Water Damage Restoration Program
Indiana University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS) has developed this Program to ensure that all water intrusions are handled safely and in a professional manner. The Program includes the most recent information and response procedures available.
Guidelines, procedures and standards have been established not only to ensure the safety of everyone on IU campuses but also to include every means available to promote the preservation, replacement and/or repair of University property according to standards/recommendations contained in the IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration, Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.
Authority and responsibility
- University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS) is responsible for:
- Evaluating hazards present during water intrusion events;
- Coordinating with Facility Services and/or Physical Plant for the respective campus to mitigate hazards;
- Coordinating with the Facility Services and/or Physical Plant for the respective campus to ensure building materials are dried in a timely manner;
- Assisting the respective campus with the development of procedures and call-out lists; and
- Providing guidance for the removal of building materials affected by the water intrusion event.
- Facilities Services and/or Physical Plant (FS/PP) are responsible for:
- Working with IUEHS for the respective campus to establish procedures and call-out list for the response to large water release events in accordance with this Program;
- Making the appropriate emergency contacts immediately upon receiving a report of a water intrusion event;
- Coordinating with IUEHS to determine hazards present during the water intrusion event;
- Coordinating with IUEHS to ensure building materials are dried in a timely manner;
- Conducting the removal of building materials in coordination with IUEHS; and
- Notifying IU Office of Insurance, Loss Control & Claims (INLOCC), appropriate departments, building managers, room occupants, etc. in the event of a water intrusion event.
- Departments are responsible for:
- Assisting FS/PP with the coordination of clean-up activities, relocation of employees, and/or equipment.
- Employees are responsible for:
- Reporting water leaks and/or water intrusion events to FS/PP.
- IU Police Department is responsible for:
- Contacting IUEHS for the respective campus of a reported water intrusion event; and
Contacting Facilities Services/Physical Plant when employees report flooding after hours to IUPD.
- IU Office of Insurance, Loss Control & Claims (INLOCC) is responsible for:
- Providing insurance and fire suppression systems support during major water intrusion events.
- IU Emergency Management and Continuity (IUEMC) is responsible for:
- Coordinating with outside entities during major water intrusion events.
The following procedures shall be followed (at a minimum) when water intrusion events affect building and/or building materials and shall follow the principles of Incident Command. IU employees, Zone Maintenance, Building Services, and/or contractors shall not enter a space that contains hazardous conditions (materials, asbestos, hazardous energy sources) until IUEHS has been notified and given approval for entry or until complete mitigation of the hazard has occurred.
- Water intrusion event is reported;
- Appropriate maintenance/plumbing/custodial/response personnel are dispatched to the scene;
- Before entering the space, personnel shall evaluate whether any additional hazards are present that were created by the water intrusion event. The evaluation shall always include a review of potential hazards such as electrical hazards and spilled hazardous materials (chemicals, biological, and radiological materials). Note: Hazardous materials that are intact and unaffected by the water intrusion event should not prevent entry to an area to stop the water source;
- If additional hazards are present, personnel shall not enter those spaces without approval from the appropriate IUEHS officials for the respective campus and/or complete mitigation of that hazard (for example, interruption of power to the equipment that presents the electrical hazard). IUEHS approval for entry may be obtained over the phone in some situations.
- Persons not involved in the response should be excluded from the area by signage, locked doors, etc. If necessary, IUPD for the respective campus should be contacted to assist with perimeter control;
- All attempts shall be made to safely stop the water source as soon as possible;
- After the water source is contained and it is determined that additional hazards are not present or clearance has been obtained from the appropriate IUEHS representative for the respective campus the following need to be performed:
- The IU Office of Insurance, Loss Control & Claims (INLOCC), along with other appropriate departments, building managers, room occupants, etc. (i.e., those affected by the flood) shall be notified;
- If asbestos-containing materials have been damaged, IUEHS shall be consulted about appropriate cleanup procedures;
- If sanitary sewage is involved, see Appendix B of this Program;
- Standing water shall be removed by wet-vacuum or other means;
- Furniture and carpet shall be thoroughly dried utilizing fans, dehumidifiers, and manual methods. Furniture, file cabinets, etc. shall be moved to ensure moisture is not present beneath it. The goal is to completely dry the area within 48 hours to prevent mold growth. For more information, see Appendix B;
- Wet drywall and other building materials shall be dried according to Appendix B; and
- Visible mold that develops in the space shall be immediately reported to the appropriate Facilities Services/Physical Plant personnel for further evaluation and/or action.
