washing machines, overflows from toilet bowls with some urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic pressure, broken aquariums and punctured water beds. Gray water may contain chemicals, bio-contaminants (fungal, bacterial, viral, algae) and other forms of contamination, including physical hazards.
* Time and temperature aggravate category 2 water contamination levels significantly. Gray water in flooded structures that remains untreated for longer than 48 hours may change to category 3 – black water.
Referred to as “black water.” Black water contains pathogenic agents and is grossly unsanitary. Black water includes sewage and other contaminated water sources entering or affecting the indoor environment. Category 2 water that is not removed promptly from the structural may be re-classified as category 3 water. Toilet backflows that originate from beyond the toilet trap are considered black water contamination, regardless of visible content or color.
*Includes all forms of flooding from seawater, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams. Such water sources carry silt and organic matter into structures and create black water conditions. Additionally, the water is considered to be category 3 water in situations where structural materials and/or contents have been contaminated with such contaminants as pesticides, heavy metals or toxic organic substances.