How Bad Is It? Looking at Different Categories of Water Damage

boy holding glass of dirty water

Water damage can occur from just about anything that directly or indirectly produces moisture. Everything from a broken pipe and overflowing sink to a gradual leak or heavy rains can lead to water damage. One important thing to understand about water damage is the different class and categories of damage. Not all water damage is the same, or should be treated the same, so it is important to keep in mind the type of water damage and respond appropriately. The classes of water damage have to do with the evaporation rate, size of affected area, and the material. Here is a brief look at the different categories of water damage.

Category 1-Clean Water

woman drinking water

On the scale of misery for dealing with water damage, category 1 water damage is probably pretty low. This refers to a type of water that doesn’t pose a real threat to human health. Water damage like this generally includes things like appliance malfunctions, overflows from tubs or sinks, and broken water lines, leaking roofs, and some kinds of plumbing leaks. This water damage can still be difficult to deal with and is important to address as soon as possible, but there is typically a lack of chemical and biological contaminants that can be hazardous to health

Category 2-Grey Water

dirty water from lake
This type of water damage refers to water that has some quantity of chemical, physical, or biological contaminants that can pose a threat to human health. Water damage classified as grey carries microorganisms and nutrients that supply microorganisms. This kind of water damage often includes sump pump malfunctions, dishwasher and washing machine discharges, and urine water, and some water from broken pipes. Water damage of this kind needs to be addressed immediately as it poses a significant health risk and can quickly ruin possessions. Category 2 water left stagnant can quickly become category 3.

Category 3-Black Water

dirty water going into the river

This is the worst of the tiers of water damage. Black water damage is extremely unsanitary and contains harmful bacteria, fungi, and microorganisms that can severely affect health and well being. This water damage is brought on by things like sewage water, seawater, rivers and streams, ground surface water, and other types of standing water. Water damage from this category requires professional removal and often, restoration services to make the structure habitable once again.

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