Determining the Category of Water Damage
IICRC S500 Standard Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration defines three categories of water. Category refers to the type of water affecting the structure.
A Category I loss is where water originates from a sanitary water source and does not pose substantial risk from dermal, ingestion or inhalation exposure.
A Category II loss is when water contains a significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. Category II water can contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms. Examples of Category II are: Discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, overflows from washing machines, overflows from toilet bowls on the room side of the trap with some urine.
Category III water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents and can cause significant adverse reactions to humans if contacted or consumed. Examples of Category III water are: Sewage, Flood water, and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment, such as wind-driven rain from hurricanes, tropical storms or other weather-related events.
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