Not all flood water is the same.  The proper protocol for flood response varies depending on the category of water present.

The categories of water refer to the level of contamination of the water considering its originating source and quality after it comes into contact with building materials. The categories of water can be broken down by the following:

Category I is water from a clean or sanitary source.  These can include water from water supply lines, clean water from a toilet tank or bowl, faucets and bottled water.  Although it may be from a clean source originally, Category I water can quickly degrade into Category II or III depending on such factors as time and contact with contaminates.

Category II is water with some level of contamination that could cause discomfort or illness if ingested.  Sources for Category II water could include washing machine overflow, toilet overflow with some urine (but no feces) and dishwasher overflow.  As with Category I , Category II can degrade to Category III with time and/or contact with contaminates.

Category III water is grossly unsanitary and could cause severe illness or even death if ingested.  Sources for Category III water include, but are not limited to, sewage, flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, and standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.

When it comes to flood response where black water or category 3 water is present, time is even more so of the essence. Time and temperature could also change the category of water - Porous materials that could be saved if category 1 or 2 are not salvageable if affected by category 3 water OR if they degrade to a category 3 water loss.

Clean up and restoration of a category 3 or black water flood event requires a detailed process, proper use of personal protective equipment, and should only be done by an IICRC Certified Water Damage Restoration Technician. 

Personal Protective Equipment

Our Structural Drying Process in Response to Black Water

  1. Initial extraction or gross removal of standing water
  2. Establish containment to ensure ZERO contamination of surrounding, unaffected areas
  3. Remove contaminated building materials, items that cannot be salvaged
  4. Pressure Clean affected, salvageable materials
  5. Dry to Dry Standard -  Return every wet surface or building material to the same level of moisture content it had before it got wet
  6. Hepa Vacuum
  7. Wet wipe all surfaces
  8. Hepa Vacuum again to ensure 

As you can see, properly responding to a category 3 or black water flood event is a detailed process that goes beyond just wiping up or extracting the standing water you can see with the naked eye.  The harmful pathogens present in black water feed on and spread through porous building materials easily and quickly.  Do not sacrifice your health or the health of your building occupants by exposing yourself to harmful viruses present in category 3 water damage by trying to clean it up yourself.

 If you experience a flood or water damage, please call the professionals at Premier Restoration Hawaii for immediate response to reduce your chances of exposure to harmful pathogens and hidden mold growth as well as to save your property from further damages.