Contaminated Flood Waters Contain Pathogens and Dangerous Debris
When we respond to a case of flood damage due to a storm, one of the most frequent questions our technicians get is, "What is black water?", Black water is heavily contaminated water which is not only unsafe to drink but can also be hazardous simply to be around. It can be difficult to judge conditions in black water due to its typical gray, brown, or black coloration, with small particles often hiding potentially far greater hazards lying within. Here are a few things that can be found in a typical sample of black flood water.
Dirt and Soil: Typically, most of the coloration in black water comes from dirt and soil trapped within. Many cases of flood damage result from heavy storms and rain, and these floodwaters more often than not pick up significant amounts of soil before they ever reach a home. Although this dirt may sound harmless, it, in reality, makes the water much heavier and more difficult to navigate if you get caught in it.
Microorganisms in Black Water: Although the amount and type of organisms in flood can vary depending on its causes and specifics, almost all samples of black water contain very high levels of microorganisms. These may be parasites, bacteria, viruses, mold, or many other types of organism, and they may be able to cause health effects if ingested or absorbed through the skin. This is why it is never advised to drink flood waters and to seek medical attention immediately if you have.
Sharp Metal and Glass: It can be very difficult to see sharp objects in a mass of floodwater, but even if you feel you are confident that such materials are not in the water, it is best always to assume they are. Sharp materials, even if they are tiny, often constitute one of the water's greatest risks. If they open up a small cut or wound, this spot may go unnoticed by you but later on can possibly develop a bad infection. If you have been cut or had black water touch an open wound, immediately disinfect the wound and apply medical aid as needed.
SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead deals with flood damage so that you don't have to. If your home has been caught in a flood, call us at 978.744.4545 for mitigation and restoration services.