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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What could be traveling in storm water.

5/13/2019 (Permalink)

If flooding happens and water comes rushing into your home or business, use caustion. The flood water is likely highly contaminated. 

When we respond to a case of flood damage due to a storm, one of the most frequent concerns are, "What is in the water?". The water is typically called black water and is heavily contaminated. This water is not only unsafe to drink, but can also be hazardous simply to be around. It can be difficult to judge conditions in black water due to its typical gray, brown, or black coloration, with small particles often hiding potentially far greater hazards lying within. Here are a few things that can be found in a typical sample of black flood water. 

Dirt and Soil: Typically, most of the coloration in black water comes from dirt and soil trapped within. Many cases of flood damage result from heavy storms and rain, and these floodwaters more often than not pick up significant amounts of soil before they ever reach a home. Although this dirt may sound harmless, it, in reality it could cause much harm. 

Microorganisms in Black Water: Although the amount and type of organisms in flood can vary depending on its causes and specifics, almost all samples of black water contain very high levels of microorganisms. These may be parasites, bacteria, viruses, mold, or many other types of organism, and they may be able to cause health effects if ingested or absorbed through the skin. Yikes! This is why it is never advised to drink flood waters and try to stay out of it if all possible. 

Sharp Metal and Glass: It can be very difficult to see sharp objects floating in a mass of floodwater, which is quite scary. Even if you feel you are confident that such materials are not in the water, it is best always to assume they are. Sharp materials, even if they are tiny, often constitute one of the water's greatest risks. If you have been cut or had black water touch an open wound, immediately disinfect the wound and apply medical aid as needed. 

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