Brown Contaminated Floodwater

Black Water Damage — What It Is & How To Deal With It

Black water can enter your home quickly and the consequences could become dire if not treated properly. This bacteria-laced and dangerous liquid poses a real threat.

It is important as a homeowner to understand what black water damage is and be ready at the first signs to get help. At All Dry USA, we want you to be informed and ready to give us a call before things get out of hand.

What is Black Water Damage?

Water damage comes in three categories:

  1. Clean Water Damage — safe, drinkable, and uncontaminated water. Ex. A spilled glass of tap water.
  2. Gray Water Damage — this is slightly contaminated water. Ex. A leaking dishwasher or laundry machine.
  3. Black Water — seriously contaminated water. Ex. floodwaters or sewage overflow.

Black water is by far the most dangerous of these three and should be quickly cleaned and removed by professionals. It is toxic, potentially life-threatening, and crawling with microbes.

Any object touched with black water should be considered damaged and as dangerous as the water itself. This type of damage doesn’t only mean warped floorboards or ruined carpet, it means dangerous bacteria seeping into every crack. It also damages your body just as much as your house.

Sources of Black Water?

Black water can originate from all different sources. A common source is a recently used toilet overflowing. Human feces spreads disease and is laced with harmful pathogens. After a flood, water contains everything in the area, from fertilizer in the ground to overflowing sewage. All floodwaters must be treated like black water.

Along with obvious sources, black water can look perfectly clean without closer inspection. If someone is sick in your home, the laundry water becomes a biohazard risk. The instant you add infected clothes to the laundry you go from gray water to black water.  Water left in a dirty sink can also quickly become black water — food chunks and grease are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.

Black Manhole Cover

Dangers of Black Water

If you can think of a disease, it could be living in black water. E. coli and campylobacteriosis can both cause serious damage to your digestive system. If you have any open wounds, bacteria can find their way in and cause infections. It is important to practice extreme personal hygiene after exposure.

Even inhaling around black water can be enough for diseases to enter your body. If it goes untreated and dries on its own, this can lead to a build-up of black mold. Once black mold is in your home, these dangers compound and new ones will quickly follow. In fact, mold can begin to grow after less than 24 hours after exposure to water.

Black water can even damage whole ecosystems if not treated properly. Never pour it into the ground, especially if you have a well, as this could lead to a cycle of contamination. Pathogens in contaminated water do not decompose quickly and can be harmful to plants. Remember, your garden should only drink water as clean as you drink.

So What Can I Do About Black Water Damage?

Water damage needs to be addressed at the first sign. It will only get more complicated and expensive if you put it off. Thorough decontamination is the only way to remove and clean a black water-damaged home. Sanitizing black water should only be performed by trained professionals and never attempted on your own. Using your own mop and bucket could just move around the water and spread the danger further.

Dealing with black water is a several-step process:

  • First, an assessment must be made of the damage. Specialists will need to investigate all areas of your home to create a specific plan for you and your property. Black water damage is seldom isolated to one room or area.
  • Next, pools of water must be removed using powerful pumps. After the water is gone the whole damaged area must be fully dried and dehumidified.
  • A deep cleaning of everything exposed to black water follows even things that could have just been sitting in the fumes.
  • The last step is a full restoration of your home, whether that means repairing wood floors, replacing your wardrobe, or repainting your walls.

Help Is On The Way!

Luckily at All Dry USA, we know how to deal with black water. Our expert technicians use only the best equipment available. We will be with you every step of the process — we don’t just clean up, we rebuild and restore too. Speak to an expert and get a quote now.

Ben Suiskind
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