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Water Damage Losses

Types and Sources

Water losses fall into one of three categories. Determining these categories is the key; this will ensure you introduce the proper drying techniques. This also designates what can and can not be restored.

Clean Water

Water losses from category 1 originate from a source not posing substantial harm to humans.

Sources of category 1 water may include; broken water supply lines, sink overflows with no contaminants, appliance malfunctions involving water supply lines. Or the likes of melting snow, falling rainwater. Also water from broken toilet tanks, and toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives.

If left untreated for 72 hours, as a result; Category 1 water becomes Category 2 water.

Gray Water

This water contains a significant level of contamination. It has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans.

Category 2 water carries microorganisms and nutrients for microorganisms. Its sources may include discharge or overflows from any of the following but not limited too; dishwashers, washing machines. Or from items such as toilet bowls (with some urine but no feces); sump pump failures; seepage due to hydrostatic pressure; and broken aquariums.

Gray water may contain chemicals, contaminants, and other forms of contamination; including physical hazards and is unsuitable for consumption. When affected with category 2 water, carpet padding needs to be removed and properly disposed of.

If left untreated, Category 2 water becomes Category 3 water in 48 hours or less.

Black Water

Blackwater contains the pathogenic agent. It is also grossly unsanitary.

Category 3 water includes; sewage and other contaminated water sources entering or affecting the indoor environment. Sources may be toilet backflows that originate from beyond the toilet trap. Along with all forms of flooding from seawater, ground surface water, and rising water from both rivers and streams. These types of water carry silt and organic matter into structures and create black water conditions.

The health of workers and occupants is the most important consideration when dealing with sewage backflows. Always remove and properly dispose of both carpet and padding affected by a Category 3 water losses.


When a regulated material is present—in any water damage situation; a specialized expert may be necessary to assist in damage assessment, and government regulations will apply.

Water LossesRegulated materials may consequently pose potential or recognized health hazards and risks. These may include, however, are not limited to arsenic, mercury, lead, asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, fuels, solvents, caustic chemicals, and radiological residues.

Call Flood on 09-489 5599 or 0800  783 266

Consumer information by Graeme Stephens of Flood Restoration.

Flood Auckland has proudly been providing professional flood drying services since 1987.