Dry Out Hazards Following a Flood or Water Incursion

November 30, 2012
Water damage in a structure can result in damaged equipment, personal belongings and structural damage.  A water incursion can even create an indoor environment that could be hazardous to building occupants and restoration workers.  Depending on the water source, it may contain bacteria, viruses, mold, chemicals, and even protozoa.    Even water damage due to clean water, known as Category 1 Water, can result in mold growth in as short as 24 hours. Category 2 Water, also known as Grey Water, typically contains a significant amount of biological or physical contaminants that can cause sickness when humans are exposed or if it is accidently consumed.  Examples include toilet water with no feces, sump pump failures, and water discharged from a dishwashers or washing machine. Category 2 Water, that is not promptly removed or has remained stagnant for 48–72 hours, may at times be reclassified as Category 3 Water.    Category 3 Water, also known as Black Water, is grossly contaminated. It may contain harmful pathogens, microbes, and chemicals that could cause illness. Sources include sewage, seawater (like from Hurricane Sandy), rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Whenever water enters a building, no matter the source, it’s important to have it safely removed as quickly as possible.  During the drying process other contaminates already in the building may also cause a health hazard.  Buildings with materials that contain asbestos or lead based paints may become aerosolized during the drying process as portions of walls, ceilings and flooring may have to be partially removed or even demolished. If not conducted properly, the drying process can result in airborne contaminants being spread throughout a property, even into areas not damaged by the water incursion.  These contaminants may include mold and bacteria, viruses and protozoa, lead and asbestos, and chemical contaminants. Another concern when water is present is the risk of electrocution.  Drying equipment and fans need a source of electricity.  If the electricity is out of service, generators may be brought in which also carry the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning if not properly vented. The cleanup of mold following these types of water events is common.  Visit www.fastmoldremoval.com to find chemicals such as MMR mold stain remover and Shockwave disinfectant – along with application equipment and personal protective gear necessary to ensure proper cleanup.