When you get your five-ton, your flat deck hay hauler, or your B-Train dirty this year head to Lloydminster, Alta., for the biggest and some say best truck wash in the country.
The TransCanada Automatic Truck Wash located on Highway 16 opened in late 2008. The farmer-owned facility is billed as the largest truck wash in North America. There is only one large truck bay in the facility, explains manager Morten Merrild, but the “big” feature is the volume it can handle.
“The fully automatic system can wash a B-Train in about eight minutes,” he says. “If you tried to do it in a wand wash it might take a couple hours or more.”
The U. S. built washing system was originally designed to wash trains and subway cars, says Merrild, but it evolved into a large-truck wash.
In the 200-foot long truck bay, truckers drive their units slowly through a high volume/low pressure wash system. It is a touchless wash system with all stationary washing equipment. The truck creeps through at about one foot per second.
The first phase of the wash is a soap and soak treatment. Then as the truck creeps forward it comes to the “mega wash” section that pumps out about 6,000 gallons per minute at various angles to cover all areas of the truck. Then the relatively high-pressure stage knocks off soap and dirt with 300 psi spray force. Finally, the truck moves through the spot-free rinse.
“There have been other attempts in other centres at automatic truck washes using brushes and cloth scrubbers, but truckers say they just didn’t do the job,” says Merrild. “Our customers have been pleased with the performance and speed of this wash. Business was a bit slow during the -30C temperatures but now it is steady. We don’t take appointments, but even if there are four or five trucks lined up the longest the wait is about 20 to 30 minutes.”
There is another smaller bay in the truck wash, with similar washing equipment, to handle cars and trucks up to one-ton in size.
“The idea and backing for this wash was developed by some local farmers and agri-business people who saw a need,” says Merrild. “One farmer who washed his B-Train with an old fire truck was looking for a better and faster way to do the job. So a group of producers got together and invested in this truck wash.”
The TransCanada Automatic Truck Wash offers two types of washes, with rates for different truck sizes. The truck wash offers a maintenance wash — which does a quick cleanup — and then the full wash. “We have one customer who hauls a lot of hay and he likes to bring his truck through for the maintenance wash just to knock off the worst dirt,” says Merrild.
For a Super-B, the maintenance wash costs $95, while the full wash is $165. For smaller grain trucks the maintenance wash is $80, while the full wash is $135.
For more information and photos and video on the how truck wash works visit their website at www.tctw.ca
Lee Hart is a field editor for Grainews in
Calgary, Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by
email at [email protected]