Indoor Water Intrusions Affecting Multiple Floors and/or Departments
Response to large water intrusion events that affect more than one area and/or floor of a building shall comply with the following guidelines in addition to those indicated in the general procedures.
An Incident Command (IC) area shall be set up outside of the area affected by the water intrusion event;
A single person shall assume command of the response. IC may be a Facility Services and/or Physical Plant representative, but can also be a representative from IUEHS, IU Police Department, Insurance, Loss Control & Claims (INLOCC), or IU Emergency Management and Continuity (EMC).
The following groups may need to be notified during a water intrusion event by the Incident Commander;
- Indiana University Police – Perimeter control
- IUEHS – Health and safety
- IU Emergency Management and Continuity – Coordination with outside entities
- Public Affairs and Government Relations – Media inquiries
- INLOCC – Insurance and fire suppression systems
Response steps for large water intrusion events will be the same as for small ones, but will require more personnel, more time, and more organization. The priorities for the Incident Commander as they respond to the incident are:
- Life safety – the number one priority is to keep employees, responders and bystanders safe; and
- Property preservation.
Personal Protective Equipment
Employees responding to a water intrusion event shall, at a minimum, wear waterproof, non-electrical conductive boots and gloves.
Employees removing contaminated water (Category 2 and 3 water) must, at a minimum, wear rubber knee-high boots, rubber gloves, and safety goggles (preferred) or safety glasses.
An evaluation must be made to determine the necessity for respiratory protection and protective suits. In the case of overhead hazards or contamination, hard hats must also be worn.
Any equipment exposed to sewage contaminated water must be disinfected prior to leaving the scene unless the equipment is disposed of as waste.
Employees performing category 2 water (gray water) and category 3 water (black water) damage restoration must be trained in the following:
- Universal Precautions in the Bloodborne Pathogens training; and
- General Electrical Principles/Electrical Safety training.
- IICRC S500
- IU Water Damage Restoration Program - PDF
Glossary and appendices
- Appendix A - Glossary
Category 1 Water - Water originating from a source that does not pose substantial harm to humans. Category 1 water is also referred to as “non-contaminated water.”
Examples of category 1 water sources may include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:
- Broken domestic water supply lines;
- Tub or sink overflows with no contaminants;
- Appliance malfunctions involving domestic water supply lines;
- Melting ice or snow;
- Falling rainwater; and
- Broken toilet tanks and toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives.
Category 1 water that has contact with structural surfaces and building materials may deteriorate in cleanliness as it dissolves or mixes with soils and other contaminants, and as time elapses.
Category 2 Water - Water containing a significant degree of chemical, biological and/or physical contamination and having the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans. Category 2 water is also referred to as “gray water.” Category 2 water carries microorganisms and nutrients for microorganisms.
Examples of category 2 water sources may include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:
- Discharge from dishwashers or washing machines;
- Overflows from toilet bowls with some urine (no feces);
- Sump pump failures;
- Seepage due to hydrostatic pressure;
- Chilled and condensate water; and
- Fire protection sprinkler water.
Category 2 water may contain chemicals, biocontaminants (fungal, bacterial, viral algae) and other forms of contamination including physical hazards.
Time and temperature aggravate category 2 water contamination levels significantly. Category 2 water in flooded structures that remains untreated for longer than 48 hours may be reclassified to category 3 - black water.
Category 3 Water - Grossly unsanitary water containing pathogenic agents, arising from sewage or other contaminated water sources and having the likelihood of causing discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans. Category 3 water is also referred to as “black water.” Category 3 water includes sewage and other contaminated water sources entering or affecting the indoor environment. Category 2 water that is not removed promptly from the structure may be reclassified as category 3 water.
Category 3 water also includes, but is not necessarily limited to all forms of flooding from:
- Toilet back flows that originated beyond the toilet trap are considered category 3 water contamination, regardless of visible content or color;
- Ground surface water; and
- Rising water from rivers or streams.
Such water sources carry silt and organic matter into structures and create black water conditions.
Hazardous Areas - Areas that present additional risk to personnel due to the water release. Examples of additional hazards are spilled hazardous materials, electrical dangers due to water, and disturbed/damaged asbestos-containing material.
- Appendix B - Water Damage Restoration Guidelines
Click here for the Water Damage Restoration Guidelines.
- Appendix C - Drying and Remediation Standards
Click here for the Drying and Remediation Standards.
- Appendix D - Water Response Procedures
Click here for Water Response Procedures.
- Appendix E - Electrical Safety Procedures for Responding to Water Events
Click here for Electrical Safety Procedures for Responding to Water Intrustion Events.