Hydro excavation is proven to be a safer, more efficient, and environmentally friendly method of excavation compared to traditional mechanical digging. Within the hydro excavation industry, there are two methods of excavation: air or water. Operators may have a preference toward one or the other, but there are many factors to consider when choosing between using air or water.
Hydro excavation applications can include trenching, daylighting, and digging. Traditionally, shovels or other digging machines need to be right at the excavation site. With hydro excavation, hoses can be run to the excavation site thus reducing traffic and soil disturbance near the excavation. This creates a safer work area for the operators working on an excavation.
Many municipalities and job sites are tightening allowances on how an excavation project impacts the environment. This does not just include which excavation methods are used on a job site, but what kind of waste material is produced. Using water for excavation creates a slurry by-product that must be processed. Operators are finding that their only option to use at a site is air.
While air is used in a minority of excavation projects compared to water, it is an important tool for operators to have. Air is effective in applications where the soil is loose or sandy and can be easily broken up. It is the perfect option for smaller SUE (sub-surface utility engineering), piling hole, and daylighting projects.
The material that is vacuumed into the truck’s debris body can usually be dumped back on the job site or used as backfill at the same job. This saves time and fuel costs since the operator does not have to possibly deal with spoils that need to be processed off-site. Also, a contractor does not have to pay for additional backfill dirt to be trucked in.
Furthermore, air does not run out. An air compressor on the excavation truck produces all the air needed for the job, so no time is spent travelling to refill water.
KAISER PREMIER’s CV Series Hydrovacs can be fitted with an optional air compressor package giving operators the option of air or water at a jobsite. Additionally, the TerraVac hydro excavation trailer can perform similar tasks within a non-CLD platform.