Also referred to as Soft-Excavation, Potholing or Dry-Excavation, Hydro-Excavation is a new safer way of verifying located subsurface lines or hazards and verifying their depth, size, direction and construction materials before any HDD Boring, Trenching or Digging of new lines commences. A specially designed water-jet or air-jet breaks up the ground in a very small area and dirt, mud and debris is removed by a high-powered vacuum wand that can go down at least 6 feet below the surface.
The water or air-jet is used to break up the ground or debris but will not damage PVC Conduit, Ceramic Pipe, Metal Conduit or Pipe, nor will it cut Telephone, Power or Fiber-Optic lines. By using these safety methods, the operator can visually determine the exact location, direction, size, depth and type of previously installed and located underground utilities and thus avoid them with the Horizontal Drill, Trencher or Track Hoe.
Hydro-excavation can also be used to clean out driveway culverts, clean out underground water valve boxes, vaults, pull stations, handholds and or manholes that have been filled in with dirt and debris over the years. It can also be used to clean up spills, dry materials and to drill fence post or pipe holes.
Hydro-excavation is most often used to clean up drilling mud after directional drilling in urban settings. Typical Hydro-Vac tanks hold between 500 and 750 gallons.