There are three major damage types that result from a wide variety of causes of water damage. These may be from a busted drinking water line, a rupture in drain waste and ventilation (DWV) pipe, a backup of a sewage line sending biologically polluted black water into a house, or a natural disaster where the estate or land is flooded by brackish runoff or seawater. These classifications are based on the degree to which the water responsible for the damage is polluted.
The three classifications for water damage are:
Class 1 Water Damage is where the water originates and is suitable for human use from a portable or sanitary source. This water is not a threat to exposure to ingestion, dermal or inhalation. Sources commonly include damaged supply lines, sprinkler systems, contaminant-free overflowing containers, or natural sources such as rain or meltwater. This is known as water that is "fresh".
Class 2 Water Damage is when there is substantial pollution in the water and if humans drink or come in contact with it, it may actually cause illness or pain. This includes dangerous amounts of micro-organisms and/or chemical or biological substances, such as diluted urine, detergents, hydrostatic pressure penetration or storage tanks that have been ruptured. This is referred to as water that is "grey."
Class 3 Water Damage is where the water is "grossly contaminated" and contains poisonous and pathogenic agents that are dangerous. Raw sewage is by far the most common "black" water abuser and can be lethal to people and harmful to home or building if the repair of sewage damage is not fully remedied. Sanitary sewage backups, brackish water from rivers and streams, overflowing seawater and all types of ingress from natural disasters are included in black water sources where pollutants such as pesticides and heavy metals are brought into a house. Prominent black mold growth is seen in wet area of home.
It is important to remember that, if not immediately remedied, one type of water damage may be multiplied into a more severe category. For organic pathogens, wet, warm and enclosed areas are ideal breeding grounds that increases health risks of the resident or the business owners. Spores easily multiply and become mold that can move a category 1 risk into costly category 3 situation that is not easy to clean in home.