What is Category 3 Water and Why Should I be Concerned? (Part Two)

What is Category 3 Water and Why Should I be Concerned? (Part Two)
Part One of this article explained what Category 3 Water is. This final installment will explain why you should be concerned and how to minimize the risks.
The most common bacteria found in sewage are:
1. E. Coli;
2. Acanthamoeba;
3. Salmonella;
4. Helicobacter pylori;
5. Leptospira;
6. Cryptosporidium;
7. Giardia;
8. Hepatitis A Virus;
9. Clostridium Tetani; and
10. Adenoviridae
According to the National Resources Defense Council nearly 2 million cases of illnesses are caused by sewage contamination each year.
Exposure to sewage or its products may result in a number of illnesses including:
1. Gastroenteritis, characterised by cramping stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting caused by e.coli, salmonella, and other bacteria. Exposure to Helicobacter pylori is also linked to other stomach ailments including ulcers.
2. Weil’s disease also known as Leptospirosis which is a flu-like illness with persistent and severe headache, vomitting, and muscle aches. This disease is commonly caused by exposure to water contaminated with animal urine. Complications from this disease include damage to the liver, kidneys, and blood meaning this condition can cause death.
3. Hepatitis caused by the hepatitis A virus and is characterised by inflammation of the liver, and jaundice.
4. Acute respiratory illnesses caused by the adenoviruses, resulting in attacks of breathlessness, chest tightness, wheezing, pneumonia, croup and bronchitis.
5. Infections of skin, eyes, nose, throat and ears.
6. Tetanus, a medical condition that affects the nervous system and is characterised by a prolonged contraction of skeletal muscle fibres; caused by a clostridium tetani. This is the reason we get tetanus shots.
First, it is important to understand how the micro-organisms enter the body: direct contact, ie touching your mouth with contaminated hands and/or breathing in contaminated dust and air and/or exposing your skin, particularly if you have open cuts.
For this reason, it is imperative that you wear protective clothing, rubber boots, gloves, and use eye and respiratory protection.
You do not want to expose your skin, particularly if you have wounds or cuts.
It is also critical that you do not inadvertently touch your mouth, eyes, or nose with contaminated hands or gloves.
With this understanding of the risks and the precautions you need to take, when you are in a flood situation, it is important to realize that disaster restoration companies have specialized equipment and experience to deal with clean up. Hire professionals to do the clean up as opposed to doing it yourself to save yourself from potential sickness and long term health issues.
As stated by the IICRC:
Most household microorganisms (fungi, bacteria) typically require five conditions for germination, growth, amplification and dissemination. Generally, they include:
• organic food source, especially cellulose (e.g., paper, wood), which are found in abundance in construction materials
• moisture, even high humidity (67% RH plus)
• moderate temperature – 68-86°F/20-30°C
• stagnant air
• time – several hours to several days
Anything that can be done to control or minimize these optimum conditions will prolong the time required for microbial growth.
In short, when your property is flooded, time is critical to minimizing the magnitude of the concerns caused by Category 3 Water.
Once your property is professionally cleaned, will the risks caused by Category 3 Water still be an issue?
The answer, of course, is YES!
The only way to be completely sure if your property has been remediated properly is to hire a Third Party Environmental consultant who performs a Post-Remediation Verification to determine whether or not the air quality is at normal, healthy levels.
In addition, it is also important that the consultant takes swab samples of the flooded areas that can be sent to a lab to test for levels of bacteria caused by sewage.
The only way to have true piece of mind after your home is remediated is to make sure that this Third Party Verification and Sewage Swab Sampling is done. Unless this is done, you will not have any certainty that the restoration company you hired has completely mitigated the health concerns caused by Category 3 Water.
If you have any questions about Category 3 Water or have concerns about a recently remediated property, Got Mold? recommends that you contact an IICRC accredited restoration company who understands the risks. We are IICRC accredited and here to help, so don’t hesitate to contact us!

What is Category 3 Water and Why Should I be Concerned? (Part One)

What is Category 3 Water and Why Should I be Concerned? (Part One)
According to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), Category 3 Water is:
That which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans. Examples: sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes.
In layman’s terms, Category 3 Water is water contaminated by sewage and fecal matter.
During our years of business, Got Mold? has encountered Category 3 Water on numerous occasions.
Recently, we mitigated the risks from Category 3 Water in Calgary and High River, two areas of Alberta that experienced significant damages from the flood.

Calgary 2013 Pump Trucks

In Calgary, we worked on two large scale projects that had extensive issues with Category 3 Water. During my short stay in Calgary, I had the opportunity to visit the projects and it was clear, just from the smell in the air, that the area was saturated with pathogens and fecal matter.

High River Volunteers

The devastation in High River we witnessed was even more extensive particularly because whole sections of the town were cordoned off from residents for safety reasons. Category 3 Water was just one of the concerns we encountered.

Hidden Valley 10

Just recently, Got Mold? was asked to perform sewage sampling in Hidden Valley, Alberta, and the subsequent lab results have proven positive for contamination. In particular, the lab results proved positive for Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Enterococci (a subgroup of Streptococci) are commonly used as indicator bacteria for fecal/sewage contamination. These test results will hopefully help these residents in their insurance claims to recover some of the costs from the damage.
What potential bacteria and viruses are carried by Category 3 Water?
What sicknesses and diseases are caused by these bacteria and viruses?
How can you minimize your risks of getting sick?
Part Two will answer these questions…stay tuned!

