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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Water Damage Contamination Levels

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Blue background of water with the words WATER CATEGORIES in the middle Water categories

Here Is a Breakdown of The Three Categories

When water infiltrates a home, it can cause significant damage. If your Hickory Hollow, TN, home has been damaged because of a flood or a broken pipe, your actions will depend on the toxicity level of the contaminated water. This will help you make informed decisions about how to proceed.
The toxicity level depends on the source of the offending water. A broken water supply line causes much less contamination risk than floodwater or sewage. Here is a breakdown of the three categories:

Category 1

This low-toxicity level is also known as “clean water” or water that has come from clean sources. Here are some examples:

  • A leaking appliance water line
  • A broken clean water pipe
  • A leaky water heater
  • Overflowing clean water from a bathtub or shower
  • Rainwater leaking in from above ground

Your conventional homeowner’s insurance policy will generally cover damage caused by contaminated water at this low level. Your agent can outline your coverage and initiate a claim.

Category 2

This moderately toxic level of water contamination is referred to as “gray water.” It may contain small amounts of food, soil or grease. Water leaking from the drain of a shower, washing machine, sink or dishwasher is considered gray water. This level of damage is likely to be covered by your homeowner’s insurance.

Category 3

“Black water” is the name for this highly contaminated category. Common sources include seawater, sewage, groundwater or floodwater. It is not recommended that you do the cleanup yourself if you have Category 3 damage. The contaminated water may contain toxic chemicals, sewage, and physical hazards. The best strategy is to consult an emergency water remediation specialist to assess your damage and supervise the safe cleanup process.
If you experience floodwater damage, you would need to have purchased a specialized flood policy prior to the damage in order to be covered. Your insurance agent can help you determine whether you need this type of policy.
A home water-damage event can be unnerving and costly. Once you have discerned whether you have clean, gray or black water, you can get the cleanup going and begin moving your home and family back to normalcy.

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