Thread: Tankers

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    I dont know how many of you have heard of the Water Master Tankers that are now E-One but if your department is looking for a tanker it would be well worth it to check into. We got a Water Master before E-One bought the company from a guy in our Fire Dept. They are amazing.

    We use our tanker to suction water from ponds, pools, creeks, and etc. in no time flat. To fill our 4000 gallon tank it takes roughly a min or two from suctioning from a pond or such. A fire Hydrant is a little longer but not much. Also we have a fire pump on ours which we can suction water and pump at the same time. We operate everything from inside the truck and we can choose one of three outlets to dump the water.

    Just wanted to throw this out and let ya look at them and check them out. Look into them.

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    Cottenboy,
    I think the concept is pretty interesting, my deputy and I were just talking about it the other night.

    What is the "maximum" hose length and/or lift you can suction through with this set-up?

    We have some large ponds that are 15 feet from road access that I've been curious about accessing. We've played with turbo draft, but thought this might get us "drafting" quicker.

    Thanks
    ~ Doc

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    Watermaster has a couple of decent videos on youtube. As I recall 60ft is no problem (if you have enought 6" PVC suction hose).

    I'm not sure getting set up is really going to be quicker than the TD Will get bigger flow than thru one TD (and don't need a draftsite pumper).

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    I'm not going to argue E-One vs. Firovac but a vacuum tanker is what you need if you really want to move water.

    Our department has a Water Master that was delivered in 2005. We looked at both Water Master (now E-One) and Firovac. I was only back in time to see Firovac and I couldn't quite wrap my head around the vacuum tanker concept but after seeing one in action I am a believer! We wanted the Firovac to draft from our dry hydrant but it was configured for 5" and the tanker had 6". They said not a problem, butted the two different sizes of hard suction together and ran duct tape around the "connection". Firovac was drafting faster that way than we had ever done with an engine.

    The key item is the fact that instead of having a relatively small primer motor like we have on traditional fire apparatus these tankers us vacuum pumps. Whereas the primer will fail due to a air leak the vacuum pump doesn't really care. It is designed to move a lot of air and therefor can establish a draft in places you wouldn't even think about attempting with an engine. We have drafted, without a problem from on top of a bridge where the water level was about 6' below the bottom of the bridge. Not the best draft scenario but it worked.

    Cottonboy is correct, these tankers actually fill slower from a hydrant that draft. Like I said, I'm a believer in the vacuum tanker concept. They eliminate the need for a fill site engine, with just a couple guys you can move more water than several conventional tankers. The benefit is not only in the fill time, which is significant, but also in the dump time. You can reverse the vacuum pump and pressurize the tank and dump at the same rate as you filled. They can also be operated as a conventional tanker if you want by opening the vent.

    It is my belief that tankers should have a fire pump (500 gpm minimum) to relay pump when needed. Using a vacuum tanker we have caught a draft and then relayed with an unlimited amount of water to our suppression engine. You can't beat that for rural ops.

    They cost more than a traditional tanker but the money you spend will make your suppression capabilities that much better because you will have water to use. The only suggestion I have to offer is that you ensure the tank is lined to eliminate electrolysis over time. Something I really wish we had done.

    If you are looking at replacing a tanker please take a look at the vacuum concept. It is definitely worth the time and money in my opinion.

    Walt.
    Train like you want to fight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    I'm not going to argue E-One vs. Firovac but a vacuum tanker is what you need if you really want to move water.

    Our department has a Water Master that was delivered in 2005. We looked at both Water Master (now E-One) and Firovac. I was only back in time to see Firovac and I couldn't quite wrap my head around the vacuum tanker concept but after seeing one in action I am a believer! We wanted the Firovac to draft from our dry hydrant but it was configured for 5" and the tanker had 6". They said not a problem, butted the two different sizes of hard suction together and ran duct tape around the "connection". Firovac was drafting faster that way than we had ever done with an engine.

    The key item is the fact that instead of having a relatively small primer motor like we have on traditional fire apparatus these tankers us vacuum pumps. Whereas the primer will fail due to a air leak the vacuum pump doesn't really care. It is designed to move a lot of air and therefor can establish a draft in places you wouldn't even think about attempting with an engine. We have drafted, without a problem from on top of a bridge where the water level was about 6' below the bottom of the bridge. Not the best draft scenario but it worked.

    Cottonboy is correct, these tankers actually fill slower from a hydrant that draft. Like I said, I'm a believer in the vacuum tanker concept. They eliminate the need for a fill site engine, with just a couple guys you can move more water than several conventional tankers. The benefit is not only in the fill time, which is significant, but also in the dump time. You can reverse the vacuum pump and pressurize the tank and dump at the same rate as you filled. They can also be operated as a conventional tanker if you want by opening the vent.

