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Black Water: What Is It And Why You Don't Want To Clean It Up Yourself

If you experience a serious sewer breakage that floods black water into your home, you may try to clean up the destruction yourself to save money. However, you should avoid this at all costs. Because of where it comes from and what it contains, black water is the most dangerous and deadly type of water damage or flooding to occur in homes. Instead of cutting corners and cleaning up the mess yourself, contact a professional flood restoration team to do it for you. Here's what you need to know about black water and why it's critical that you don't remove it on your own.

What's Black Water?

Black water is one of three types of liquids to damage homes during a flood. The other types are clean water and grey water. Flood water is categorized by how dangerous it is to humans and animals. For instance:

  • Clean water is clear and won't harm you, especially if you accidentally ingest it. This type of water comes from places that still contain clean, usable and drinkable water, such as broken kitchen faucets and bathtub leaks.
  • Grey water isn't drinkable or usable. The water contains things that can potentially harm you, such as urine, bleach and soap detergent. 
  • Black water is not safe to drink, use or touch. The water contains hazardous bacteria, parasites and other infectious contaminants that come from feces, raw sewage and stagnant water.

Black water has the potential to cause numerous health problems, such as severe intestinal infections and cramps, if you consume it. In worst cases, the water can enter the digestive system, attack your organs and cause death.

Now that you know why black water is unsafe and not something you should clean up on your own, it's time to find out how it floods into your home.

Where Does Black Water Come From?

Black water can come from outside or inside the home. If the damage occurs outside your house, it's most likely due to a severe seasonal storm, such as hurricane or tornado, that pulled up, struck or crushed a sewer line somewhere on your property. In this case, the water pools around the house and until it floods or soaks into the foundation of the home, including the walls and basement.

Sometimes, tree roots wrap around the sewer lines in your yard until they burst open. Tree roots seek out sewer pipelines because they contain a viable water source. To get to the water, the roots break through the lines by squeezing them. If the damage lines lead to the bathroom, black water could potentially mix with the soil and flood back into the house.

When the black water damage occurs inside your home, it's often due to a busted pipeline in your bathroom that released sewage into the home. The bathroom's sewer lines build up with raw sewage over time. If you don't have your bathroom plumbing cleaned out regularly by a professional plumber, the build up can place pressure on the lines until they break open.

If you experienced one or more of the issues above, you need to speak with a restoration team. The team can repair the broken sewer lines, as well as clean up the black water safely.

How Is Black Water Really Removed?

Removing black water isn't simple. Restoration technicians employ a number of safety protocols during the cleanup. The first and most important thing to do is stop the flooding by repairing the damaged sewer lines and drying up the soil. Depending on where and how the damage occurred, it may take a day or more to repair the lines.

Once contractors secure the outside of your property, they enter your home and tackle the black water damage. Because black damage contains hazardous substances, it's important that your restoration contractors sanitize your home. To do so, contractors use special probes and meters to access the water damage in your home's foundation. The equipment measures or looks for the:

Quantity of Water Present in Your Foundation

Knowing how much water is inside the home's walls, flooring and other areas helps the contractors use the right drying equipment to remove it. The drying process may take longer than a few days to do, especially if the black penetrated the entire home.

Types of Contaminants Found in the Black Water

The contractors may use chemicals, such as bactericides, that treat and kill bacteria, parasites and other dangerous contaminants individually. Some chemicals only work on specific contaminants, so it's critical that the restoration contractors know what they're dealing with before they begin sanitizing your home.

Once the contractors, like Central Flood Management Inc, restore your home back to a safe and comfortable environment, you should monitor and maintenance the sewer lines in and around the house regularly. It may help protect your home from future flooding, if you know about any damages or potential problems ahead of time.