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Categories of Flood Waters

Water causing damage in a building can be assigned to categories depending on its source, and the level of chemical or biological contamination it contains.

Clean water from a sink overflow, broken water or steam line, or rainwater infiltration is referred to as category 1. Water in category 1 represents the lowest health risk to building occupants and clean-up crews. Building materials and furnishings damaged by category 1 water have the best potential for being salvaged.

There is a 24 to 48 hour window of time for the response to damage from water in category 1. After this period of time, the amount of microbial growth begins to lower the water quality to that of category 2.

Category 2 is water in the large range between absolutely clean and absolutely contaminated. This water has a significant degree of contamination due to its source, from microbial growth, or from contamination after the initial release. Sources of category 2 water damage may be storm drain backups, treated cooling water, some surface water, fire suppression systems, and discharges from equipment.

Water in category 2 presents a higher risk of disease or infection to people who come into direct contact with the contaminated area. Because of the additional contaminant in the water, materials damaged by category 2 water are much more difficult to salvage.

Category 3 is highly contaminated water from sewers, some rivers, seawater, and some surface water. This water will likely contain infectious viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It has the likelihood of causing disease or infection from direct or even indirect contact. This water may also contain toxic and allergenic materials.



Moisture intrusion can be the cause of building defects, as well as health ailments for the building's occupants. Inspectors should have at least a basic understanding of how moisture may enter a building, and where problem areas commonly occur. ... Mold can only grow in the presence of high levels of moisture.

Water Damage that's not cleaned up fast and correctly can lead to additional problems, including mold growth.It must be addressed fast with in 24 - 48 hours.

Uncontrolled water intrusion into a building can originate from numerous sources.

The most common sources include: Roof leaks and condensation forming above ceilings. Pipe breaks (potable water, chilled water) Sewer line back-ups. Flooding from outside of the building. Moisture intrusion through the building envelope.

 General Mold Clean Up Considerations

Mold contaminated material is not regulated and can be disposed of as regular waste. In order to prevent the spread of mold to non-affected areas in a building, contaminated material must be removed from the work area in a sealed disposal bag or wrapped in plastic.

A commercial HEPA vacuum cleaner must be used whenever vacuuming of a work area as part of the mold remediation process is required.

Be aware that the removal of moldy material may result in an impact on asbestos particularly if carpet or plaster is involved.

Please check with a Mold inspector or remediation firm to verify whether a remediation project might also impact an asbestos containing material , particularly in buildings constructed prior to 1985. 

Whenever possible, work areas should be unoccupied during mold clean up activities. 

Removal of mold from an air conditioning system requires specialized work procedures. 


A professional should be contacted for additional information.
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