Vacuum truck for with sewage and vacuum waste disposal driving on the road.

Vacuum Trucks 101 – Everything You Need to Know

You have no doubt seen them cruising down the road before: the giant, loud tank trucks with a tube hanging out the side of it. Those big tank trucks you’ve seen on the road are, in fact, vacuum trucks. 

Although you have likely seen one, most people aren’t exactly sure what they are or what they do. A vacuum truck is a tank truck that holds a pump and a tank which is designed to suck different kinds of liquid materials, usually from underground locations, and transport these liquids from one location to another. 

This is, of course, just a quick overview of vacuum trucks, and doesn’t even begin to cover the intricacies of how they work, how they are used, and what exactly their value is. 

If you have always wondered what these gigantic trucks are used for, this article will cover all the important in’s and out’s of vacuum truck basics, how companies and the public can benefit from them, and if vacuum trucks are actually profitable.

Vacuum truck for with sewage and vacuum waste disposal driving on the road.

What are vacuum trucks used for?

The defining feature of a vacuum truck, as you might have guessed, is its rather large vacuum. Acting just like the shop vac you have in your garage, the incredibly powerful vacuums they are equipped with are capable of collecting high volumes of liquid or sludge waste. A vacuum truck can also be used to collect wastewater, mud, and debris. Once the materials are collected, they are stored in the tank of the vacuum truck. 

Vacuum trucks come in different sizes and are selected for their job depending on the job and amount of waste that needs to be collected. Vacuum truck dimensions vary depending on the size of the tank it is equipped with. Smaller types of vacuum trucks have tanks that can carry over 2,000 gallons of liquid and waste. However, there are larger types of vacuum truck with tanks capable of carrying almost 4,000 gallons, and even larger ones that can hold just under 8,000 gallons. 

Because of the versatility of vacuum truck uses and available sizes, they are used in a variety of industrial and municipal applications. They are commonly used for performing waste management for sewage or septic cleaning and maintenance, making septic trucks and vacuum trucks one in the same. Vacuum trucks are also useful for clearing water, mud, and debris during excavation and drilling like construction or municipal infrastructure and utility projects, as well as the cleanup of hazardous waste.  

How much does a vacuum truck cost?

A vacuum truck is usually owned by the sewer cleaning company or emergency services company that provides the service. However, there are some places that vacuum trucks can be rented or even bought new or used.

Purchasing a vacuum truck can be expensive. Depending on the model, condition, size, and where you purchase the truck from, a vacuum truck can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 – a sizable investment without even considering the costs to have it regularly cleaned and maintained

The advantage, of course, of purchasing your own vacuum truck is that if you are a company that provides commercial or municipal services, you will have expanded your fleet size and open the opportunity to provide additional services. Vacuum truck and septic truck services have become quite profitable. In fact, over the next five years, projects that vacuum trucks will register a 3.9% CAGR in terms of revenue, reach US$ 1450 million by 2023, from US$ 1150 million in 2017.

However, for many projects, simply renting or enlisting the services of the vacuum truck provider will be a much smaller investment.

Using vacuum trucks

Because of the nature of the work that vacuum trucks perform, it is acceptable to ask if it is safe to be around a vacuum truck. The answer is that vacuum trucks themselves are perfectly safe and not much different than operating any other large, industrial-purpose truck. 

The dangers associated with vacuum trucks don’t stem from the trucks, but rather the potentially hazardous materials that it collects and transports. Hazardous chemical waste can be toxic or potentially flammable, so vacuum truck drivers and operators need to exercise safety precautions at all times, especially during vacuuming and once they hit the open road.

That being said, there is no reason to be fearful of any vacuum trucks you see on the road. Just make sure you give them plenty of space, just as you would any large vehicle carrying an oversized load.  

A Vacuum truck also don’t pose any environmental hazards outside of those that every vehicle can potentially create. In fact, much of the work vacuum trucks perform is centered around removing environmentally harmful materials.

Need a vacuum truck?

Now that you’ve gone through this beginner’s guide about vacuum trucks, you know that they make it possible to maintain a safe and clean environment by properly removing liquids, solids, and any remaining debris. Rhino Environmental’s vacuum trucks are designed to remove liquids, solids, and debris that are hazardous and non-hazardous materials. They also offer services including catch basins, storm drains, pipelines, hydro-excavation, and tank cleaning. In addition to these, Rhino Environmental also offers a variety of rentals, including frac tanks.

Rhino Environmental is the team that you should hire because they get to the job first, and they get the job done right. If the removal of your hazardous or non-hazardous materials requires an emergency response, call 1-833-24RHINO or visit Rhino Environmental’s 24-Hour Emergency Response information to learn more.

Call 1.833.24RHINO Toll Free