What is Blackwater?

Blackwater flooding in a home or business requires professional water damage clean up and treatment. Blackwater, a Category 3 water, poses a serious health threat against humans and animals through both exposure and ingestion.Blackwater is to be distinguished from greywater which is the wastewater generated from washing food, clothes and dishware, as well as from bathing, but not from toilets.

Blackwater vs. Sewage

Put simply, sewage is blackwater. The IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (IICRC S500) provides the following examples of blackwater: “sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, [and] ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes.” Blackwater is sewage from a toilet overflow with feces as well as any “stagnant liquid that has begun to support bacterial growth,” states the IICRC.

Dangers of Blackwater: Disease and Illness

People and animals may become sick from inhaling any blackwater droplets and from dermatological contact on the skin (especially if you have any open cuts, wounds or rashes.) Severe illness also can occur if you or your pets drink or eat anything contaminated with blackwater. Blackwater is never potable and should be avoided.

Diseases and illness that can be caused by ingestion or exposure to blackwater include, but are not limited to, hepatitis, cryptosporidiosis, gastroenteritis, giardiasis, leptospirosis, wound infections and symptoms such as high fever, diarrhea, severe dehydration, abdominal pain, chills and loss of appetite.

According to IN.gov, “Campylobacteriosis is the most common diarrheal illness in the United States.” It’s a common infection suffered after ingesting blackwater or sewage contaminated water. If this bacterial infection spreads to the bloodstream it can become life threatening.

Because of the numerous dangers of blackwater exposure, we recommend you leave blackwater remediation to the professionals.
The faster water extraction, sanitization and drying can begin, the faster your life can return back to normal. That’s why it’s important to call for help as soon as possible after suffering blackwater damage. A professional service can help determine what can be saved and what cannot.


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