George has been the maintenance supervisor for the downtown mall for nearly thirty years. He has cleaned up his fair share of messes: child vomit near the carousel, spilled soda in the food court, and even vandalism or two. He’s also dealt with clogged toilets and messy bathrooms. One day, he was doing his rounds when he gets a call over the radio from one of his employees. The women’s bathroom on the third floor is flooded! Anita, the maintenance work who called it in, cannot handle the mess on her own, so George goes to help her. When he arrives, however, he realizes that the mess is more than for what he bargained. Someone had clogged all seven toilets and flushed. Water and sewage was running everywhere. George didn’t have enough mops or sawdust to handle the situation. He pulled out his phone to call down to the office, who then called out to someone who could take care of the mess.
While this situation may be slightly exaggerated, it is an example of a hazardous situation. Biohazard makes up 25% of SERVPRO’s jobs, and clogged/backflowed toilets make up a small majority of those cleanups.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to avoid and handle biohazards, let’s talk a little about what constitutes a biohazard. Now, there are three categories of water:
- Clean water: water from a sink faucet or from a regular plumbing line.
- Gray water: water with considerable contamination and is not safe for public consumption. Dishwasher overflow is a good example.
- Black water: water that is grossly contaminated and should be avoided at all costs. May contain feces, harsh chemicals, or even dead animals.
Now, clean water is usually harmless, unless it’s untreated. Then it can turn into a category two or three, which requires a bit more work to clean. Categories two and three are considered bio-hazardous, and should not be cleaned with household items like towels or mops. Do not touch or attempt to clean a sewage line break, a toilet overflow that contains feces, or long term standing water.
Instead, call in SERVPRO of Renton at 425-225-2227 for a cost-free estimate and to ensure that your home becomes a safe place for you and your family.