Category: Transporting (Page 1 of 2)

Oakley resident conserves 30% on water bill, hauling recycled water

Two 55 gallon barrels in a Tacoma.

Two 55 gallon barrels in a Tacoma.

If the headlines are true, “It will take years of wet weather before California recovers from drought, study finds“, then residential recycled water fill stations are here to stay, for a while longer. This is great news for recycled water haulers everywhere. Many have already setup up their irrigation systems and their solution works for them. We can all learn from their mechanical ingenuity.

Take for instance one hauler who lives in Oakley, California, he hauls 1700-1800 gallons of recycled water a month via two 55 gallon drums in the back of his Toyota Tacoma. This is his story.

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DIY: How to Strap Down a Water Barrel

Single barrel strapped down.

Single barrel strapped down.

For every recycled water hauler, there comes a time of uncertainty, especially when it comes to figuring out how to strap down a 55 gallon barrel in a truck. When full of water, the barrel will weigh over 450 pounds.

I had the same reservations when I hauled my first load with a 55 gallon barrel. I thought that by strapping the side of the barrel, the strap would be too low and the barrel would tip over. Honestly, there is so much weight when the barrel is full, it won’t tip – unless you drive like an idiot.

So how do you strap down a water barrel?

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Hauled my first load of 2016

150 gallon Aquatank II.

150 gallon Aquatank II.

Its been 186 days since the last time I hauled recycled water. 6 months, 4 days.  November 10th, 2015 was the date.

It had just rained a half an inch the day before last November and that is when I realized hauling water wasn’t going to be needed for my drought tolerant front yard. Besides, I was mostly hauling water at this point to keep my neighbors front yard alive.  It worked, their grass was a green as could be but winter rains was what it really needed (and a fair amount of grass seed).

I hauled 17,540 gallons in 2015, 119 trips. I keep a track of every load I take home in an excel spreadsheet I keep on the home screen of my phone. Today, I broke the 20,000 gallon mark.

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275 gallon tote vs. Water Bladder vs. 55 gallon barrel

There are plenty of articles lately about new fill stations opening in Southern California (more importantly – the 4S Ranch area of San Diego County), and even more people on Twitter arguing that recycled water is not the answer (sigh). This brings up a perfect opportunity to share what recycled water haulers have learned about the containers they use.

Enter the RecycledH2O Container Shootout

Lets compare a 275 Gallon Tote to a Water Bladder to a 55 gallon barrel

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Homeowner cuts water usage 76% by hauling recycled water

waterscoreTwo months ago I wrote an article about Chris Rossiter, a Danville resident who needed 2,000 +  gallons of water per day (GPD)  to keep his backyard paradise thriving. Enter the drought of 2015 and Chris was faced with a requirement to reduce his usage by 20% or face an Excessive Use Penalty from his water company. His usage was nearly twice that and he knew he had to do something about it.

Chris borrowed a trailer, setup a tank hauling system and put in temporary irrigation all over his yard. Chris streamlined everything to make watering with recycled water from two area fill stations, a breeze.

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DIY: How to minimize IBC tote water slosh

In the last post, the safety hazards associated with driving with a half full IBC Tote were looked at. A full tote, weighs 2600 pounds and has very little to no sloshing, except when taking corners, the mass of the water will work to pull your vehicle over. This was experienced by a passenger in an F350 carrying 275 gallons of water.

When a tote is half full, there is about 1250 pounds of water that moves, so when you turn left, that water moves with considerable momentum to the right. If physics calculations were performed we could figure out how much force is being applied to a vehicle at any given speed if we knew the mass.

Lets call this mass of water moving in a tank as slosh. How can you minimize slosh in an IBC tote?

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Sloshing Recycled Water in an IBC Tote

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.

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July Update – CCCSD Recycled Water Fill Station Usage Statistics



We’re near the end of another month and people like stats, especially when we’re talking big numbers. Between longer hours, better traffic control and a more efficient way to track fill station usage, CCCSD sure has come a long way from the beginning. Just two weeks ago, if you asked for a data set you could get it that day, but the data was old. Data entry was making the entire process very inefficient.

When the fill station started, expectations were low so all data entry occurred on paper. Up until about the middle of July, everything was done by hand. Now that they’ve written some custom software and acquired a drivers license scanner, data is available in 15 minute increments. Yes, once they get enough data they will know when the busy and slow times are. 🙂

The data charts I received are up to July 28th, 2015. I’ll post the graphics they create, plus some analysis.

Total gallons served: 4,313,000

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Is Hauling Recycled Water Economical?

Water is a finite resource, much like oil. And water comes with a cost, much like oil. The difference is we need water to survive. Our bodies are made up of 55-65% water. Without it we dehydrate and eventually die. Some would argue that oil is the same way, except society lasted for thousands of years without it. However, the oil industry charges a steep price for oil. With those profits they build pipelines for the largest users, like airports use jet fuel and ships at port use diesel.

When it comes to water, we as a society have built pipelines to deliver water from faraway lands to other remote places. We’ve run pipes to our homes, businesses and parks. There are drinking water mains in the street that have charged hydrants for firemen to use, baseball and football stadiums are plumbed with the stuff and yes, even oil refineries use drinking water to manufacture the oil we need to keep everything mechanical running.

But water is cheap, maybe too cheap.

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Danville Resident Hauls Recycled Water to Keep Backyard Paradise Thriving During Drought

Hauling water may not be cost effective for you, but considering replacement costs of large gardens it may be worth it.

“I can’t go over the water allotment without them restricting flow. Look at the cost of letting everything die and then replacing it. That’s the driving force. We were bone dry.” – Chris Rossiter

A year ago, Danville resident Chris Rossiter received a $900 water bill. His 6/10ths acre property has a large swimming pool, grass in front and back and his wife is a “plant junkie”. He had used nearly 2,120 gallons per day to keep his backyard paradise thriving.

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