Hydrovacing is the process of removing or moving ground with pressurized water. An air conveyance or vacuum is then used to transfer the ground or debris to a debris tank. This allows for a non-destructive and safer way to excavate soil and locate underground utilities.
The popularity started in the oil and gas industry in Canada. With the cold winters, often the ground would be frozen, making it more difficult to excavate using traditional methods. Using a hydrovac with heated water was a safe and efficient way to get the job done.
How it works…A hydrovac combines high-pressure water and air vacuum. This system cuts through the soils and breaks it up, then the vacuum lifts the slurry from the excavation area into the truck tank.
There are two choices for the vacuum system, a fan system or a positive displacement blower. A fan system is able to move air in huge amounts which allows for faster excavations. It is easier to control and operate and is often lighter and less expensive than the positive displacement blowers. A displacement blower is able to move air in longer distances than the fan system. Excavation can be done at greater depths but at a slower rate.
Applications…Underground facilities and subsurface utilities are almost always needed for construction. Excavation to lay these utilities is not an easy job and has a lot of risks. The existence of hydrovacing has considerably lessened these risks and can now be used for many excavation applications.
Hydrovacs are typically used for line, sign and pole installation and location. It is also used for potholing or daylighting and allows for less congestion and traffic in the excavation area because the equipment can be positioned at a distance.
Pipe and sewer rehabilitation is another application for hydrovacs. This method reduces risks for any damages to or punctures in pipes. This eliminates the additional time and cost that repairs require.
Benefits…Hydrovacing brings many benefits to the industrial excavation world and is becoming the most preferred method of digging because of its efficient and accurate results.
The primary benefit is that it provides for better damage and safety control when compared with mechanical methods. Since it is so accurate, it limits accidents and injuries and also just does a better job of digging. Another benefit is that using hydrovacs avoids damage to underground pipes, lines and cables. This in turn eliminates the high expenses needed for repairs and restoration. Needing to do fewer repairs means less time to get the job done too. Interrupted utilities bring inconveniences and high costs and this process of excavation is able to minimize damages.
All these bring long run benefits as well. With the safety risks and repairs lessened, insurance and liability costs are also reduced. As this process provides better results, a company’s reputation and profitability often increases.
In general, hydrovacing is a method that creates a better service for the customer and that makes life easier for contractors, customers and laborers.