    It is my belief that tankers should have a fire pump (500 gpm minimum) to relay pump when needed. Using a vacuum tanker we have caught a draft and then relayed with an unlimited amount of water to our suppression engine. You can't beat that for rural ops.

    They cost more than a traditional tanker but the money you spend will make your suppression capabilities that much better because you will have water to use. The only suggestion I have to offer is that you ensure the tank is lined to eliminate electrolysis over time. Something I really wish we had done.

    If you are looking at replacing a tanker please take a look at the vacuum concept. It is definitely worth the time and money in my opinion.

    Walt.
    Walt,don't forget they UNLOAD faster too. We're looking at aquiring one either this year or next depending on how the Taxpayers prefer to finance it. T.C.

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    They aren't very popular around here. (Central Oh.) Most depts. opt for more traditional tankers. We just ordered a Pierce pumper tanker because it will be the 2nd engine on fires and 1st if the engine is out of service. BTW, Vacuum tankers can cause damage to water mains if not used properly. You can't take all the pressure off of the mains and have negative pressure or you can collapse the water mains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    They aren't very popular around here. (Central Oh.) Most depts. opt for more traditional tankers. We just ordered a Pierce pumper tanker because it will be the 2nd engine on fires and 1st if the engine is out of service. BTW, Vacuum tankers can cause damage to water mains if not used properly. You can't take all the pressure off of the mains and have negative pressure or you can collapse the water mains.
    Most people buying vacuum tankers , Don't have water mains or hydrants to suck from!
    Just sayin!

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    T.C.,

    That is worth saying twice. I probably didn't stress that enough. The vacuum tankers load and unload at the same rate due to the fact that you can pressurize the tank and pressure dump.

    Another benefit is that if you are concerned about ISO they get credit for the full load because they don't slosh any out. If you operate in cold temps they are great because they don't slosh water out which becomes becomes ice on the road.

    The only way you could collapse the mains is if you connected the hard suction to the hydrant. Since hydrants usually produce pressure hard suction is not recommended.

    Thanks,
    Walt
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    www.kvfd.net

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    They aren't very popular around here. (Central Oh.) Most depts. opt for more traditional tankers. We just ordered a Pierce pumper tanker because it will be the 2nd engine on fires and 1st if the engine is out of service. BTW, Vacuum tankers can cause damage to water mains if not used properly. You can't take all the pressure off of the mains and have negative pressure or you can collapse the water mains.
    Generally speaking,at least HERE, mains are pressurized and no way in hell will you be able to draw a vacumn on one with a vacumn tanker. Our new tanker will be a Vac for the reasons Walt outlined. Even with AMA,we're alone for a few minutes. The Vac tanker can haul two loads in that time with minimal crew, something you CANNOT do with conventional tankers. I've worked around conventional tankers for a LONG time, compared to a Vac in THIS area you can haul TWICE the water(with a Vac) with LESS than half the manpower AND you don't need a source pumper to do it. FWIW you can load and dump a vac tanker CONVENTIONALLY if you so desire. Given the advantages of their inherent high performance in vac mode,I don't know why you would. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Generally speaking,at least HERE, mains are pressurized and no way in hell will you be able to draw a vacumn on one with a vacumn tanker. Our new tanker will be a Vac for the reasons Walt outlined. Even with AMA,we're alone for a few minutes. The Vac tanker can haul two loads in that time with minimal crew, something you CANNOT do with conventional tankers. I've worked around conventional tankers for a LONG time, compared to a Vac in THIS area you can haul TWICE the water(with a Vac) with LESS than half the manpower AND you don't need a source pumper to do it. FWIW you can load and dump a vac tanker CONVENTIONALLY if you so desire. Given the advantages of their inherent high performance in vac mode,I don't know why you would. T.C.
    I think they just suck.






    I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself. Could be the cold medicine I'm taking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    T.C.,

    That is worth saying twice. I probably didn't stress that enough. The vacuum tankers load and unload at the same rate due to the fact that you can pressurize the tank and pressure dump.

    Another benefit is that if you are concerned about ISO they get credit for the full load because they don't slosh any out. If you operate in cold temps they are great because they don't slosh water out which becomes becomes ice on the road.

    The only way you could collapse the mains is if you connected the hard suction to the hydrant. Since hydrants usually produce pressure hard suction is not recommended.

    Thanks,
    Walt
    Hehe,MY BAD! You said that already,and somehow I breezed right over it. Couldn't agree MORE on making sure it has a Fire pump,a battle I'm currently fighting with the Boss, I'll show him this thread and tell him a Husker said it's REQUIRED. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    I'm not going to argue E-One vs. Firovac but a vacuum tanker is what you need if you really want to move water.

