Categories of Water – Part 2

Category 2

Water that does carry a significant degree of chemical, biological and/or physical contamination is said to be Category 2.  Aquarium leaks, waterbed leaks, toilet bowl overflows that contain urine, dishwasher and clothes water discharges, and water which enters the structure through hydrostatic pressure. 

With Category 2 water losses, special steps and procedures are necessary in order to return the structure to a pre-loss condition.  Hot water extraction must be executed and the underlay of the carpet must be removed and disposed of.  Antimicrobials should also be used to mitigate growth of microorganisms especially when there are porous materials that are to be cleaned and restored. 

Category 3

When water intrusion results from a grossly unsanitary source, or carries pathogenic agents, it is said to be category 3.  Examples of Category 3 water sources include discharge from toilets that originate from beyond the trap, sewer or septic system, and intrusions from the surface of ground water into the structure like flood water.

Many procedures are necessary to address cleanliness and safety when dealing with category 3 water losses.  Worker and occupant health and safety are the first priority on such losses as they are considered potentially hazardous. 

Individuals with compromised immune systems, individuals who have undergone recent surgery or chemotherapy, and those whose immune systems are suppressed by conditions such as AIDS should be evacuated from the structure until it has been judged safe for occupancy. 

Various cleaning and decontamination procedures must be applied, while surfaces that are to be restored must be thoroughly cleaned.  Category 3 loss, like all other losses requires immediate action, but materials that have been affected by this type of loss will most likely be discarded, unless those items can be restored, but the process is quite expensive.  Appropriate biocides during and after the demolition process should be implemented to help control microorganisms while increasing the cleaning process.   Be sure to check your contractors certifications and insurance prior to hiring anyone for a water loss.  Hiring an uninsured contractor, or one that doesn’t have the proper training and certification needed for such remediation projects could result in thousands of dollars in damage.

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About the author: Joe Fiorilli