Different Types of Wastewater

Different Types of Wastewater

When dealing with a sewage or flood emergency inside your home, it’s crucial to be able to differentiate between different types of wastewater. This knowledge will help you address the problem more effectively and prepare for a solution.



Blackwater refers to water that is contaminated with human waste – the most dangerous and destructive type. Blackwater comes from flush toilets and bidets. It can be classified as raw sewage, containing waste such as urine and feces as well as toilet paper. It can also include water from sinks, dishwashers and other sources. Blackwater can contain high amounts of dangerous bacteria and pathogens that need to be fully decomposed before being released into the environment. Dissolved chemicals and particulates can be contaminated in blackwater making contact even more harmful.


Absorbent items such as carpets, drywall and furniture are often unsalvageable when soaked with this wastewater. Ingestion or skin contact with blackwater can cause illness in both humans and pets. It is important to be advised of this type of wastewater in a flooding situation and contact the professionals at Catons before you try and attempt addressing the issue yourself.


Greywater, also knowns as sullage, refers to wastewater that is not contaminated with fecal matter. Greywater comes from bathtubs and showers, washing machines, dishwashers and sinks. Generally, greywater contains fewer contaminants than blackwater and can be reused for purposes such as flushing a toilet. Greywater can still contain small amounts of pathogens and can cause illness if ingested. This wastewater can be caused by weather events, overflow of a plumbing fixture or even a broken pipe. Greywater can saturate carpet, drywall and furniture. If you recognize greywater flooding, begin a cleaning process to avoid further contamination. Wear protective gear, keep children and pets away from the flooded area - this wastewater can affect a weak immune system. If the flood seems extensive, you should call Catons to safely clean and decontaminate the area. Cleanup must begin immediately, greywater can become blackwater if not taken care of in a timely manner.


Clean water

This type of wastewater does not pose an immediate health threat. Clearwater floods can be a result of malfunctioning appliances, toilet holding tanks, melting snow and rainwater. Clean water is generally safe to clean up yourself but must be handled quickly, it can become greywater as little as two days. Call Catons or schedule online today to get your home back in working order.

Schedule a Service with Catons Today!