The Dangers of Stagnant Water
Water damage can occur all at once or seep slowly into your home over time. Whether it is a flood or a slow leak it is very important to know the dangers of water damage in your home. The longer water is stagnant and sits within the home the more likely it is to become hazardous to your health and the cleanup becomes more extreme.
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What is Stagnant Water
Stagnant water is water that sits in a single place of your home such as in your basement, on flooring, or under carpeting. Also called standing water, it can come from a clean source or a contaminated source.
Clean sources include water supply lines and rainwater. Supply lines may leak or even burst. Rainwater may leak in through roofs, windows, or other damaged areas. While clean water does not bring in contaminants with it, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria if not cleaned up quickly.
Contaminated sources of standing water include flooding and sewage backups. Water damage from flooding and sewage are likely to contain parasites, mold, bacteria, and even chemical pesticides from outdoors. The longer the contaminated water sits untreated, the more likely it will make your family and pets sick.
Stagnant Water Health Risks
Standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and parasites that can be harmful to your health. While contaminated water poses a bigger health risk, bacteria will even grow in clean water. Mold can begin to grow and spread in as little as 48 hours.
Stagnant water can also attract insects and rodents. Mosquitoes commonly breed in shallow pools of standing water and often carry diseases including malaria, West Nile virus, and Zika fever. Standing water in crawl spaces, basements, and garages may attract rats, mice, and other small rodents as well.
Avoid the health risks associated with stagnant water by cleaning it up immediately. The longer you wait to remove standing water from your home, the more likely you are to have mold or health problems.
How to Get Rid of Standing Water
- Remove The Water: Remove stagnant water as soon as possible. Rags or towels can clean up small areas of standing water. Use wet/dry vacuums or pumps for larger areas of stagnant water.
- Dry The Impacted Area: Dry the entire area as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth and structural damage. Water can travel further than the eye can see, so ensure every surface the water touched is completely dry.
- Remove Damage Material: Some materials may not be salvageable. Water can weaken structural materials like drywall and woodwork. Carpeting and carpet padding can deteriorate. Remove materials damaged beyond repair or restoration.
- Repair the Source of the Damage: Fix whatever caused the stagnant water in the first place. If you don’t fix the issue, it’s likely that standing water will return.
- Clean and Sanitize Affected Surfaces: After removing damaged material, clean and sanitize the area to prevent future growth of mold or bacteria.
- Restore the Area: Finally, restore the damaged area. This includes cleaning the carpet, replacing drywall, repainting, etc.
While you can clean up stagnant water on your own, household equipment like vacuums, wet/dry shop-vacs, and fans may take too long to effectively dry the area. The longer it takes to dry the area, the greater the chance that mold and bacteria will spread to other materials like carpet padding, drywall, and woodwork.
Our local water restoration teams not only remove potentially hazardous standing water but resolve the source of the problem. We will clean the area thoroughly and make repairs to make sure no future problems arise. Call our local restoration professionals now at 1-888-443-3110 for 30-minute emergency response time and a free, no-obligation estimate on stagnant water damage cleanup.
Frequently Asked Questions about Stagnant Water
How much does stagnant water and water damage restoration cost?
Unfortunately, there are several factors that determine the cost of water damage restoration, including the source and amount of water, the size of the area, the length of time, and how much reconstruction is needed. On average, restoration costs start at approximately $3.75 per square foot. Review our water damage cost guide for the average price of restoration by state.
Is it bad to drink stagnant water?
Yes. Stagnant water can often contain malaria and dengue among many other bacteria or parasites that can pose major health risks. You should never drink or cook with stagnant water.
Why does stagnant water smell bad?
Standing water often smells unpleasant. Sewage smells bad due to human waste products and food waste sent down kitchen drains. Bacteria also breaks down plant or animal matter, producing hydrogen sulfide which smells like rotten eggs.
Do mosquitoes breed in stagnant water?
Yes. Standing water is the perfect environment for breeding and for the larvae to grow. Larvae need non-moving water rich with microorganisms to eat. Standing water provides a variety of bacteria and parasites perfect for feeding. Mosquitoes become a health risk as they can carry bacteria or diseases like malaria, West Nile virus, and Zika fever.
What can you get from stagnant water?
Legionnaires’ disease, malaria, dengue are some of the more dangerous and common issues.
Image provided by London Looks / Flickr