There are many methods of excavating land, but few are as non-destructive as vacuum excavation. Done through the use of vacuum trucks or “hydrovac” trucks, hydro excavation is a popular choice for sensitive digging operations. What is vacuum excavation used for and what even is a vacuum truck? We have the answers to those questions and more below.
What Is Vacuum Excavation Used for and What Is a Vacuum Truck?
You’ll likely have seen a vacuum truck before driving around the city as they commonly deal with cleaning clogged drains. However, they do so much more than that.
Vacuum trucks themselves have a unique set of tools on-board. Outfitted with a compressed air lance, waste storage chamber, vacuum suction, and twin or triple air vehicle fans. For excavation work, the ground is broken up and dispersed with the air lance and then vacuumed into the truck’s waste storage chamber to be contained for later safe disposal.
Because of their precision and accuracy, vacuum excavation is used for excavating around cable or utility lines, pipelines, and, in some cases, rail lines for repair or removal. As mentioned previously, they can also be used to unclog city drains and other drainages as well.
How Do Vacuum Trucks Work?
Most commonly, vacuum excavation on vacuum trucks works through a fan system. The fan system is often chosen over other methods in construction like positive displacement with respect to suction.
This is primarily because it’s simply faster at moving more air to create better suction and is less expensive than other options. Most vacuum trucks will have two to three fans to create the suction necessary which pulls up the debris and sends it to the holding tank in the back of the truck.
What Are the Types of Vacuum Excavation?
Vacuum excavation is broken up into three main types, jet rodders, vacuum trucks, and sucker trailers.
- Jet rodding involves using a precision hose that shoots out water under high pressure which can break up the ground, slush, and even tree roots.
- Vacuum trucks suck up debris (usually created by jet rodding) into a large tank to expose the excavating area with minimal damage to the environment.
- Sucker trailers are custom-designed trailers that work essentially the same as a vacuum truck, just in trailer-form.
Vacuum trucks are handy for a wide variety of tasks and their design makes them an excellent “portable” solution for dealing with waste and construction.