This new service is known as VACUUM EXCAVATION and is commonly called “potholing” or “Air Knife” to locate underground utilities or to vacuum excavate a hole down to approximately 12 feet deep prior to drilling or geoprobing. This is generally used (and needed) in areas having several underground utilities that can be difficult to precisely locate. In fact, some of the larger oil companies are requiring that vacuum excavation (Air Knife) will be performed on their sites prior to any drilling or geoprobe holes being advanced, for obvious safety reasons. To assist with the vacuum excavation, our VacMasters 4000 is set up with both, either air jetting or water jetting to help break up stiff clays.
There are three answers… safety, efficiency and safety! During hand augering activities, it is vey difficult to tell whether you have encountered a rock, rubble or a buried utility. And sometimes, by the time you know what you have hit, it is too late and the damage has already been done to a fiberglass or PVC pipe or even to the sheath of an electric or fiber-optic cable! So, how safe is hand augering? We think, not very safe at all and generally not very efficient either.
Vacuum excavation (also called “soft” excavation) is performed by using a high velocity air lance to inject the air stream into the pores and fissures of the soil which then blows the soil particles apart! A powerful vacuum hose follows the air lance and vacuums up the soil particles, cleans out the hole for visual inspection and exact locating. In very hard clays, the efficiency of the air lance is decreased. We therefore have a high-pressure water injection system on board as a back-up to cut through the stiff clays, although rarely needed. All of the spoils are vacuumed and are deposited into a holding tank. The spoils can then be used for backfilling or can be disposed of or staged on site.
Does this sound like something you could use on one or more of your projects? If so, give us a call for a price quote. And remember, safety doesn’t cost…it pays!
With our Precision Trenching, we exposed a Multi-Line phone wire that was not supposed to be there, as the 1-call locate had shown it 10’ away. A conventional trench, not only could have had costly repairs, but loss of business to the client.
With Precision Trenching you can trench through flowerbeds, under sidewalks and cross under/over utilities safely.