Dangers of Cleaning Up Yourself
"My brother is sick -- diarrhea, vomiting, you name it. He got it bad."
This comment came from a customer whose brother cleaned up her condo after the toilets erupted and spilled gross water into the residence. It came as no surprise to us that her brother, untrained at the profession of water damage mitigation, would get sick.
Cleaning up after a water damage is not something to be taken lightly. Water damages, even in 'clean scenarios,' should only be handled by a trained professional, for myriad reasons. This is infinitely more true after a sewage water damage.
Called "black water" by most people, sewage technically falls in a category our industry calls "Category 3." According to the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, which writes the standards for how to handle these situations, Category 3 water is "That which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans."
Given that description, we are glad her brother only feels sick. Category 3 water can indeed pose serious health risks. Sometimes it may look clear and clean, visibly absent of solids (like feces). However Category 3 water can carry bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Giardia, Hepatitis, and many others.
SERVPRO of Miami Beach performs mold remediation. We definitely take seriously the impact mold can have on human health. However, mold can hardly compare with the damage that Category 3 water can do to a person. As one expert told us, exposure to some mold for a limited period of time may make you sick. Exposure to Category 3 water can put put you in a in a hospital . . . or a grave.