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Vacuum excavation is a method of non-destructive digging that helps to remove soil without damaging underground assets. Also known as hydro excavation, vacuum excavation combines high-pressure water with an air vacuum to safely dig up and transfer debris or soil.

So, how does vacuum excavation work, and when should vacuum excavation be used over traditional excavation methods? Within this article, the experts at LiveLocates will outline the basics of what vacuum excavation is, when this method of digging may be required, and how you can engage the services of a local, qualified technician to safely conduct vacuum excavation.

What is vacuum excavation?

Vacuum excavation is a safe and efficient way to excavate an area without damaging underground utilities or causing damage to the surrounding area.

Vacuum excavation uses high-powered suction to remove debris, soil, and other earth materials from an area. Vacuum excavators will suck up the materials and deposit into a tank on the machine. This process can also be used to dig trenches or holes for utility lines or other construction projects.

What are vacuum excavators used for?

Vacuum excavation can be used for a variety of tasks such as preparing construction sites, safely performing a visual inspection of underground utilities, drain and pit cleaning and excavating trenches.

While their applications can be varied, the purpose behind vacuum excavation services remains consistent. Vacuum excavators are typically used in scenarios where traditional excavation methods would be too impractical or too destructive to work. Vacuum excavators provide a viable alternative to traditional excavation machinery that can cause damage to sensitive areas and surrounding terrain.

How does vacuum excavation work?

Vacuum excavation is a technique that utilises a combination of air suction, compressed air, and high-pressure water to safely expose hidden underground utility networks and aid in the safe, non-destructive removal of debris that is required to carry out requisite work.

The vacuum excavator has a powerful engine that creates suction through a large hose. The operator guides the hose to the desired area, and the suction pulls the material into the machine.

A vacuum excavator is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of applications, including trenching, utility line inspection, installation and repair, drain clearing, potholing, and more. It is also an environmentally friendly option as it produces less emissions and noise pollution compared to traditional excavation.

what are vacuum excavators used for

Does anything need to be done to prepare for vacuum excavation?

Before a vacuum excavator can be used, there are several foundational steps that must be carried out. These steps help to ensure that the job can be completed safely and efficiently. Some of the most important factors to consider include:

  • The type of soil or material that needs to be removed
  • The depth of the excavation
  • The size of the area to be excavated
  • Any underground utilities that may be present

Once the job site has been assessed and prepared, the vacuum excavator can be set up.

The benefits of vacuum excavation

There are many benefits to using vacuum excavation over traditional digging methods like excavators. These include:

  • Vacuum excavation is cleaner and causes less damage to the surrounding area.
  • Vacuum excavation is more precise, so you can avoid accidental damage to underground utilities or other sensitive areas.
  • Vacuum excavation can be carried out in difficult to access areas.

If you’re looking for a more efficient, less disruptive way to excavate, vacuum excavation is the perfect solution.

What is the difference between vacuum excavation and hydro excavation?

Vacuum excavation and hydro excavation are two methods of excavating earth and other sediment. Both methods use high-powered equipment to remove material from the ground, but there are some key differences between the two.

  • Vacuum excavation uses a suction system to remove material from the ground. This method is typically used for smaller projects where precise excavations are needed.
  • Hydro excavation uses high-pressure water jets to loosen and break up material before it is removed by a vacuum system. This method is often used for larger projects where more material needs to be removed.

Ultimately, the best method for a particular project will depend on several factors, including the size and scope of the project, the budget, and the timeline.

Benefits of vacuum excavation

What happens to the excavated waste?

Waste and soil that are sucked through a vacuum hose are deposited into the debris tank that can be left on site if that is appropriate or later sent for disposal in the safest, most environmentally friendly method possible. The nature of the waste will determine what happens to it once it is sucked into the debris tank. In some cases, soil or eco-materials that are extracted can be used for backfilling the hole.

Non-destructive digging with LiveLocates

Vacuum excavation is the ideal solution for instances where you need soil, debris, or groundwork removed, without damaging the below assets. Whether you’re unsure of the underground utilities on-site, or you have your utilities clearly mapped, it’s better to be safe than sorry and either work with a qualified locator, or a technician that can provide safe, effective, and non-destructive excavation with vacuum technology.

LiveLocates are the leading underground utility service and vacuum excavators across Southern NSW & ACT. Servicing the South Coast, Snowy Mountains, Snowy Valley, Canberra, and the surrounding regions, we help businesses and private property owners to successfully excavate while protecting their assets. If you’re looking for expert vacuum excavation services in NSW, call on the experts at LiveLocates today.