Mold in the News: Issue 18

Mold in the News: Issue 18
At Got Mold? our goal is to keep our followers aware of mould related news stories. Each day, we scour the internet looking for relevant information. Here are some stories we thought may interest you!
Please share this information so that we can continue to increase awareness of mould and mould related illnesses. Follow us on twitter because we tweet important mould news. Our facebook page is also full of mould news…please LIKE us. Our founder, James C. Watson, is donating $0.50 for every new LIKE we get to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Thanks for your support.
FEATURE STORY: How to win the mucky, yucky mold battle: Mold can damage our homes and our health. And getting rid of it is costly but crucial. We shared some tips from the people at Angie’s List on 9NEWS 8 a.m. Before you try to remove the mold, you should first figure out the source of the mold to prevent it from coming back.
Mould concentration confirmed at Labrador school: An independent study has confirmed high levels of mould throughout William Gillett Academy in Charlottetown, Labrador. Residents of Charlottetown want a new school to replace the current aging one. Pictured is water damage that closed the school in February. The 29-page report, detailing high concentration of black mould, comes more than a month after the school in the coastal Labrador community was shut down. Lisa Dempster is deputy mayor in Charlottetown and sits on the school council.
Angry Parents Walk Out of Meeting on School Mold | NBC New York: Frustrated parents at PS 17 and MS 577 in Brooklyn walked out of a meeting with school officials Monday night when they heard their children would have to stay in their building where mold has been discovered. Hundreds of parents from the pair of Williamsburg schools, housed in the same building, were gathered for the latest informational meeting on the mold problem. The most recent testing, done last week, revealed black mold inside seven classrooms.
A Push for Relocation After Mold Found at Brooklyn School
Brooklyn Parents Want Children Relocated From Mold Affected Middle School « CBS New York
Students, Families Upset Over Classes Held At Brooklyn School With Mold Problem – NY1.com
Rage over school mold
Vinita Public Schools aims to fix mold issue with $6 million bond: For years black mold has presented a health concern for students at Vinita Public Schools. Now voters get their say over a $6 million bond that promises to clean up the problem. The bond doesn’t raise taxes and it impacts every school in the Vinita System. The building that benefits the most from the bond is Hall Hassel Elementary School. The entire front of the building, consisting of 12 classrooms, will be torn down and replaced with an 18,000 square foot wing.
ASTHMA- Find the Cause AND Treat The Symptoms: Asthma is an increased response of the airwaysto certain stimuli that are irritants/allergies or sensitivities to that person. This causes broncho-constriction, which means narrowing of the breathing passageways, which can lead to shortness of breath, wheezing or a chronic cough and in some cases can be life-threatening.
Spring Clean Up: Five Tips to Protect your Home: Spring is here and it is time for one of Canadians’ annual rituals: the spring cleanup. While raking the leaves and tidying the basement, take the time to perform some maintenance. There are plenty of things you can do to protect not only your home but also your possessions and the well-being of your family.
BARNETT: Reduce humidity to cut mold in home: A year ago last month we moved into an old rental house that had been remodeled. In the year we have had respiratory problems and can smell mold. It’s worse in the morning. The house has no kitchen vent, no bathroom vent and crawl space vents and only one vent for the attic. It also concerns me the gutters do not carry the rain away from the house. It pools up around the house and seeps in around the foundation. How do I argue this with the landlord? Or should we just move?
Hospital air alarm: mouldy unit fears | Perth Now: A mouldy airconditioning unit has been pumping air to intensive-care patients at a Perth hospital. And two other mouldy units, also at St John of God Hospital in Subiaco, have been circulating oxygen around its main entrance, a public cafeteria, nurses’ offices and a passageway.
Mold Cases Prove Persistent—Will Landlords Cough Up Cash for Little Black Spot Suits : A few weeks ago, Manhattan’s appellate court overturned an earlier decision blocking damage claims for health problems resulting from living in moldy buildings,The Journal reports—a decision that could result in a wave of personal injury lawsuits.

Adverse Health Affects from Mold

Adverse Health Affects from Mold
The medical establishment has found it difficult to diagnose sickness caused by mold because each person reacts differently. Many of the initial symptoms are similar to what we experience when we get a cold or flu:
-sinus problems and post-nasal drip
-itchy rashes
-joint pain
Untreated, exposure to indoor molds can have long term health consequences. According to mycotoxin expert Dr. Harriet Ammann, exposure to indoor molds can damage the systems of your body in the following ways:
  • Vascular: blood vessel fragility, hemorrhage from tissues or lungs
  • Digestive: diarrhea, vomiting, hemorrhage, liver damage, fibrosis and necrosis
  • Respiratory: trouble breathing, bleeding from lungs
  • Neurological: tremors, loss of coordination, headaches, depression, multiple sclerosis
  • Skin: rashes, burning, sloughing, photosensitivity
  • Urinary: kidney toxicity
  • Reproductive: infertility, changes in reproductive cycles
  • Immune: Immunosuppression
  • If you or someone you love seems to get sick all the time and the doctors just can’t seem to figure out the problems, check out this article and interview with Dr. Doris Rapp, a mold expert and author of several books, including Our Toxic World: A Wake Up Call.