The Smith’s holiday celebration was warm and delightful, featuring visiting family and friends, a delicious spread of festive foods and a lively touch football contest. Marring the occasion: the sound of splashing water coming from the basement that evening. Which Mr. Smith found was a blocked sewage pipe overflowing onto the concrete as their son showered after the game. Fortunately, Paul Davis responds 24/7/365 to calls for help, arriving onsite within four hours. 

What they found surprised the family. “Even though shower water overflowed, the restoration project required technicians to don personal protective equipment, apply disinfectant and treat damaged materials and refuse as hazardous,” explains Caleb Brunz, President Paul Davis of Greater St. Paul and Minneapolis. “When a sewage pipe overflows, we must follow special water damage protocols to protect residents and workers.”

The Smiths had experienced one of the top five sources of sudden water damage that surprise homeowners, often at the most inconvenient time, and require professional assistance:

  • appliance leaks 
  • roofing and structural leaks 
  • sewage backup, 
  • sink and tub overflow 
  • water piping leaks

When called to mitigate these incidents involving water, Paul Davis classifies and treats each by sorting it into one of three categories:

Category One: This is damage caused by clean water from a source, such as a water supply line, that is not harmful to people. Paul Davis treats this occurrence by removing standing water, using air movers and evaporators to remove moisture and replacing materials like wallboard and carpeting that have been structurally ruined by moisture.

Category Two: This is damage caused by lightly used water, also known as “gray water,” that may contain low levels of bacteria, mold or chemicals. An overflowing sink or washing machine would be classified in this category, as would a roofing or structural leak, which carries contaminants into the home from outdoors. To mitigate these occurrences, Paul Davis wears personal protective equipment and replaces absorbent building materials. They act quickly because, untreated for two days, bacteria and mold growth worsen a category two situation into a more severe category three event.

Category Three: Also known as “black water,” this water damage episode contains infectious organisms, toxins and gross contamination, such as the Smith’s sewer pipe clog. Flood waters are always classified in this category due to the presence of lawn chemicals, fertilizers, animal dung, septic system fluids and the like. Paul Davis technicians use personal protective equipment to treat this category of water damage, apply disinfectant and replace most affected materials.

“Our technicians act quickly to mitigate and restore the affected basement areas,” Brunz concludes, adding that their services are covered by homeowner’s insurance. “The Smiths continued their holiday weekend without much interruption. The biggest news they learned: Paul Davis teams are on call no matter what the day or time or occasion to help with property damage – and we work well with insurance partners to minimize disruption and cost.”