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Water that has a significant degree of chemical, biological and/or physical contamination is said to be Category 2. Water sources that can result in Category 2 damage include aquarium leaks, waterbed leaks, toilet bowl overflows (that contain urine), dishwasher or clothes washer discharges, and water that enters the structure from hydrostatic pressure (from below grade). In order to remain a Category 2, water must not be allowed to dwell in the structure for an extended period of time.
When structures are affected by Category 2 water, special steps and procedures are necessary in order to return the structure to a pre-loss condition. Cleaning procedures must be employed before the drying process can continue. At a minimum, affected carpet underlay must be removed and disposed of, and carpet must be thoroughly cleaned using a hot water extraction method.
Restorers the employ appropriate antimicrobials to mitigate growth of microorganisms, especially wjhen there are porous materials that are to be cleaned and restored. As with any water intrusion, once the affected materials have been completely cleaned, thorough and rapid drying is necessary to prevent further damage.
Categories of Water and Procedures
When water intrusion results from a grossly unsanitary source or carries pathogenic (disease causing) agents, it is said to be Category 3. Examples of Category 3 water sources include discharge from toilets that originate from beyond the toilet trap (from sewer or septic system), and intrusions from the surface of ground water into the structure (flood waters).
Many procedures are necessary to address cleanliness and safety when dealing with Category 3 water intrusions.
Water from a clean source with no substantial risk of causing sickness or discomfort is said to be Category 1 water, or "clean." In order for a situation to remain a Category 1, water must not have been present for an excessive amount of time, and materials affected must be clean and well maintained. If odors are present in the structure, further investigation is necessary until the odor is found. Odors indicate that the water is not Category 1.
Examples of Category 1 water include broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows with no contaminants, and appliance malfunctions involving water supply lines.
Once the loss has been established as Category 1, structural drying process can proceed. No substantial departure from standard procedures for addressing contamination is needed. It is possible to effectively restore the structure to a pre-loss condition by thoroughly and rapidly drying materials, and by replacing only materials with permanent structural or aesthetic damage.