Indian River opens foodgrade wash rack in Mission TX, expands cleaning operations across system

Oct. 6, 2017
Find foodgrade wash rack serving US and Mexico customers.

A NEW two-bay foodgrade wash rack in Mission, Texas is helping Indian River Transport Inc to better service customers on both sides of the US-Mexico border. In addition to the Indian River fleet, the wash rack is open to other foodgrade tank haulers.

In operation since March, the wash rack currently has the capability to clean up to 20 tank trailers a day. Like the other tank cleaning facilities in the Indian River system, the new wash rack has Juice Processor Association and Kosher certification.

The terminal in Mission was built on a five-acre site that is adjacent to one of Indian River’s largest customers in the area. The wash rack occupies most of the 58,000-sq-ft building at the front of the property. Offices take up the rest of the building. The terminal is located at 906 Business Park Dr, Mission TX.

Plenty of paved parking is available for the tank trailers and 50 to 100 tractors that will be based at the terminal in the near future. System-wide, Indian River runs 750 tractors and 950 tank trailers.

“We will have dispatchers working at the Mission terminal, and we will have drivers based here,” says Richard Hunter, Indian River sanitation & facility compliance manager.

Food cargoes

Transports operating out of the Mission location haul orange, lime, lemon, and grapefruit juice in non-code sanitary tankers. Orange essence is transported in DOT407 trailers that are used just for foodgrade products.

This is just the newest of five foodgrade wash racks in the Indian River system. Two four-bay tank cleaning facilities are at the headquarters terminal in Winter Haven, Florida, and Clovis, New Mexico. Two-bay wash racks are operating at terminals in Ft Wayne, Indiana, and Cordele, Georgia.

A two-bay foodgrade wash rack should be operational at the Ben-salem, Pennsylvania, terminal in November. A single-bay should be open in Visalia, California, in the next few months. In addition, management has proposed a two-bay wash rack in Grandview, Washington, that could be up and running in 2018.

“Foodgrade hauling is becoming more of a regional operation in many of the areas we serve, and we can save money by building our own wash racks,” Hunter says. “In all of the sites now under consideration, we been using commercial wash racks. Our transports also have had to park at truck stops.

“Shippers have encouraged us to build more of our own wash racks. The Food and Drug Administration’s safe food transport rules also are pushing us in that direction.”

Mission wash

The Mission wash rack currently operates from 7 am to 6 pm Sunday through Friday. “We may expand to seven days a week when the citrus harvest ramps up in September,” Hunter says.

The system currently in use can clean two trailers at a time with 210°F water. The wash rack also has a Peacock pressure washer system for exterior cleaning of tank trailers and tractors. The carrier still plans to add a boiler in Mission.

Foodgrade cleaning solutions, including detergent and sanitizer, are supplied by EcoLab and Washing Equipment of Texas.

Pre-rinse water is collected in a 5,000-gallon storage tank and is hauled away for disposal. Wash water from the tank cleaning process meets city requirements for release into the sewer.

Worker safety and productivity were very much in mind when the wash rack was planned. The SafeRack work platform includes fall protection cages that surround workers at all times when they are on top of tank trailers being cleaned. LED light fixtures provide plenty of illumination in the wash bays. A Tuff Kote coating provides a chemical-resistant anti-slip floor.   ♦

About the Author

Charles Wilson

Charles E. Wilson has spent 20 years covering the tank truck, tank container, and storage terminal industries throughout North, South, and Central America. He has been editor of Bulk Transporter since 1989. Prior to that, Wilson was managing editor of Bulk Transporter and Refrigerated Transporter and associate editor of Trailer/Body Builders. Before joining the three publications in Houston TX, he wrote for various food industry trade publications in other parts of the country. Wilson has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and served three years in the U.S. Army.