Categories of water damage are defined by the IICRC by the waters origination source and the quality of
water after it contacts certain materials in the property.
This article will explain what that means to you as a property owner and how to classify the water
damage for your personal health and safety if you experience water damage.
Category 1 Water – originates from a sanitary water source and does not pose a substantial risk to your
Examples of Category 1 water damage include, but are not limited to:
- Broken water supply lines
- Tub or sink overflows with no contaminates
- Melting ice or snow
- Falling rain water
- Toilet supply tank overflows or cracks
- Toilet bowls that do not contain contaminates or chemicals.
Category 2 Water – contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or
sickness if contacted or consumed. Category 2 water can contain microorganisms or nutrients for
microorganisms as well as organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological).
Examples of Category 2 water damage include, but are not limited to:
- Discharge from dishwashers or washing machines
- Overflows from washing machines
- Overflows from toilet bowls on the room side of the trap with some urine but no feces
- Seepage due to hydrostatic pressure
- Broken aquariums
- Punctured water beds
It is important to note the cleanliness of Category 1 or 2 water can deteriorate for many reasons,
including but not limited to:
- Contact with building materials
- Mixing with soils and other contaminates
Category 3 Water – is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful
Examples of Category 3 water damage include, but are not limited to:
- Toilet backflows that originate from beyond the toilet trap regardless of visible color or content.
- All forms of flooding from seawater
- Ground surface water and rising from rivers and streams
- Other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment as:
- Wind-driven rain from hurricanes
- Tropical storms
- Weather related events
- Above sources carrying silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or
toxic organic substances.
- After remediation, an Indoor Environmental Professional may be necessary to evaluate and
determine if the property is safe for occupancy.
If you have experienced water damage this article will help assist you with classifying the type of water
damage you have and the health and safety risk it may pose to your family, customers or employees.
Once you have determined the category of water you should contact a professional company that is
certified by the IICRC like Integrity Building and Restoration Services to come in and evaluate the
damage and begin the restoration process.