Hurricane Harvey is All About Flood Damage
Hurricane Harvey caused historic flood damage in Houston and the surrounding areas. The hazards of water are often broken down into three different categories. In the case of Hurricane Harvey, the (flood) water was labeled as a “category 3 liquid”. A category three liquid is defined as: “the worst classification and is grossly unsanitary. It could cause severe illness or death if ingested. It used to be called black water, and sources include sewer backup, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow with feces, and stagnant liquid that has begun to support bacterial growth. When dealing with category 3 water, any building material that has come into contact with it must be removed and replaced if it cannot be completely sanitized.
When water is wind-blown, it is often labeled as a “category 2 liquid”. A category two liquid is defined as: Grey water–having a level of contaminates that may cause illness or discomfort If ingested. If a building comes in contact with this type of water, it can often be remediated with fans and dehumidifiers. If it is dried out within 72 hours after the intrusion, it is not necessary to do anything else. After that, you run the risk of mold setting in which will result in having to remove materials.
Following Harvey, residents and response teams are dealing with both category 2 and category 3 water. Many of the areas were inaccessible for a long period of time due to the scale of the disaster. Because the areas were inaccessible, and because of the scale of the disaster, much of the water damage was not able to be tried out in time, resulting in the need to remove and replace those materials too.