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Hydro vacuum excavation: the safest way to dig

The popularity of hydro excavation is on the rise due to its many advantages over traditional forms of excavation, chief among them its ability to minimise damage to underground infrastructure.

by Brian Showley, Vice President of Sales, Vac-Tron Equipment LLC

A hydro vacuum excavator generates high volumes of air and passes these air flows through the machine’s intake wand and hose into a series of chambers. When an operator directs the intake wand and high-pressure water at the ground to begin excavation, the airflow – along with the high-pressure water – breaks up the ground particles and allows the vacuum to suck up the debris easily and safely while depositing into a storage tank.

The use of vacuum trucks or vacuum trailers enables contractors to be precise and ready for inspection. The equipment can safely uncover a number of sensitive utilities including: pipelines, phone lines, fibre optics – and anything else buried up to 6.1 m underground. The process works quickly, safely and minimises the chance of damaging any expensive or hazardous lines.

There are several reasons hydro excavation is a safe digging practice. The method:

  • minimises the risk of damaging the utility
  • is suitable for all utilities, including gas, water, and power
  • is less disruptive to the environment
  • results in cleaner work areas
  • limits traffic congestion
  • is cost effective
  • is faster than hand digging.

The list of applications for hydro excavators is almost endless. Vacuum excavators can help oil and gas companies, construction projects, irrigation, power plants, farms, silos and more. The method gives the operator the ability to clean out holes and trenches, including house foundations, in a safe and effective manner.

Minimising the risk of damaging underground utilities is of utmost importance to operators, especially considering the costs and ripple effects of asset strikes. Some of the additional drawbacks that can occur if a line is ruptured include:

  • environmental contamination
  • project delays
  • lost time and productivity
  • financial liability
  • re-design costs
  • changes to existing work orders and the need for extra work orders
  • construction claims
  • higher insurance costs
  • higher financing costs
  • injury or casualties.

Spoutvac has recently teamed up with Vac-Tron Equipment, a producer of industrial vacuum excavators and equipment, enabling the former to offer a wider range of affordable and reliable products to its consumers. It recently introduced the Vac-Tron LP 573 hydro excavator to its range.

The machine features ‘baghouse’ filtration to 0.5 microns for dry and wet vacuuming, debris tanks pressurisation to clear blockages and one of the largest silencers in the industry. Other features include a hydraulically operated, over centre door locking mechanism for positive lock and unlock.

This article was featured in the June edition of Trenchless Australasia. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet, or mobile device, click here.

For more information visit the Spoutvac website.

If you have a product you would like featured in Trenchless Australasia contact Assistant Editor Nick Lovering at

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