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  • Writer's pictureBaxter Restoration

Commercial Water Damage

Types of water damage

There are multiple types of water utility grade, working grade, and drinking water. Utility grade water is raw water directly from a well or outdoor spigot. The water that runs through your home and your office is working grade water or drinking water. The terms grey water and black water are used to describe the level of contaminants in the water. Knowing the type of water that is coming from the leak will help you understand how to safely clean the affected areas. Gray water is slightly contaminated, gray water comes from washing machines, aquariums, and the dishwasher drain. This water is not safe to drink and contains harmful chemicals. Gray water left untreated will become black water. Black water is highly contaminated and comes from sewage pipes and floodwater. Black water commonly comes from backed up toilets. Black water contains numerous different types of bacteria, mold, and viruses. If black water is not treated it can cause airborne illness.

Where water damage typically occurs

To resolve your damage you must identify the origin of your leak. Water damage typically comes from a plumbing malfunction, storm damage, or roof damage. Water can seep into the drywall, insulation, and even your home and office furnishings. Water damage can vary from a minor leak that was left unattended to an unexpected burst pipe or plumbing leak. The way you treat the affected area depends on the classification of water. Grey and black water both contain contaminants. However a sink leaking in the office leaks working grade water which is non-toxic unless it comes from a washing machine or other large appliance that uses additives in the water.

Prolonged water exposure will cause your affected area to begin to mold and mildew. Mold is harmful to all who are in the office. It causes a number of respiratory problems including enhancing asthmatic symptoms and irritated eyes and skin. Mold can trigger many pre-existing conditions. It is important to keep the work environment a mold free space to protect the health of your employees and customers.

First Steps

To prevent further damage stop the leak, turn off the water supply to the building. Establish a plan for starting the water clean up. Know the severity of the damage and know if the water is toxic. When you experience water damage you must proceed with caution, the water you are exposed to may be contaminated black water. Obtain the right gear and inspect the leak further. If the water is coming from a contaminated source be sure to call for a professional’s help immediately. If the water is coming from a “safe” source such as a faucet or leaking coffee machine begin to clean the affected area. After the majority of the water is eliminated, place an HVAC fan to begin the drying process. Your space must be thoroughly cleaned and dried to prevent mold from growing. Mold begins to grow within 16 hours of exposure to moisture. Act fast and protect your employees and customers from the harmful aftermath of water damage.

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