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About Water Truck

All About Water Trucks

Water truck

Water trucks are used for a multitude of functions across many different types of job sites.

Water trucks are special vehicles with large rear tanks for transporting water and hydraulic systems with controlled spray nozzles for distributing it. Water trucks can perform a variety of different jobs across a range of industry sectors. When you need to transport a lot of water, only a water truck will do. Read on to learn more about this useful type of vehicle and how it can benefit your business.

What Are Water Trucks?

Water Truck Basics

Water trucks are specialized vehicles designed for transporting water. Water trucks have three main components:

  • A rig on the front where the driver sits. Controls inside the rig allow drivers to control where the water from the tank goes and in what quantity.
  • A large water tank on the back. These tanks vary in size but typically hold between 500 and 5,000 gallons of water.
  • Pumping equipment with spray nozzles. This equipment takes the water from the water truck’s tank and disperses it where it needs to be using either pressurized nozzles or a gravity dip bar. Spray nozzles may be mounted on the side or front of the water tank, on hose reels, on water cannons, or on gravity dumps.

Variations in Water Trucks

Water truck

Water trucks vary based on the function that they are intended to be used for.

Some water trucks have bodies that fit adaptable chassis in a range of sizes. These versatile water trucks can be fitted with water tanks in a variety of sizes to best serve the user’s needs.

Water trucks can vary significantly in size. Large water trucks can transport a lot of water to large open-air spaces, so using them wherever possible for water transportation is very efficient. Small trucks cannot transport as much water as larger water trucks, but they are useful for working in more restricted spaces, like mines.

History of Water Trucks

The Origins of Water Trucks

Water trucks have a long, rich history which traces back to hydraulic monitor watering systems. These early systems, dubbed Little Giants, had several pipes which transported water from open-pit mine mountains and other nearby water sources. Their single nozzles sprayed the collected water against the mines to remove overburden, the rock, and soil which blocked access to mining materials. Once the hydraulic monitor watering system removed the overburden, it exposed precious substances like gold, much like modern water trucks can do today.

While hydraulic monitor watering systems were used for removing overburden and revealing precious metals and minerals, they did have some problems. They needed to sit close to the bedrock of the water’s stream to effectively clear the overburden. Perhaps most troubling, they also created mud which polluted local roads and waterways. As a result, hydraulic monitor watering systems were outlawed in California in 1884. Other American states followed suit in the 1940s.

The First Water Trucks

After hydraulic monitor watering systems were outlawed, the mining industry needed a new way to remove overburden. Water trucks were created to perform this function without adding pollutants to the environment.

While the first water trucks could not clear overburden as effectively as hydraulic monitor watering systems, modern water trucks are much more sophisticated than these early vehicles.

Modern Water Trucks

More functional features have helped water trucks become popular, both within the mining industry and in other industry sectors. These contemporary water truck features include:

  • Larger Tanks
  • High-tech spray nozzles
  • Structural I-beams for better stability
  • Safety ladders
  • Rugged off-road tires for traveling through mine sites and other uneven terrains

Most Popular Current Water Trucks

Several leading heavy vehicle manufacturers make water trucks. The following are some of the most popular water trucks available today.

Ground Force 12K Water Truck

Ground Force 12K Water Truck

Ground Force: This company specializes in mining equipment, so its water trucks are made tough. A truly international company, Ground Force’s water trucks are available in more than 60 countries around the world. Its water trucks fall into two categories: Rigid Frame and Articulated. The Rigid Frame water trucks are made to fit any commercial rigid frame chassis while the Articulated water trucks are designed for articulated chassis.

Ground Force water trucks are available in a range of sizes, up to the large 60,000-gallon Rigid Frame design, the largest water truck on the planet.

  • Rigid Frame Water Trucks (Models 9W, 10W, 12W, 13W, 15W, 18W, 20W, 25W, 32W, 35W, 40W, 45W, 52W, and 60W)
  • Articulated Water Trucks (Models 5W, 6W, 7W, 8W, and 9W)
Knapheide KWT-2

Knapheide KWT-2

Knapheide: American brand Knapheide claims to the country’s most popular maker of truck bodies and truck beds. It produces two different water trucks as standard: a small 2,000-gallon vehicle and a larger 4,000 one.

Knapheide’s water trucks are commonly used in delivery, dust control, and military jobs around the planet.

  • KWT-2
  • KWT-4
Niece NWT4000

Niece NWT4000

Niece Equipment: Niece Equipment offers a variety of specialized heavy-duty vehicles, but its water trucks are its flagship products. These rugged vehicles are made for a variety of industrial and commercial applications, including dust control, soil compaction, fire prevention, and more.

Niece Equipment water trucks are made to the highest specifications to make work sites more productive and reduce their downtime.

  • NWT20000
  • NWT8000
  • NWT6000
  • NWT5000 Articulated Water Truck
  • NWT4000
  • NWT2000
  • NSF4000

Water Trucks for Dust Control

Large water trucks with 4000- to 5000-gallon tanks help control dust on mining and construction sites. These water trucks commonly follow grading equipment, which levels and prepares the soil for work, on construction sites and new mines. Once the grader has passed, a water truck can dampen the dust disturbed by their operation and remove it from the atmosphere.