    Our department has a Water Master that was delivered in 2005. We looked at both Water Master (now E-One) and Firovac. I was only back in time to see Firovac and I couldn't quite wrap my head around the vacuum tanker concept but after seeing one in action I am a believer! We wanted the Firovac to draft from our dry hydrant but it was configured for 5" and the tanker had 6". They said not a problem, butted the two different sizes of hard suction together and ran duct tape around the "connection". Firovac was drafting faster that way than we had ever done with an engine.

    The key item is the fact that instead of having a relatively small primer motor like we have on traditional fire apparatus these tankers us vacuum pumps. Whereas the primer will fail due to a air leak the vacuum pump doesn't really care. It is designed to move a lot of air and therefor can establish a draft in places you wouldn't even think about attempting with an engine. We have drafted, without a problem from on top of a bridge where the water level was about 6' below the bottom of the bridge. Not the best draft scenario but it worked.

    Cottonboy is correct, these tankers actually fill slower from a hydrant that draft. Like I said, I'm a believer in the vacuum tanker concept. They eliminate the need for a fill site engine, with just a couple guys you can move more water than several conventional tankers. The benefit is not only in the fill time, which is significant, but also in the dump time. You can reverse the vacuum pump and pressurize the tank and dump at the same rate as you filled. They can also be operated as a conventional tanker if you want by opening the vent.

    It is my belief that tankers should have a fire pump (500 gpm minimum) to relay pump when needed. Using a vacuum tanker we have caught a draft and then relayed with an unlimited amount of water to our suppression engine. You can't beat that for rural ops.

    They cost more than a traditional tanker but the money you spend will make your suppression capabilities that much better because you will have water to use. The only suggestion I have to offer is that you ensure the tank is lined to eliminate electrolysis over time. Something I really wish we had done.

    If you are looking at replacing a tanker please take a look at the vacuum concept. It is definitely worth the time and money in my opinion.

    Walt.
    Lining is STANDARD on Firovac units,Fwiw. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by npfd801 View Post
    I think they just suck.






    I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself. Could be the cold medicine I'm taking.

    (And before someone doesn't realize the pun here, lighten up.)
    Ah SUCK they DO. Don't get your "valuables" near the inlet pipe,hehe T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    .. BTW, Vacuum tankers can cause damage to water mains if not used properly. You can't take all the pressure off of the mains and have negative pressure or you can collapse the water mains.
    If you have hydrants "proper' technique is to locate a foldatank at the hydrant and fill the foldatank from the hydrant. Do the suckin out of the foldatank.

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    Default Oldies but goodies

    Fyrtrks

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    I dont know of anyone hooking a hard sleeve up to a pressurised hydrant - vacum or cent pump. Like fire info said - by using that technique - even a weak hydrant can be utilized.
    ?

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    T.C.,

    When we were looking at replacing a back up tanker I did speak with Firovac quite a bit and learned that tank lining was standard. As I said, something I would recommend.

    Regarding your pump discussion with the boss. I'm assuming that you currently run without a pump. Do you have a problem with freezing? We either start the pump when we leave the station when it's cold or engage the pump when we get on scene to keep water moving.
    Our tankers all have two 200' 1.75" preconnects "just in case" since they are on top of the pump house and out of the way until you need them. There have been several occasions where the preconnect came in real handy. My opinion would be that you only need one but then you could also put 3" up there to quickly deploy for relay pumping.
    Our vacuum has 50' of 3" with Storz couplings preconnected, rolled and stored so both couplings are on the same end. When we need to relay pump you just grab the coupling and go to the intake. Works great for refilling grass rigs or nursing an engine.

    Have a good one,
    Walt
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    No problem with the current tanker( Converted fuel oil truck) it has a 250GPM portable but it isn't hooked up. No issues with freezing, we antifreeze our pumps after we drain 'em, His concern is that the rig might get used for an attack piece if it had a Fire pump.To me,that's a Policy and training issue,easily handled. T.C,

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    Great thread! Lots of good info and ideas.

    On a side note,

    Has anyone experimented with "fill lines" aka a 3" line with a 2.5" NST female on one end, and a 3" storz on the other?? It seems that more and more direct tank fills are being specced with 3" storz couplings. This seems like it would be a time saver for fill sites- either off a hydrant, a pumper, or a manifold. Would be nice for those foam ops, like with an around the pump system etc, that can't have much intake pressure too. Same for nurse ops, if your attack engine is so equipped.

    One could store them as donut rolled pre-cons ( on the tank fills), in a fender mounted tray, in a tanker crosslay, or in a compt rolled up w/both couplings on the outside.

    It would save having to fool around with adaptors, and make the make and breaks quicker on the units being filled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nozzle nut 22 View Post
    Great thread! Lots of good info and ideas.

