Flood Water Contamination and Importance of Professional Water Damage Restoration in San Diego, CA

If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911. For our emergency water damage restoration services, contact us at (877) 468-3566.

Despite many changes in its distribution throughout history, the actual water content on Earth has remained relatively consistent for millions of years. Water cycles through various processes of precipitation, ocean flow, ice melt, and other systems, but the amount of water molecules does not change. While some water may get lost in our atmosphere when exposed to extreme ultraviolet rays that break apart the molecular structure of H20, water is also released from the Earth’s core through volcanic activity. The movement and patterns of water on Earth are guided by wind currents that are in turn generated through the heat of the sun. The hotter regions around our equator contrast with the colder regions at the Earth’s poles. This contrast creates air currents around the globe that carry water with them. All this water movement is what makes rain, snow, ice, clouds, rivers, oceans, and even natural disasters like floods happen. Flooding can be one of the most devastating natural disasters for any community. Without effective restoration and disaster response actions, flood damage can be irreversible and extremely dangerous. At ServiceMaster Recovery by C2C Restoration, we work to combat floods and the problems that arise in residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal regions after flood waters rush through buildings and streets. For any kind of flood damage, from severe structural issues to lingering mold growth, we provide comprehensive water damage restoration in San Diego, CA and the greater Southern California area.

Water Damage Restoration Professionals

With our skilled technicians, project managers, and state-of-the-art restoration technology, we provide complete services for water damage restoration, including 24/7/365 emergency treatment. Whether we are working to restore a home, business, industrial facility, or any other type of building, we maintain communication from start to finish with the customer, insurance agency, and any other third party involved.

Restoration of Damage

For total recovery from flood damage, our team fully inspects the damage and provides immediate cleaning when needed. We then pack out all belongings to be cleaned and salvaged to a secure off-site location, and we board up and tarp the building to prevent any further damage from weather or intruders. Our technicians remove all water sources, dehydrate, and restore interior air quality. Construction and cleaning teams then work to completely reverse all damage to building materials, including the foundation of the structure, skeleton, exterior, and interior. Our flood damage restoration process also includes full mold remediation to prevent long-term damage and unsafe conditions.

If your home or business has been exposed to flood waters, the most important thing to understand is whether that water can be categorized as clean, gray, or black. Clean water flooding can occur when appliances break or plumbing fails. These waters are generally safe, but can quickly become graywater after standing for 24 hours or more.

Graywater is contaminated with waste matter that might contain anything except fecal particulates. This can include minerals, soil, chemicals, and other dangerous substances. While graywater is not as toxic as blackwater, it still poses health risks and can turn into blackwater in as little as 24 hours, depending on the flood source.


Blackwater contains fecal matter and other biotoxins such as bacteria, viruses, sewage, rotting food, chemicals, and more. Generally speaking, you should always treat flood water as if it is blackwater even if it looks relatively clean. This is because of the many contaminants that can be carried in flood water, whether they are visible or not.

Bacteria, Viruses, and Parasites

Blackwater containing fecal matter often has concentrations of E. coli bacteria from human and animal waste. In addition to E. coli, which can cause serious infections in the gastrointestinal, urinary, and respiratory systems, other bacteria like Staphylococcus, Shigella, and Streptococcus are often present in flood waters. Outbreaks of dangerous illnesses including Vibriosis, Leptospirosis, Legionnaires’ disease, hepatitis E, and many others are heightened after exposure to flood waters. Flood water can also carry the hepatitis A virus and increase the risk of mosquito populations carrying Zika or West Nile viruses. Cryptosporidium, microscopic parasites that cause severe diarrheal disease, are also present in flood waters and are the leading cause of waterborne illness in the U.S.

 Chemicals and Gases

 Another threat that flood waters may carry is the presence of chemicals and gases. Chemicals like pesticides and herbicides can be swept away in farm runoff. Industrial chemical gases like benzene and butadiene can come from flooded factories. Many other toxic chemicals like dioxins, soluble lead, arsenic, and mercury can be deposited over a wide area by flood movement. Flood disasters like hurricanes Harvey and Katrina compromised many hazardous waste sites and released large quantities of pollutants into communities many miles away. Additionally, gasoline, propane, oil, and natural gas lines can be damaged during a flood, leading to highly explosive pockets of loose gas vapors and non-water-soluble deposits. Methane and other explosive gases can also gather when released from rotting or decaying organic materials after a flood. Also, after any power outage from a flood, gas-powered generators release carbon monoxide that can be concentrated to toxic levels in enclosed spaces. Even household cleaning supplies like bleach and ammonia can be dangerous components of flood water.