Large water tanks are also vital for dust control in existing mines. These sites can often become dry and dusty. The water tanks help rehydrate the sites so miners can work there safely.

Why It’s Important

The work water trucks do by controlling dust is essential for maintaining the health of construction workers and miners. Dust can trigger the following health problems:

  • Eye and lung irritation
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Emphysema
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease

Older workers and employees with chronic conditions, including heart disease, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory complaints are particularly vulnerable to the effects of dust. Without water tanks, these miners and construction workers could not work as efficiently and may also struggle with their health off-site.

Water Trucks for Firefighting

Water trucks also play a vital part in fighting fires, especially in rural and remote areas of the country. Fire engines do not have the space to carry water, so they rely on water sources close to fire outbreaks. Without access to the fire hydrants seen in big cities, firefighters working in rural and remote areas need a way to transport water to blazes. Water trucks can hold enough water to control and extinguish even a large forest fire.

Water trucks also have a key role in fire prevention. Firefighters use water trucks for transporting water to areas prone to fires. They use their water to wet down these vulnerable areas and prevent fires igniting.

Water Trucks for Soil Compaction

Water truck

Water trucks are often utilized in compaction and mining.

The construction industry also uses water trucks to compact soil. The soil compaction process involves removing air from soil particles without removing any of its water content. Soil gets compacted when weight is applied to it, via rammers, roller compactors, vibratory plates, or other soil compaction tools. Soil must be compacted to provide a flat, stable base for the construction of buildings, roads, pavements, bridges, and other structures. If the soil isn’t compacted before construction, it might move later. It might also take up water after the construction job is complete, leaving the new structure vulnerable to cracking and other damage.

If the soil is too wet, it will bulge or move away from the soil compacting tools. If it’s too dry, it can’t be effectively compacted either. Water trucks can quickly and easily add just the right amount of water to dry soil so construction workers can compact it when they need to, without waiting for rain.

Water Trucks for Clearing

Water trucks are also often used for clearing areas that businesses want to work in. This usage of water trucks is especially common within the mining industry.

Just like the original hydraulic monitor watering systems that inspired them, modern water trucks remove overburden to expose ore for mining. Mines typically remove five tons of overburden, a mix of clay, rocks, and topsoil, for every ton of ore.

Water trucks can also clear out abandoned mine sites being re-explored. The stream of water these trucks delivers can move any debris from the mine, allowing it to be reclaimed and mined once again.

Water Trucks for Water Delivery

Transporting Recycled Water

Water trucks can also move water from water plants to the communities that need them. Water trucks can transport recycled water to locations in need. While this water isn’t fit for human consumption, it can be safely used for the following purposes:

  • Sewer flushing
  • Street washing
  • Street wet downs in the entertainment industry
  • Standby water source in case staged fires get out of control in the entertainment industry
  • Growing vegetation
  • Construction applications.

Transporting Clean Water

Small water trucks with 1,000- to 2,600-gallon tanks, sometimes called potable water trucks, also transport fresh, clean water to communities. This clean drinking water is typically used for:

  • Drinking water in communities without water wells or public water supplies
  • Drinking water at major sporting events and music festivals
  • Fire-camp service
  • Filling swimming pools
  • Supplying drinking water to communities impacted by natural emergencies, including earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes

Commercial Driver’s License for Water Trucks

All water truck operators should hold a commercial driver’s license. State requirements and procedures vary, so you should contact your state Department of Motor Vehicles to learn how to get your commercial driver’s license. Typically, you’ll need to do the following to get a commercial driver’s license to drive a water truck:

  • Meet age and residency criteria. Usually, you’ll need to be at least 18, or 21 if you’ll need to drive over state lines or work for companies conducting interstate business
  • Pass a 10-year history driving record test
  • Complete a written application
  • Hold a commercial learner’s permit for a set period of time, or complete a set number of driving hours
  • Complete state-based training or certification, if required
  • Pass a skills test in the type of water truck you intend to drive

There are three different class of commercial driver’s licenses. Water truck drivers typically hold either Class A or Class B commercial driver’s licenses. Class A drivers can only operate water trucks up to 10,000 pounds. Operating a larger water truck requires a Class A commercial driver’s license.

Potential Hazards and Safety Protocols

While water trucks are a useful addition to many job sites, drivers and people working around them should be aware of the potential hazards and correct safety protocols. Staying alert to the potential dangers and following best safety practices is the best way to keep all workers safe around water trucks.

Potential Hazards

Be aware of the following potential hazards of operating or working around water trucks:

  • Risk of accidents to driver and others near water trucks during operation, especially when roads and site paths are wet from water dispersal
  • Risk of operators falling from the roof when filling or servicing a water truck
  • Risk of vacuum braking system not operating efficiently when cold
  • The risk that water trucks becoming unstable and tip over or have another kind of accident, especially when water surges

Safety Protocols

You can minimize the risk to yourself and others if you keep the following water truck safety tips in mind.

