How Food Trucks Get Water: Ultimate Guide

How To Get Water To Your Food Truck The food truck business continues to take the streets of most cities by storm and it’s not hard to imagine why the mobile food business is booming. …

Food Truck Water Tanks

How To Get Water To Your Food Truck

The food truck business continues to take the streets of most cities by storm and it’s not hard to imagine why the mobile food business is booming. One of my favorite days is food truck Wednesdays when I forgo my homemade sandwich to order authentic Ecuadorian empanadas or a slice of oven-fired pizza. They are fun and quaint for the customer, but there’s a ton of work that goes into running your food truck. If you’re considering buying equipment to invest in this growing market, then you might have some pressing questions about how to get started with your first food truck.

How do food trucks get water? Food trucks usually get their water from a water tank inside the truck that you will need to fill, clean, and maintain. Having an excellently functioning water system in your food truck is imperative to your cooking, cleaning, and gray water system (waste).

If you intend to build or buy a food truck, make sure that the water tank will meet your needs and that your vehicle has a food truck generator that will operate the water system to the total capacity. No one wants to finally complete their food truck preparations, only to realize that the water tank is unusable!

That’s not only disastrous, but it’s also potentially costly. Your water tank is so important that there are regulations and approvals needed, based on your state and even city. Please keep reading to find out more about how you can save money and time on your food truck’s water system by making sure it’s done right the very first time around. 

Finding the Best Water Tank for Your Food Truck

Water for Food TrucksOnce upon a time, a tank met a hose. That’s the story of your food truck tank and how it’s going to work before you park in for the day. 

A water tank is a pretty simple concept, but plenty of variations require some research. However, you can’t simply choose a water tank type or size that looks great to you. You must consider the food truck regulations that your city will have in place. Water tank sizes are regulated by cities and by counties, so you should always consider that before purchasing a water tank for your food truck. Food truck water tanks should always be restaurant quality, which is usually polyethylene plaster resin. 

These water tanks have non-corrosive properties that will help keep your water for cooking clean and appropriate for customers. They are either stored somewhere within the food truck or hung securely on a wall above the sink. Whether you chose either of these types of water tanks for your food truck, be sure to select a water tank that includes some UV protection. UV protection will ensure the water tank doesn’t age as fast when compared to non-UV-protected options. These tips will help you begin your search for the right water tank for your food truck. 

Getting a Water Pump for Your Foodtruck

How does the water get from the water tanks to the sink faucet? Most food trucks have a freshwater system that includes a water pump. This water pump pulls the water from the water tank and into the faucet or whatever appliance it’s running. The pump will only funnel the water if the faucet is on, saving you water in the long run.

Keep in mind that your generator can only work with so much electricity, and your water pump needs to fall within that allowance. Check the wattage to ensure your pump will be compatible with your generator. You can learn more about how food trucks get electricity here.

Getting Hot Water for Your Foodtruck

Being a food truck is both a pro and a con. They are mobile, less expensive, and trendy. However, the food needs to be made in the truck, which means you have a lot to do in minimal space. Hot water is essential for most food trucks for cleaning and more, but configuring how to get hot water in a food truck is no easy task. 

There are two options for hot water in your food truck: electric or gas-powered water heater. Electric water heaters are simple, easy to install, and an excellent all-around choice. Gas-powered water heaters will help ease your generator’s to-do list, but it’s also not ideal when you consider what small space you have.

With a gas heater, you will need to ensure a vent in your truck prevents gas pollution in your food truck. The pro of a gas heater is its efficiency in heating gas. A gas water heater might not be worth the trouble, which will include occasional inspection from the city. Be sure when you’re selecting a water heater to consider how big your water tank is. You’ll want to choose a hot water tank that will be compatible with your water tank and not take up too much of the water too fast. You can find how many gallons of water can be heated per minute and use that to configure what size water tank would be best for your specific food truck. 

Cleaning Your Water Tank

As you would do with any appliance, you’ll need to ensure that your water system gets cleaned regularly. Water tanks can get contaminated pretty quickly when you’re using them every single day in a small space, so sanitizing them will be essential to your business. Pro Tip: Never wait too long to refill the tank. This will help stop bacteria from growing due to whatever bit of standing water is left. Sanitizing and proper care is vital in keeping your water tank safe for you and your customers, as well as keeping it in the best condition for as long as possible. 

What Kind of Sinks Will You Need? 

Just because you have a food truck doesn’t mean you won’t have to meet the sometimes rigid restaurant industry standards. Just as if you had a restaurant, you’ll need to check your city and county’s specific rules on food trucks and water. Most likely, they will have some specifications on what your sinks should include.

Two compartments used for cleaning and sanitizing your equipment and one for hand-washing will most likely be required. Your sinks need to be large enough to clean your cooking gear but small enough to still fit in the food truck. This will take some meticulous design and consideration, but it will pay off once you meet the requirements to run a local food truck.

You’ll also need a carefully designed disposal system somewhere in the sink to dispose of scraps and used food. The regulations concerning each sink will also be rigid. Most law requires one sink compartment to always be at a very high if not boiling temperature to ensure the best washing sanitization of equipment. One will be specifically for utensils, and, as mentioned, one must be for hand-washing. Usually, you’ll also be required to air dry everything on the food truck. You have limited space to accomplish all of these requirements. Design is paramount to having the best, workable food truck. You can learn more about how to wash dishes in a food truck here.

What About Grey Water? 

Last but not least, we have to talk about waste. While some food trucks have bathrooms, this is typically an anomaly. If you run a food truck, it’s more than likely that you’re going to want to be on friendly terms with whatever building is near you for convenient bathroom breaks. 

In this blog, we’re talking about greywater that comes from stuff that goes down the sink, from dirty pan water to the coke you sipped on after the lunch rush. All of this “contaminated” water will go to a greywater receptor. A greywater receptor is similar to the water tank in concept but larger. These tanks are a bit more delicate to handle since that wastewater will contain tricky substances like oil and food. 

Most food trucks have greywater tanks around 50-55 gallons to meet specific needs, but it will depend upon how big your freshwater tank is and how much waste you estimate you’ll get rid of in a given day.

Your receptor will need to meet the standards of and be approved by your local health department since the contents could bring harm to local sewer systems, etc. Depending upon local regulations, your food truck’s set-up could have your greywater tank outside of your truck or somewhere inside, like under the sink. 

In Conclusion

Food trucks are a booming business, and it’s a great way to get started in the food space in your city. Be sure to educate yourself and do plenty of research on how much fresh water and grey water you will need each day, and tailor the design of your truck to that. Ensuring that you have access to fresh and hot water is vital for your new local business. We hope our tips will be helpful to you on your new journey as a food truck owner!