When a water disaster strikes your home or business, it is crucial to identify the SOURCE of the water. This enables you to stop the source of water, then allows us to plan how to best remediate the disaster.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) groups sources of water into three categories:

Category of Water

Cleanliness of Water

Poses Health Risks*

Contains Unsafe Microorganisms or Chemicals

Category 1




Category 2

Significantly Contaminated



Category 3

Grossly Contaminated



*A person’s health may be affected by ingesting, inhaling, or touching the contaminated water.

It is important to note that a category of water can worsen over time. For example, water from a clean source (Category 1) could become significantly contaminated (Category 2). Potential causes could include contact of water with old and/or dirtied building materials, contact with soil (or other contaminants), stagnant water sitting over time, the original cleanliness of the home/business, and so forth.

Water disasters are rarely a Category 1. Even if the water originally came from a clean source, it becomes contaminated once it contacts building materials and/or sits for a period in your home/business.

Unfortunately, there are many sources of water that cause damage in a home or business. These include:

  • Sewer back-up
  • Sump pump failure in the basement
  • Frozen pipes
  • Roof ice-damming
  • Cracks in the roof or outer walls that let moisture in
  • Foundation seepage
  • Leakage from damaged pipes, worn hoses, or damaged fittings
  • Sewer ejector pump failure
  • Bathtub/sink/toilet overflow
  • Broken gutters or downspouts
  • Appliance (refrigerator, washing machine, water heater, dishwasher) overflow
  • Over-the-ground flooding from natural disasters

Learn more about a specific source of water and how to prevent it from causing water damage. Click above to explore!