Hydro excavation is a nondestructive process that uses pressurized water to break up soil and uncover existing utilities and underground structures. Using a vacuum and water, hydro excavation, or hydrovacing, can locate utilities and collect Quality Level A data in a safe and reliable way by eliminating the risk of damage to the site as compared to digging. Hydro excavation can also perform deeper test holes than air vacuum excavation.
How does a Hydro Excavator work?
Hydro excavation requires a high pressure water hose, a vacuum, and truck. To begin the hydro excavation process, we use the hose to blast the ground with water and break up the soil. Hot water can be used on sites where the ground is frozen. Then, we use a vacuum to suck up the debris and mud. The debris will be transferred to a truck or debris tank where the contents will need to be disposed at a designated area.
During this process, the water hose and vacuum work together to create test pits and uncover utilities and underground structures. Since the test pits can be directly conducted on a utility line without digging excess soil, hydro excavation is a very precise method to locate utilities and collect data.
Benefits of Hydro Excavation
Hydro excavation has numerous uses in addition to locating utilities and collecting data. Some examples are: slot trenching, potholing, trenching for installation of utilities, pipes or poles, restoring tree roots, preserving the ground, and removing snow to name a few.
Hydro excavation is fast and efficient. If there are deep and numerous tests holes that must be completed in a limited amount of time, then hydro excavation is the preferred method compared to air vacuum excavation because hydro excavation can handle a lot of soil and eliminates the need to dig by hand. For example, a full size hydro excavation truck with a 13 CY debris body allows for a better production rate and fewer trips to the dumping sites. This significantly reduces the time and labor costs.
Hydro excavation is safe and reliable for both utilities and laborers. Using hydro excavation, the risk of hitting utility lines are decreased significantly. Such damages can delay projects, cause harm workers and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since hydro excavation can provide Quality Level A data to reveal the exact location of underground utility lines, hydro excavation can prevent unsafe working conditions. Additionally, hydro excavation is performed in secure areas such as substations, which require work to be done using a non-destructive method like hydro excavation to dig trenches.