Bacteria Testing

Bacterial Assessments

Bacterial environmental assessments are performed for various reasons, most commonly occurring after water events. Several types of water classifications are in place to determine the potential threat level to humans. Two common ways of classifying water damage events include: (1) assessing the water’s cleanliness and (2) the difficulty in removing the moisture.

Category 1, or “Clean Water,” is water from a source that poses no substantial harm. Examples include clean water from a dishwasher, clothes washer, or overflowing bathtub. However, if untreated, Category 1 events can become Category 2 water events.

“Gray Water,” or Category 2 Water, often poses health risks due to increased contamination levels such as mold, bacteria, and chemicals. Examples include leaks from a waterbed, dirty water from washing machines, and urine. When gray water is evident, rampant mold growth and bacterial breeding escalate to a Category 3 water event if left for two days or more.

The final water classification, Category 3, is called “Black Water.” Water at this level is highly unsanitary and often contains toxins and disease-causing organisms. Events such as rising flood water and sewer back-flow are in this category. For example, rising flood water is considered Black Water due to the potential to find animal feces, over-filled septic or sewer systems, chemicals, and organisms found in lawn fertilizers and chemicals. In addition, Category 3 can contain dangerous strains of coliform bacteria, including fecal coliform and E.coli. E.coli can cause respiratory and digestive system illnesses, including diarrhea, stomach cramps, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia.

According to ICRC (Institute of In