Hydrovac excavation, also referred to as hydro-excavation, is a form of excavation that uses a combination of pressurized water and a vacuum nozzle to rapidly dig up soil. It's quite versatile and can be used to quickly dig trenches, valleys, and post holes with little disruption to nearby soil. One of the best uses for hydrovac excavation, however, is exposing buried utility lines.
Whether you're doing repairs on a line or double-checking where it's located underground, hydro-excavation is one of the best ways to uncover it. Read on to learn three reasons why you should use hydrovac excavation when you're exposing buried utility lines.
1. Less Risk of Damaging Utilities Compared to Other Excavation Methods
One of the best reasons to use hydrovac excavating to expose buried utility lines is that it's much less likely to damage the lines compared to other methods of excavation. A shovel or a backhoe can easily damage buried pipes or electrical wires, so your work crew has to be very careful while they're digging. Damaging a utility line will inconvenience every home and business connected to the line and will likely result in fines from the city or the utility company.
As long as the buried utility line can withstand the pressurized water used in hydrovac excavating, there's very little risk of damaging the line when you're using hydro-excavation to expose it. The water acts as a lubricant that prevents rocks and soil from damaging the line while they're being vacuumed up, and the vacuum itself is much gentler on utility lines than a shovel or a backhoe.
2. Faster Than Conventional Digging
Another major advantage of using hydrovac excavating to expose a utility line is that it's very fast. If your work crew is using shovels to expose a utility line in order to minimize the risk of accidentally damaging it, it can take hours for them to dig a trench that exposes the line.
Hydro-excavation can expose the line in minutes, as the slurry that's created after blasting water into the soil is very easy for the vacuum to pick up. Quicker excavation means that you can begin work on your project sooner, whether you're repairing a utility line or simply checking its location before you can begin work nearby.
3. Exposes Buried Utilities With Minimal Disruption to Surrounding Soil
Hydrovac excavating is very precise, which minimizes the amount of soil that's dug up when you're exposing a utility line. The hydro-excavation crew can dig a trench in a perfectly straight line by slowly moving the hydrovac nozzle in the direction of the utility line, which allows you to fully expose the line with minimal disruption to nearby soil.
If you're exposing a utility line on private property, the owners will appreciate the fact that very little collateral damage will be done to their land. In addition, the precise trenching possible with hydrovac excavating also makes backfilling the trench much quicker and easier once repairs are done on the utility line.
Overall, hydrovac excavating is almost always the best method of excavation for exposing buried utility lines. It's very fast, and there's minimal risk of causing accidental damage to the line or nearby turf. While hydro-excavation is a more expensive option than simply exposing a utility line with shovels or a backhoe, the increase in speed and reduced risk of damage to the utility is often worth it.
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