    On a side note,

    Has anyone experimented with "fill lines" aka a 3" line with a 2.5" NST female on one end, and a 3" storz on the other?? It seems that more and more direct tank fills are being specced with 3" storz couplings. This seems like it would be a time saver for fill sites- either off a hydrant, a pumper, or a manifold. Would be nice for those foam ops, like with an around the pump system etc, that can't have much intake pressure too. Same for nurse ops, if your attack engine is so equipped.

    One could store them as donut rolled pre-cons ( on the tank fills), in a fender mounted tray, in a tanker crosslay, or in a compt rolled up w/both couplings on the outside.

    It would save having to fool around with adaptors, and make the make and breaks quicker on the units being filled.
    Our MABAS (mutual aid) division has standardized on cam lock type fittings for quick connect and disconnect on tankers/tenders. It seems to work well, though since we don't have any tankers, and rarely deal with filling them, I don't have firsthand knowledge using them in the heat of the moment. We do carry a set of them to be able to operate as fill engines though, and in practice they seem to work just fine.
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    We use the 2.5" NST to 3" Storz arrangement. It is quicker than threaded fittings, but after fooling with one, I like the camlocks better. When the 3" Storz freezes (usually below 15 degrees) to a connection it is almost impossible to break loose and the camlocks seem to slide better.
    Just be sure to put a drain on the fill fitting, or at the hydrant to relieve pressure, or you can get a nice bath when you disconnect. Ok in summer, but very uncomfortable in winter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Generally speaking,at least HERE, mains are pressurized and no way in hell will you be able to draw a vacumn on one with a vacumn tanker. Our new tanker will be a Vac for the reasons Walt outlined. Even with AMA,we're alone for a few minutes. The Vac tanker can haul two loads in that time with minimal crew, something you CANNOT do with conventional tankers. I've worked around conventional tankers for a LONG time, compared to a Vac in THIS area you can haul TWICE the water(with a Vac) with LESS than half the manpower AND you don't need a source pumper to do it. FWIW you can load and dump a vac tanker CONVENTIONALLY if you so desire. Given the advantages of their inherent high performance in vac mode,I don't know why you would. T.C.
    On a 6-8" main you definitely CAN pull a vacuum. The incident I saw happen caused air to be suck into the pluming of a house down the road from the hydrant when the occupant opened a faucet. The occupant just happened to be the manager of the county water system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wfr1409 View Post
    We use the 2.5" NST to 3" Storz arrangement. It is quicker than threaded fittings, but after fooling with one, I like the camlocks better. When the 3" Storz freezes (usually below 15 degrees) to a connection it is almost impossible to break loose and the camlocks seem to slide better.
    Just be sure to put a drain on the fill fitting, or at the hydrant to relieve pressure, or you can get a nice bath when you disconnect. Ok in summer, but very uncomfortable in winter.
    Good point. I suppose that's why the ski industry has been using cam-locks for decades on their snowmaking hoses! They even pump compressed air through them.

    The second paragraph is also a good point. I always wondered about that- even if your fill lines are supplied off a PDV equipped manifold, as soon as the gate valve for THAT outlet is closed, you're isolated from the dump valve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    On a 6-8" main you definitely CAN pull a vacuum. The incident I saw happen caused air to be suck into the pluming of a house down the road from the hydrant when the occupant opened a faucet. The occupant just happened to be the manager of the county water system.
    Could be. You couldn't do it on OUR Downtown water system with two vac trucks loading.But you WOULD destroy the see thru suction hose. Our mains with very few exceptions a minumim of 12" and 80-100psi. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 08-17-2012 at 10:44 AM.

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    While I think that vacuum tankers are a great idea, they're certainly not for everyone. Several other local departments have gotten them and love them, but they're not for us.

    Why might you ask?

    Cost. The three departments that recently bought vacuum tankers paid $90-100k more than what our new tanker cost.

    Accessibility. We seldom ever draft from an open water source, mainly filling from hydrants. Almost any open water source around here is at least 100' further than you could drive a tanker. Should we actually be in a situation where we are able to use an open water source, we carry a 450GPM floating pump.

    Maneuverability. All vacuum tankers use round tanks, which adds length and/or height versus a comparable oval or square tank. The aforementioned tankers are a good 4' longer than ours for the same gallonage, as well as being taller. This extra length and height means lowered turning radius, etc. In an area notorious for narrow roads with minimal turning area, this can be crucial. We've been able to easily place our tanker into areas that the other departments had a lot of difficulty accessing.

    Once again, not against a vacuum tanker, but when the main selling point versus a standard tanker is the drafting abilities, and to a lesser extent full credit for tank size, it pays to understand your department's needs. The local departments that bought vacuum tankers have seldom drafted or haven't drafted at all with their trucks in the few years since purchase.

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