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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Black Water and Your Safe Response

6/22/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a building with water damage on flooring and white walls Flooding has its risks if not managed correctly.

When flooding threatens your commercial property, it's natural to take quick action to avoid serious water damage, bad smells, and other issues. However, before you wade into the soggy situation, you need to know how to recognize black water and understand the risks involved with exposure.

Black Water and The Risks

Identify the Level of Water Contamination

Depending on the source of the water damage, your Roanoke Rapids, NC, property may be facing one or more of three basic categories of water:

  • Category 1 Clean Water
  • Category 2 Gray Water
  • Category 3 Black Water


It is generally safe for you to handle cleanup involving clean and gray water, but Category 3 water may contain sewage, dangerous chemicals, and/or harmful microbes. There may be fungal, pathogenic, and viral contaminants, as well. This water often comes from rivers and streams, from municipal sewer systems, water from used toilets in your facility, or even water that has been standing long enough to support microbial growth.

Take Steps To Improve Safety

Any cleanup and repairs involving Category 3, or black, water should always be handled by professional water damage cleanup and repair technicians. Once you've recognized contaminated water, you should take steps to protect yourself and any other people living or working on your property. As you wait for professionals to arrive, isolate the affected area, keeping it as contained as possible. This may involve shutting off your heating or cooling systems. Shut off water and power supplies connected to the area and provide some ventilation to prevent fumes from accumulating or spreading throughout the building. When professionals arrive to clean up the flood, they will use protective gear, specialized equipment, and other products to ensure that your property is thoroughly clean and safe.

Leave Contamination Cleanup to the Professionals

Water damage can cause a lot of trouble for property owners or managers, so a quick response is crucial. When it comes to category 3 water, however, all cleanup and repair work should be handled by trained, experienced professionals.

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