The most common tank to use when transporting recycled water is a 275 or 300 gallon IBC tote. When full it weighs ~ 2500+ pounds, if we include the weight of the tote, its more like 2600 pounds. That weight in the back of most half tons trucks is too much and thus begins safety hazards associated with transporting recycled water.

Honda Ridgeline above capacity

Honda Ridgeline filled above capacity

Lets cue up a recent photo of a Honda Ridgeline filling up a 275 gallon tote. Please note that a Ridgeline is only rated at 1500 pounds payload capacity. A Ridgeline should only haul ~ 165 gallons if we include the weight of the tote. Direct your attention to the significant drop in the back end of the vehicle (and the wear and tear on the struts/read end) and the significant rise in the front end of the vehicle. This makes steering difficult and travel is rather unsafe.

All recycled water fill stations have stressed to not take more water than your vehicle can hold, but yet people still do it. This article has been designed to show you through a Youtube video what happens to water in a tote full and half full.

I called up a fellow writer, and asked him to film recycled water in his 275 gallon tote. Bret drives a Ford F350 which can support over 2600 pounds in the truck bed. Bret took a load of recycled water home one Saturday and shared these experiences.

“I came to pick up 275 gallons a few weeks ago. I had my girlfriend with me in the truck. I filled the tote and got on my way. We were nearly home but I had to change freeways so I took the interchange ramp at the usual speed of 55MPH. My girlfriend said she felt like the truck was beginning to roll. She could feel the weight of the water in the tote try to pull the truck over to the side.”

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

When driving with a tote full of recycled water, slower speeds are crucial, as well as being mindful of your environment and road conditions. The tote, with being tall is also top heavy. Water has a large mass, in this case its weighs nearly half as much as the truck and will pull the vehicle to one side, especially if you’re changing direction. Keep this in mind when turning.

Cue up the video – Water Sloshing in an IBC Tote –

For this video, Bret added a couple of cap fulls of MiracleGro to his tote to make the water turn blue. It helps you see the water sloshing in his tank as he drove.

When the tote is full, there is limited slosh in the tote. You’ll need to direct your attention to the top of the tote. Around the 0:30 mark the shot changes to show a half full tote – around 150 gallons and the water is sloshing round in the tank. Every time the water sloshes forwards, backwards, left or right 1250 pounds of weight is moving in that direction. It may appear that the water is just moving and the truck is still, but during all filming Bret drove through his neighborhood, around 25MPH.

At 0:53 seconds the full tote and half full totes are presented side by side so you can see the action in the tote. What’s the take away?

Sloshing [water] is dangerous. If your vehicle is unable to carry a heavy load then filling your tote halfway is not an appropriate solution. Use smaller containers to suit your payload capacity.

Strong words of advice. This next part is scary.

I received a report last week that a fill station user damaged his tailgate on his truck after failing to tie down his tote before he drove off. He took a corner a little too fast and the tote toppled over.

Again, this is an avoidable accident. Securing the load in the back of your truck is your responsibility. Failure to do so can cause damage to your property or those around you. This person is lucky it only damaged his tailgate and not him or someone else. Tie down straps are usually only rated for 400 pounds. A full tote is 2600 pounds, so your little straps aren’t enough. Invest in some heavy duty straps to stay safe on the road.

With the numerous people on the roads that are too busy being nose deep in their phones, people will cut in front of you. You need to pay attention and be alert when driving. 2600 pounds of water is no joke. Just like driving with a half full tote is no joke either. You will feel the weight when stopping. Be prepared for the slosh when it hits you. Leave extra room in front of your vehicle when stopping in preparation for the slosh hit.

If you need more examples of trucks overloaded with the weight of water, check out the “Recycled Water on The Move” album on Facebook.


Putting 300-400 gallons in the back of a truck… Low rider!

Posted by RecycledH2O on Monday, June 8, 2015


Later this week I’ll post solutions that you can incorporate into your tank that can reduce tank slosh – think tote baffles – that can help lessen the impact of water on the move when you’re trying to slow down or stop.

Always remember, safety first.