 Power Lines and Electrical Damage

 After any storm, downed power lines and damage to electrical infrastructure can be extremely dangerous. Any contact with a downed line or sparking electrical source will likely result in severe injury or death. The dangers of downed power lines and electrical damage only increase when flood waters are involved. The free salts and other ionic compounds in water make it an extremely conductive material and can increase the reach of voltage around the source of electricity. A downed power line in flood water is a deadly combination that you should handle with utmost caution. Never go near a downed power line, and if flood waters are in the vicinity, stay far away from potential electrical damage. Do not touch a downed power line with a stick, broom, pole, or other object. Avoid touching anything the line is in contact with, even if it is another person. Don’t drive over a downed power line. If your car comes into contact with a downed power line, stay in your car, call for help, warn others to stay back, and wait for rescue from the fire department or other emergency workers. If you have to exit your vehicle when it is in contact with a downed power line, remove all your loose clothing and tie back long hair. Jump clear of the vehicle and do not touch the car when your feet hit the ground. Shuffle away from the vehicle with your feet close together without picking them up from the ground. If you encounter any downed power lines, call 911 immediately. In general, avoid driving through or near flood water, even if it’s shallow.

 Building Materials

 When buildings are damaged by flooding in any capacity, there is a risk of building materials being present in flood water. Asbestos, lead, fiberglass, insulation, drywall, paint, and other building materials that pose chemical risks can be abrasive to the skin and eyes. They are extremely dangerous if inhaled or ingested, and some toxins can even be absorbed through the skin. In addition to building materials that are dangerous due to their chemical makeup, damaged materials can be dangerous simply because they are sharp, hard, splintery, or barbed. Broken glass and tiles are significant problems in floods. Not only are they difficult to see in flood water, they can be harmful even in small pieces. Additionally, screens and other wiry materials can be ripped and bent into hazardous objects, splintered wood can cause minor wounds, and many other materials can cause puncture wounds, gashes, and other injuries. Any injuries exposed to flood water will be at serious risk of infection due to pathogenic contaminants present in addition to building materials and other debris. FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) make it their objective to protect buildings in high-risk areas with flood-resistant building materials, but in many older neighborhoods and historic buildings, materials have little defense against flooding.


 Mold spores are present virtually everywhere in the air, on surfaces, in porous materials, and in water. Flood waters can carry all kinds of mold spores, including the allergenic strains of aspergillus, types of cladosporium that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and the infamous black mold genus of stachybotrys, which releases mycotoxins that may cause respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous, and neurological damage. The real danger of mold comes with time. Mold spores themselves, while often allergenic, do not cause serious illness or damage building materials. However, if they have time to grow into a healthy colony, mold infestations can compromise the quality of your building materials, indoor air quality, and household safety. Mold requires very little to grow. Most mold species only need some moisture, low UV light, organic materials like cellulose, and temperatures between 40º F and 86º F. Most indoor spaces meet these requirements, with cellulose present in wood, paint, drywall, paper, adhesives, and more, a friendly room temperature between 65 and 75 degrees, spaces hidden from sunlight, and an interior humidity around 30-50%. During a flood, mold spores are carried into your building along with many other organic materials, making the interior even more conducive to mold growth if proper flood remediation actions are not taken. With our restoration capabilities, your home will be free of dangerous mold spores and mold-friendly conditions.

 Animals and Insects

 Last but not least, flood waters can also carry animals and insects long distances. Most animals in the Southern California region are not venomous or extremely dangerous to humans in other ways, but flood waters can often carry snakes like the red diamond and southern Pacific rattlesnakes or the poisonous black widow, brown window, and desert recluse spiders. It’s important to remember that, even if they are not poisonous, many animals carry pathogens harmful to humans. Animals, insects, and even plants carried by flood water can also cause other problems with the introduction of invasive species.


To learn more about flood water damage restoration in San Diego, CA contact ServiceMaster Recovery by C2C Restoration today at info@svmbyc2crestoration.com or at our fast response LA line: (323) 851-5543. For emergencies, contact us immediately at (877) 468-3566.

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