From a leaky pipe to a full-on flood, there are many different sources of water damage. Any type of water damage in your home can be extremely difficult and expensive to repair. However, flood water damage comes with its own unique risks that are not shared by other types of water damage. One major risk with floodwater damage is that floodwater can be severely contaminated with dirt and mud, waste products, bacteria, harmful chemicals, and more. The contaminants in flood water can increase the water damage it causes to your home and can pose serious health risks to anyone who comes into direct contact with the contaminated floodwater.
Keep reading to learn more about flood water and learn what you should do and should not do if potentially contaminated floodwater leaks into your home and causes water damage to your property.
Why is Flood Water Contaminated?
Water that leaks from your home plumbing system—such as from a burst pipe—has already been processed, filtered, and purified before it flows into the pipes in your home plumbing system. Although even the cleanest water can cause severe water damage to the inside of your home, water that comes from the pipes in your home plumbing system is usually not contaminated and is generally considered safe to handle.
Flood water, on the other hand, is a wild card. The difference between water damage from floodwater and water damage from water that leaks directly from the pipes in your home plumbing system is that floodwater is not filtered, purified, or processed in any way before it seeps into your home.
Flooding can disrupt water purification and sewage disposal systems in your area, which can cause floodwater to be contaminated by sewage, bacteria, and chemicals. Plus, flood water can also pick up random traces of toxic chemicals, sewage, bacteria, dirt, mud, and debris outside before it flows into your home.
Not all floodwater is contaminated to a dangerous degree. However, it can be very difficult to know for sure whether or not floodwater is contaminated—so it is best for your own safety to assume that all floodwater includes potentially harmful toxins and treat it as such to avoid risk with floodwater.
Can Items Damaged by Contaminated Flood Water Be Saved?
Since flood water is oftentimes contaminated, can items that are damaged by potentially contaminated floodwater be saved if they have not sustained enough damage to be rendered unsalvageable? Physical damage is also a risk with floodwater.
If your home has flooded to some degree, your first instinct might be to rush into your home to try to save as many material items as you can before they are too damaged to be restored. However, it is important to take care when handling material items—including small items, pieces of furniture, rugs, etc.—that have been damaged by floodwater.
Any porous materials that have sustained extended contact with the floodwater in your home—which is usually considered to be 24 hours or more of direct contact with the flood water—should be disposed of as soon as possible. There is no way to clean and disinfect porous materials deeply enough to be certain that you have removed all traces of contaminated water from these materials. Porous materials include rugs, mattresses, clothes, and upholstered furniture.
Items that can be salvaged from contaminated floodwater include items that are made from non-porous materials such as hard plastic, porcelain, glass, or concrete. However, these items should be thoroughly dried, cleaned, and disinfected before they are placed back in your home.
How to Deal With Contaminated Flood Water
Unless you have the necessary skills and experience to deal with contaminated floodwater safely, you should not attempt to remove contaminated floodwater from your home on your own.
In fact, if your home has flooded, stay out of it if at all possible so that you don’t put yourself in dangerous risk with floodwater. Entering a severely flooded home is generally not worth the risks it poses. Instead of attempting to deal with contaminated floodwater on your own, call in a professional plumbing company to remove the contaminated floodwater from your home and repair the water damage it has caused.
If you are located in Southern California in or around Riverside County, give Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing a call for all of your flood damage service needs. This family-owned professional plumbing company with more than 30 years of experience in the plumbing industry specializes in repairing even the most severe cases of residential water damage. Their team members have all of the tools, skills, and experience they need to safely and successfully deal with potentially contaminated floodwater.
This professional plumbing company also offers 24/7 emergency services, which you can take advantage of in order to restore as many items from your flooded home as possible before they have enough contact with floodwater to become unsalvageable.
If you are in need of flood damage services near Riverside County, give Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing a call or visit their website to learn more about the flood damage services they offer.