Flooding isn’t just a disaster in and of itself — it’s the sort of emergency that can bring with it a whole slew of health hazards and impacts on indoor air quality depending on the source of the water and the cause of its presence.
In short, coming into contact with such contamination should never be taken lightly, regardless of what position in the industry you may hold. Moreover, ensuring that a water loss remediation process is completed comprehensively and successfully using InstaScope is key in ensuring the long-term health of both a building and its inhabitants.
Types of Water Contamination
According to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), water contamination can be separated into three distinct categories depending on the severity of the pollution:
- Category 1: Also known as “clean water,” category 1 water contamination is the least hazardous type of contamination. This type of flooding usually occurs as a result of rainwater, melting snow, an overflow of one’s tubs or sinks, broken toilet tanks, or appliance/supply line malfunctions.
- Category 2: Category 2 contamination, otherwise referred to as “gray water,” features an element of biological or chemical contamination, if not some mix of the two. Thus, it is far more hazardous to those who come into contact with it and may cause illness if ingested. Examples of category 2 water contamination include toilet bowl overflows with some urine (but no fecal matter), pump failures, and washing machine or dishwashing machine malfunctions. Category 2 contamination can become category 3 contamination if not handled within several hours.
- Category 3: Category 3 contamination is the most hazardous form of water contamination, and is also referred to as “black water.” The reason this final category is so dangerous is that it is polluted with fecal matter or other pollutants that contain bacteria, pathogens, and/or harmful chemicals. Category 3 contamination can cause disease and frequently stems from raw sewage, rising water from nearby streams or rivers, or rainwater mixed with sewage.
How Water Contamination is Cleaned/Remediated
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided professionals with a comprehensive flooding guide, cross-referencing a variety of safety materials as provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the IICRC, and more.
In it, the EPA specifies that all guidance documents encourage various methods of the following:
- Remove water and dry all water-damaged/exposed surfaces and items as soon as possible.
- Remove porous materials and discard them as necessary.
- Disinfect hard surfaces with the relevant chemicals and resources.
- Clean and disinfect any HVAC equipment that has been exposed to contamination.
- Use bleach if and when applicable (uses vary by the professional guide being followed), but always be careful not to mix bleach with ammonia.
Understanding the Aftermath
After a qualified professional has completed the water removal and remediation process, there is still always the risk that leftover bacteria, pathogens, or other airborne contaminants will remain.
Thus, the IICRC’s S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration recommends hiring a third party to conduct testing after the remediation has taken place.
InstaScope is the ideal state-of-the-art technology to follow IICRC recommendations to verify the effectiveness of water loss remediation. InstaScope operates in real-time and assesses airborne contaminants (including that of mold, bacteria, viruses, and pollen) using innovative biofluorescent technology. It is also capable of comparing the airborne biological loads to identify potentially harmful airborne particulate matter between one given space and another.
If you are a professional remediator, building manager, or indoor air quality technician, the InstaScope can provide you with instantaneous results that can enhance your business model and inform decisions on the job. Are you ready to find out for yourself? Simply contact DetectionTek today by calling 720-410-7030 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to get started!