What Is The Difference Between Vacuum And Hydro Excavation?

If you want to use non-destructive digging on a job site then you have to decide whether to use a vacuum or hydro procedure. While both these excavation techniques work in the same basic way, they do have some differences. It's important to choose the right technique for your job.

How do these types of non-destructive digging work? Which one will work best for your job?

What Is Vacuum Excavation?

When you use vacuum excavation, you basically suck earth out of the ground. Rather than digging down from the surface, you insert a specialist excavation device into the ground and let it remove earth for you from under the surface. You essentially hoover the earth out.

What Is Hydro Excavation?

The principles of hydro excavation are the same as vacuum excavation. Again, you suck earth out from under the ground.

However, this procedure adds water to the mix. Before you start to remove earth, you flush water into the excavation site. Once the area is wet, you then extract the earth from it.

Which Procedure Should You Use?

Vacuum and hydro excavation techniques are both effective ways of digging underground without disturbing the surface. They both work well if you have to bypass underground obstacles or preserve infrastructure that already sits on the site.

While you can generally use either technique when you need to use non-destructive digging, there are times when you should choose one method of excavation over the other. This choice depends on factors such as environmental conditions, ground quality, and your post-excavation soil management plans.

For example, vacuum excavation works well on soft ground; however, it won't work as effectively or fast if the ground is hard or very compacted. In these situations, hydro excavation might be a better option.

The water you use at the start of the hydro excavation process softens the ground and makes it easier to extract. So, this method works better on hard and compacted soil. It is often also the most effective extraction technique in winter when the ground is frozen. You can also use systems that can flush warm water through the earth to thaw it out and make it even easier to extract.

However, if you want to reuse the earth you extract to fill in a site after a job, then vacuum extraction is a more suitable option. You can't typically reuse soil after you've wet it in a hydro application.

To find out more, ask a non-destructive digging contractor for advice.