Vacuum Excavation & Hydro Excavation 101
Every day, contractors, municipalities and utilities excavate for installation of underground facilities, or must locate existing pipes, cables and lines for maintenance and repairs. In the past, this usually involved digging by hand (often a slow and tedious process) or with a mechanical excavator, backhoe or similar machine. Every year, there are numerous reports of injuries, deaths, explosions and fires from unsafe or poorly planned excavations that strike underground facilities or result from collapsed trenches. Many of these incidents can be avoided and the risks minimized by utilizing techniques such as hydro excavation services.
Two Types of Excavation Processes
Vacuum excavation is a general term that may include processes using either water (hydro-excavation) or high-pressure air to loosen soil. In either case, an air vacuum is used to move the loose soil and rocks, often into a debris tank for later disposal or back-filling the hole that’s been made.
Hydro-excavation is a process that utilizes pressurized water to break up and remove the soil via air vacuum into a debris tank, providing a non-destructive means to safely locate utilities and precisely excavate an area.