Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Characterizing Water Damage during IAQ Investigations

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Characterizing Water Damage during IAQ Investigations

Article excerpt

Water damage is generally divided into three different categories: clean-water damage, gray-water damage, and black-water damage. While all water damage, including damage from clean water, can result in the proliferation of bacteria and fungi in building substrates, gray water and black water contain elevated concentrations of pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites.

Because of the microbial hazards associated with gray and black water, damage from these kinds of water is an important issue in designing strategies for investigation, remediation, and restoration. Over 120 different viruses, for example, are excreted in human feces and urine, including hepatitis A, rotavirus, adenoviruses, and enteroviruses. Sewage often contains the parasites Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, and Entamoeba histolytica, as well as the bacterial contaminants Salmonella, Shigella, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter Pseudomonas, and others.

While it is not practical or cost-effective to sample for all of the pathogens associated with gray- and black-water intrusions, there are several microbiological indicator organisms that are useful in determining the type and extent of contamination. …

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