Different categories of water
Category 1- Clean Water
Water that is classified as Category 1 is commonly referred to as “clean water,” as the water’s source is sanitary and does not pose any risks from exposure. Category 1 water examples may include melting ice or snow, rainwater, and broken water supply lines. While it does not appear as though Category 1 water poses a significant risk, this water can deteriorate depending on how long microorganisms remain wet after exposure and the environment’s temperature. If the water develops an odor, its sanitation has likely worsened, dropping its classification to category 2.
Category 2- Gray Water
When water falls under Category 2, it is significantly contaminated. Upon exposure or consumption, humans can experience symptoms ranging from discomfort to sickness. A wide variety of circumstances fall under Category 2, including common household water damage situations like dishwasher discharge, washing machine overflow, and toilet bowl overflows. Category 2 water also includes a few surprises, such as punctured water beds and broken aquariums. Like Category 1 water, this water can also deteriorate to Category 3, also known as “black water.”
Category 3- Black Water
The most severely contaminated category of water according to the IICRC, Category 3 water, is commonly known as “black water.” Water of this category is grossly contaminated, according to the IICRC, and sometimes contains pathogens, toxins, or other harmful agents. Category 2 water is known to occasionally cause health concerns, but upon contacting or consuming Category 3 water, humans can experience very serious health concerns. Types of water that fall under this category include sewage, flooding that originates from seawater and rivers, as well as wind-driven rain from tropical storms or hurricanes. It is important to understand that Category 3 water is capable of carrying harmful substances like toxins and pesticides, so it is best to allow a professional to handle the situation.