Hydrovac: How Does it Work, and What Are the Benefits?

Hydro excavation or Hydrovac is used to remove soil with a combination of water and pressure, and there are no mechanical tools involved in the process. A dirt slurry is created as water is mixed with the soil under pressure and then vacuumed out, which reveals additional layers of soil.

Hydrovac is an extremely stable way of soil removal and is most commonly used to reveal existing utility lines and pipes without risking the integrity of surrounding soil.

Let’s take a closer look at what hydro excavation is, how it works, its benefits, and its applications in the field.

How Hydrovac Works

This method of soil removal is used primarily when it’s better to “cut” through the soil instead of digging through it. Thanks to the high pressures involved, the water cuts through and mixes with the soil, which reduces dust pollution in the process.

The mud slurry is then suctioned into an excavation truck, allowing the pressure water to cut deeper. The process is repeated until the desired depth is reached. After the work is done, the slurry is released back into the excavation from the tank in order to cover the exposed subsurface facilities. Over time, the water diffuses into the land, which has its own set of benefits.

This method can be used both for small areas and larger excavation projects.

Applications of Hydrovac

Because of the numerous benefits offered by this type of excavating, Hydrovac systems are used at a variety of work sites, including:

  • Daylighting
  • Locating/replacing underground utilities
  • Pipeline construction
  • Sign installation/replacement
  • Pole installation/replacement
  • Pothole installation/replacement
  • Sewer inspection/repair
  • Trenching/micro trenching, and more.

Benefits of Hydrovac

This method of excavation is used widely by utility and construction companies throughout the US for several reasons. Here are some of the benefits that hydro excavation can offer you:

  • Accurate excavation. The pressurized wand is usually handheld, which helps workers direct the stream of water precisely where it’s needed. Workers can maneuver the wand in any direction, including making sharp turns when cutting through the soil without disrupting the environment. Hence, if something comes in the way unexpectedly, you can go around it very easily.
  • Reduces risk of injury/damage. Hydro excavation should never be done beyond the 3,000-psi mark. Normally, 1,800 psi is used to cut through tough grass and soil, which doesn’t pose much risk for passersby and utilities. Even revealed pipes and wires aren’t in any danger, which means reduced liability for companies compared to using heavy backhoes or sharp metal that cuts through everything.
  • Suitable for winter and summer seasons. Hydrovac systems can use hot water to cut through frozen soil, allowing construction and repair work to be performed even in the winter season.
  • Timeliness. It’s no secret that mechanical excavation can be much quicker than hydrovac. However, it can also tear through utilities and pipes, leading to delays in the construction project and increased costs.

If you would like to learn more about Hydrovac or want to see how it can help facilitate your ventures, give us a call or get in contact with Americom today. We’d love to help you get your project going by giving you a FREE quote on your project!