What Is Black Water Damage?

Black water damage occurs when highly contaminated water enters your home. Groundwater flooding or sewer system backups can cause black water to overflow from your toilet, kitchen sinks, dishwasher or outdoor areas into your home and contaminate surfaces. From harmful pathogens and bacteria to toxic chemicals, black water can present serious health risks, including illness and infection.

Professional cleaning is crucial when black water damage occurs. A water damage restoration professional has the specialized equipment and methods to disinfect your home properly and restore it to its original condition. When you trust a reputable company to handle your restoration needs, you can rest assured that your home is safe, clean and healthy for you and your family.

What Is Black Water?

Black water is wastewater containing harmful contamination such as human waste, grease and pathogens. Black water sewage comes from toilets, kitchen sinks and dishwashers. It contains more harmful materials than gray wastewater, which typically comes from fixtures such as showers, bathtubs, washing machines and sinks.

What Is Black Water Damage?

Black water damage is the highest level of water contamination that can occur in your home. Category one is known as clean water damage and is easy to clean. Category two is gray water damage that slightly contaminates affected areas, and black water makes up category three because it contains the following types of contamination:

  • Sewage materials such as fecal matter and urine
  • Microbes
  • Microorganisms
  • Bacteria
  • Pathogens
  • Viruses
  • Toxic gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and methane
  • Chemicals such as chlorine and pesticides
  • Mold
  • Mildew

Black water damage occurs when a water fixture such as a kitchen sink, toilet or dishwasher overflows due to a sewage system backup or groundwater flood. This causes a small or large area in your home to flood, covering surfaces, walls and furniture in contaminated water.

Is Black Water Dangerous?

Black water is highly dangerous, so you should refrain from touching it and seek professional cleaning services immediately if it enters your home. Stay clear of contaminated areas to prevent the following black water health risks:

  • Gastrointestinal illness: Bacteria like E. coli can affect the digestive system and cause serious gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Cryptosporidiosis: Cryptosporidiosis is a common infection you can contract if you ingest a parasite known as Cryptosporidium found in stool. Touching black water and then touching your face or mouth can result in developing this infection that causes diarrhea.
  • Giardiasis: Giardia is another parasite that can cause diarrhea. Fecal matter in sewage often carries this parasite, making Giardiasis a common risk of black water exposure.
  • Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the Leptospira bacteria. This disease can lead to complications such as meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, kidney damage and death.
  • Hepatitis: Hepatitis A often spreads through contaminated water, and coming into contact with black water can expose you to this illness that causes liver inflammation.
  • Campylobacteriosis: Black water often contains the Campylobacter bacteria, which causes Campylobacteriosis. Symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea and sometimes vomiting.
  • Skin or wound infection: Wound infections can develop if black water touches open skin.
  • Respiratory infections: Black water can release endotoxins into the air that cause respiratory complications.

Can Black Water Damage Your Home

Black water can damage your house, so it’s essential to contact a reputable company that can minimize damage and restore your home quickly. Contaminated water can soak into porous surfaces, making it crucial to replace affected materials such as wood or drywall to ensure your home is free of lingering bacteria.

Professionals must also pump or drain black water from your home as soon as possible to prevent toxic chemicals from corroding your plumbing system. In addition to corrosion control, this measure prevents mold from developing and spreading throughout your home.

Proper Black Water Cleanup

Only experienced professionals should clean areas that black water affects because attempting this task on your own presents serious health risks. Any object or surface that blackwater touches requires thorough cleaning and sanitizing to ensure safety. A professional has the skills, knowledge, tools and cleaning solutions to decontaminate areas effectively and eliminate harmful bacteria and pathogens.

Professional black water damage restoration protects you and your family from illness and infection following a sewer backup or groundwater flood. Professionals wear necessary PPE equipment such as waterproof clothing, boots, overalls and respirators to prevent illness during cleaning. They sanitize and disinfect every square inch of an affected area to eliminate each pathogen that black water leaves behind. ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park can restore your home with the following services:

  • Water removal: We pump water out of your home safely and rapidly to prevent further damage.
  • Packout and content restoration: Packout and content restoration services clean and restore smaller possessions in your home, such as clothing, sentimental items and electronics.
  • Odor mitigation: We use safe deodorization methods to remove the unpleasant odors and airborne pathogens black water leaves behind.
  • Mold remediation: Our specialized equipment allows us to remove existing mold and prevent further mold and mildew growth.
  • Policyholder coordination and communication: We offer enhanced policyholder coordination to help you navigate insurance claims for a smooth process.

What to Do if Your Home Has Black Water Damage

Take the following steps if black water contaminates your home:

  • Call a professional immediately: The sooner you contact a professional, the more you can minimize damage and save money on restoration costs.
  • Keep all family members and pets away from the affected area: Since pathogens and bacteria are dangerous to touch and inhale, you should keep every household member away from contaminated water and surfaces. If possible, close the doors to the affected rooms and wait outside until the area is clean.
  • Wash your skin: Clean your hands or any area of your body that touches black water immediately. You should also remove any item of clothing that touches the contaminated water.
  • Turn air vents off: Turning air vents off prevents pathogens in the affected room from spreading to other areas in your home.

Trust ServiceMaster With Your Black Water Cleanup Needs

Black water can cause serious health risks and damage your home, but professional cleaning can restore your house to its safe, beautiful condition. ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park offers cleaning, disinfection and water damage restoration services to help your family return to daily life following black water damage. We promptly and thoroughly clean affected areas and repair water-damaged materials and furniture.

ServiceMaster technicians provide 24/7 availability and are dedicated to restoring your home and peace of mind. We can start working within hours of your service request, preventing significant damage before it worsens. Contact us to learn more about water restoration and how we can get your home back to its original condition.

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