Hydro excavation is a non-mechanical, non-destructive process that uses pressurized water and industrial strength vacuum to simultaneously excavate and evacuate soil. As hydro excavation safely breaks up soil, the soil and water slurry is conveyed by vacuum to a debris tank.
Instead of manual or mechanical digging methods, the hydro excavator uses water to break up soil, which virtually eliminates any risk of underground utility damage. The hydro excavation process results in safe, fast, precise excavations that require less backfill, labor, restoration, and has less environmental impact than traditional excavation techniques.

Different Techniques

The purpose of slot trenching is to dig narrow trenches. This is commonly needed for installing pipes, cables, signs, posts and other utilities underground. Since only narrow trenches are needed, hydro excavation provides a better option because of its accuracy and precision.

Previous slot trenching methods can be dangerous and are time consuming. These mechanical and manual ways of digging are hard on the laborers. It takes a lot of time get an excavation job done this way and poses safety risks. Also, conventional slot trenching methods are not able to dig a narrow enough trench. Backfilling is then needed. This increases the costs of labor and material. Hydro Excavation offers a way to get the job done without these issues.

Potholing or daylighting is the process of digging a test hole to expose underground facilities. This is to check those facilities for cracks, leaks or any kind of damage. Industrial, commercial and residential communities all need to “daylight” their facilities from time to time. This is important in the maintenance of underground pipes, sewers, etc. Hydro excavation can save you labor, time and money with these types of jobs.

Traditionally, potholing or daylighting is done using a backhoe or by hand or shovel digging. A backhoe is a heavy piece of equipment that has a digging bucket mounted on a tractor. Since the digging bucket is large, it poses a risk of damaging the underground utilities and moves far more dirt than is necessary.

Heavy machinery also brings safety risks to nearby citizens and to the laborers. A malfunction in the equipment can cause tragic accidents that can be avoided using the hydro excavation methods instead.

One of the biggest problems faced by these industries was the discovery of buried utility lines. The difficult working conditions and cold climate associated with these industries made it very difficult to find buried lines.

Excavating without discovering high pressure water lines was a disaster waiting to happen. As early as the 90s, many sewer and vacuum trucks were equipped with suction devices, converting them into suction excavators.

The 90s was a time when the demand for hydrovac trucks started to increase rapidly. These machines were needed for commercial, municipal and industrial applications. However, it took some time before hydrovac trucks would be widely popular across the United States and Canada.

The rapid growth of the vacuum excavation sector is the result of the need to increase worker safety while encouraging non-destructive digging techniques.