Hydro ExcavationQuick Guide To Vacuum Excavation And Hydro Excavation

11 December 2020by support

There are many theories out there how hydro-excavation or vacuum excavation got its start. Some say it was discovered by Canadian oil and gas workers when they were looking to access oil in places where the soil was frozen. 

Then there are others who say that it all started during the California Gold Rush where diggers were looking for an easy way to get to gold. Whatever be the case, please keep reading for everything you need to know about vacuum excavation and hydro-excavation.

What Is Hydro-Excavation?

This is also known as vacuum truck excavation or non-destructive digging. With this method, water under high pressure is injected into the soil with the help of a hose. This high-pressure water liquefies the soil and creates a slurry of mud and water. 

This is known as non-destructive digging precisely for this reason as this method makes a clean cut with precision. The resulting slurry mix of mud and water is then sucked out with the help of a powerful air vacuum and is deposited into a debris tank. 

Since an industrial-strength vacuum is used in the process, it is also known as vacuum excavation. The vacuum system is powered by industrial strength fans that move large amounts of air and in the process, force the mix of mud and water through the hose into the debris tank. This whole process is carried out with the help of a hydro-excavation or vacuum excavation truck. 

What Are Different Types Vacuum Pumps

Where Is Vacuum Excavation Primarily Used

  • Tight Spaces

Vacuum Excavation is widely used in the construction industry, especially in places where there is limited space for movement and other excavation or digging methods can’t be used. This method of excavation does not need the equipment to be right at the place where the digging is needed.

The vacuum truck can actually be placed some distance away allowing technicians to dig the trench or the hole easily without causing any disruption. 

The sludge generated in the process is picked up with the help of the vacuum truck.  It is also a much more accurate process compared to manual digging and is also the reason it is the preferred method for digging foundations.

  • Plumbing and landscaping

In most cases, plumbing is underground. Soil needs to be dug up in order to lay down new pipes and to take out the old ones. Vacuum excavation is the preferred method of digging in such cases as the ground can be dug up without causing any damage to other utility lines already there. It is much more accurate and faster compared to other manual methods.

It is also preferred in landscaping as this method doesn’t disturb the surrounding soil and is much more accurate requiring less restoration and repair work once the excavation has been completed.

Benefits Of Hydro-Excavation

  1. It is a much safer method of excavation as workers can control the digging from a distance.
  2. It is a non-destructive method of digging which means it causes much less damage compared to traditional methods of digging.
  3. Since it is a safer and less damaging system of excavation, it can help in bringing down the insurance costs due to lower risks.
  4. It is much less labour intensive compared to other methods.
  5. It is a faster method of excavation which saves a lot of time and helps in completing projects ahead of time.
  6. It is an extremely accurate excavation method when compared to the other methods.
  7. It is the only safe excavation method that can be used during freezing conditions as it does not expose workers to low temperatures.


Overall, hydro excavation or vacuum excavation is a less invasive, safer, faster, more accurate, cost-effective method of digging in confined spaces and in places where high accuracy is needed. 

While there are a number of companies offering this service, it is recommended to work with a company that has the right equipment and more importantly, an experienced team behind the powerful equipment to get the work done right the first time.

You can rest easy in knowing that with Pressure Works, your big excavation projects will be done quickly, accurately, and safely. We give the utmost importance to your safety, the safety of your workers and our technicians, as well as the safety of the environment.


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