  • Concentrate on the task at hand and surroundings when operating or working near water trucks
  • Do not oversaturate roads and site paths with the truck’s water, as the risk of accidents increases on slick driving surfaces. Activating individual spray heads and programming spray intervals can reduce the risk of oversaturation
  • Ensure the water truck is maintained and serviced regularly, according to manufacturer instructions. While hire companies perform this maintenance for their customers, drivers should confirm this has taken place and always perform a visual check before operating a water truck, looking closely for leaks and other problems
  • Do not fill a rounded water tank completely, as their shape raises the water’s center of gravity and can make the water truck unstable on the road
  • Use the water truck in accordance with site rules and water truck guidelines
  • Warm up the water truck before use to build up enough air pressure for its vacuum brakes to work well
  • Adjust water truck mirrors before taking off and use them to monitor the activity around the vehicle when it’s in motion
  • Always wear a seatbelt when the water truck is in motion to minimize injuries should an accident occur
  • Only drive water trucks on safe haul roads meant for vehicles
  • Drive smoothly and steadily to prevent the risk of water surges that can upset the water truck’s center of gravity. Take particular care when changing lanes, cornering, and accelerating
  • In case of emergencies, stop using controlled or stab braking to minimize the risk of a vehicle rolling
  • Pull the emergency brake and use the manual transmission if you lose brake pressure

Frequently Asked Questions About Water Trucks

People preparing to use water trucks often have questions about these specialized vehicles. Some of the most common questions are answered below. Read through the answers to learn more about water trucks and feel more confident you can select the right one for your needs.

How big should my water tank be?

Consider what space their water truck will work in and how much water is needed. Your water truck should hold enough water to get the job done but not be so large that it can’t fit inside and navigate through your available workspace. Your water truck will also need to get to your work site. If your site is only accessible by narrow roads or city roads with narrow lanes, a small water truck may be your only option.

Which safety features are useful?

Some modern water trucks have features that make them safer than older models. Look for the following features to minimize the risks on your job sites:

  • Remote controls, which simplify tasks and allow drivers to focus on surroundings
  • A baffling system without large holes, which compartmentalizes water to reduce the risk of water surges that make the vehicle unstable when the truck speeds up, stops, and corners
  • A flat top, which is more stable for workers filling and servicing the vehicle
  • Lanyard tie-offs to anchor operators, ensuring they can’t fall off the truck if they lose their balance
  • An external access door on the front or rear of tank for easily clearing out built-out sediment and debris. Without this feature, maintenance workers tend to cut a hole in the tank to clear the sediment, which can leave sharp and dangerous edges
  • A water tank with square, rather than rounded, corners for greater stability when water truck is on the move
  • Side-surge stabilizers which prevent water churning or rolling to make the water truck more stable
  • Flashing beacons to improve visibility, especially when operating the water truck early in the morning or after sunset
  • Handrails for the workers of people filling and maintaining the water tank
  • Safety signage fire extinguishers for putting out fires near water tanks
  • Guards for rotating parts to minimize the risk of injury to operators and maintenance workers
  • Emergency stop buttons in case the regular brakes fail

Why should I rent a water truck?

There are several reasons why it makes sense to rent a water truck, rather than buying one for your business. Firstly, renting is so easy. A credible construction vehicle rental company will take care of registering, servicing, and repairing its water trucks, so you don’t need to worry about anything other than making use of these handy vehicles.

Renting a water truck also makes great financial sense. It requires a far smaller upfront investment than purchasing a new vehicle. Most businesses will easily be able to find money for the rental fees in their existing budgets. There’s also no need to spend money on maintenance and repairs. Your rental costs are also a valid tax deduction, helping you save even more. Renting a water truck also carries less financial risks, as you needn’t worry about depreciation and transaction costs, especially if you’re not planning to use the water truck for an extended period.

When you rent a water truck, you only pay for the vehicle when you need it. That means you’re not wasting money on equipment you only require every now and again and additional site storage.

Since renting a water truck is so affordable, most businesses don’t need to source financing as they often do when bringing a new vehicle into their organization. This is a real benefit for startup companies and other businesses that may struggle to secure a loan.

Rental companies pride themselves on offering new and late model vehicles, including water trucks. So, when you choose to rent, you’ll always be able to keep up with the times, something that is prohibitively expensive when you buy.

For all these reasons, hiring a water truck rather than renting it makes so much sense.
How much should I spend on a water truck rental?

This depends on your budget and the size and age of the water truck you’re looking for. As a general rule, you’ll pay more for the latest and largest water trucks than older and smaller water trucks. You can feel confident that BigRentz’s rental prices for water trucks are some of the most competitive you’ll find. BigRentz is also ideal for long-term projects requiring water trucks, as it offers special discounted weekly and monthly rental rates.

Water trucks are specialized vehicles used for transporting water for a wide range of applications. Whether you need a compact water truck or a much larger vehicle, you can trust BigRentz for your water transport needs. BigRentz rental coordinators are water truck experts who will listen to your needs and help you find the right rental water truck for your needs. Call (888) 325-5172 to learn more about its collection of water trucks for rent.


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