Your Food Truck Plumbing and Water System

A functional water system is an integral part of a standard food truck. In fact, the water system’s built-in holding tank in any truck must be FDA approved before it can pass inspection. Thankfully, water tanks in most food trucks today offer the same quality as those found in a restaurant sink. However, there are rules mandating that a holding tank must be made from materials that are both strong and easy to clean.

Water tanks used in food trucks are usually made from polyethylene plaster resin which has non-corrosive characteristics. This same material is employed in the manufacture of plastic kitchen utensils.

If you are looking to prevent leakages, water tanks made from one piece of plastic should top your shopping list. You should also look out for UV protection so you don’t have to worry about premature aging or cracking when the tank is exposed to sunlight. Since most plastic water tanks look similar in terms of quality and texture, the UV option will help you prevent unforeseen damage and equally increase the life span of your water system.

Fresh Water System

Some food trucks have their water tanks hung high up a ceiling or wall allowing gravity to deliver water directly to the faucet. While this is not a bad way to deliver fresh water, you made need to always check your local health department to make sure you have your plumbing installed in accordance with the existing rules.

In the same way, food trucks can also have fresh water delivered to the faucet from the water tank via a pump. Most times, pumps such as this work on demand. Water is pumped only when the valve on the faucet is opened. These pumps are powered by electricity so their wattage must fall within a range your generator can work with.

Like all equipment, water systems can get contaminated after frequent usage. So it is your responsibility to clean and sanitize your water tanks always. The short time allotted to the use of water tanks means that you should always be quick to refill them to prevent bacteria growth and eliminate problems associated with standing water.

Hot Running Water System

Having a reliable source of running hot water is vital to the daily running of any food business. For a food truck, all of the hot water it needs must be generated right there in the vehicle. Hot water is used during and after cooking to clean and sanitize dirty utensils. The water system in any food truck generates hot water through a water heater.

Your food truck’s water heater will be powered by electricity. This means that they are easy to install and efficient. Water reservoirs could, however, be a problem if you settle for one that is not big enough to supply the required quantity of water.

With that said, there are newly developed systems that supply hot water on demand. They are efficient and will continue to deliver hot water as long as your fresh water tank doesn’t run dry.

Some water heaters are designed to run on gas. Gas powered systems such as this have their merits as well as their disadvantages. A gas water heater will lighten the electrical load on your generator but will leave you with a pollution problem. You will need a vent outside the truck to channel out the dangerous carbon monoxide fumes being generated. Gas water heaters are fast at heating water up but require inspectors to come to check them out occasionally.

Sink Specifications

Food truck sinks like those found in brick-and-mortar restaurants must meet some basic standards. These specifications are in most cases the same for both restaurants and food trucks. They require that installed sinks must have three compartments including a washing hand sink. All compartments are used for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing equipment, cooking utensils, and other tableware that are on board your food truck. You must also bear in mind that sink compartments must be of a size that can accommodate large equipment such as pans and cooking pots.

If your food truck is properly designed, it should have designated areas where food leftovers are rinsed and scrapped into the garbage disposal system. Washing of used kitchen utensils with detergent can then be done in the first sink compartment. Water and detergent used must be replaced when they appear dirty and suds can no longer be seen. Bear in mind that water temperature in the first compartment should be kept at 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

The second compartment is designed for rinsing utensils after washing. This compartment should have sufficient water to clean and remove detergent from utensils when they are immersed. The third and final compartment will sanitize items after washing and rinsing. A chemical sanitizer is an obvious choice to make here but if you insist on using just hot water, there some rules that you must follow:

  • Water temperature must be at least 171 degrees.
  • Items to be sanitized must be submerged for at least 30 seconds.

Finally, all items are to be air dried on a clean board.

The hand-washing sink is always smaller than the other three compartments since it is meant for washing hands only. Food handlers are required to wash their hands frequently to avoid contaminating food while working.

Grey Water Tank

This is where all used and contaminated water will go once they are generated. This will always be on board your vehicle until you get an approval to create a disposal station. Since wastewater contains perishable items such as food particles and grease, the grey tank must always be handled carefully. Never must its content be emptied in a sewer drain. Your grey water receptor must have a grease interceptor that is approved by the local health department.

Grey water tanks are meant to be larger than your fresh water tank because they will be storing more than just used water. Sometimes, food particles and other beverages make their way into the grey water tank through the sink in the food truck. If you have space, you can place the grey water tank under your truck. This will allow your truck to accommodate more kitchen equipment. In a case where the grey tank can’t be placed under the truck, you can mount it under the sink inside your food truck.

Before going ahead to build your food truck, you need to decide on the quantity of fresh water you need to run the business. This will guide the food truck builder during the construction process. Grey and fresh water tanks that are excessively big will be a problem in the long run and may even add to the weight of your vehicle. In case you are not sure of the specific size to go for, a typical food truck should have a freshwater tank with a 30-35 gallon capacity and a grey water tank with a 50-55 gallon capacity. Bear in mind that 1 gallon will weigh up to 8 pounds.

This may change since tank sizes vary. Your local health department may also have recommended tank sizes for your vehicle. Whatever your decision is, make sure you settle for tanks with the right capacity so you don’t run into problems while running your business.

If you are thinking about building a Food Truck educate yourself before you commit to one company, we suggest getting a quote and having informative conversations about your Food Truck needs so you can make the best decision for you. Click here to get a Food Truck Quote from us.