Slot Trenching with Hydro Excavation

slot trenching utility digging construction

Slot trenching is a technique used for exposing buried utilities as well as for installing posts, signs etc. It can be safely done by using hydro excavation, which is a technique that does not disturb soil or the surrounding material. Besides, it can be safely used where heavy machinery is not permitted.

Underground utilities need to be exposed now and then, for checkups and repairs, and slot trenching does that after cleaning the area and confirming the exact location of the utilities, it’s a great way to accomplish utility digging. By using hydro excavation, the entire process is much safer, and the risk for accidents and injuries is almost eliminated. The result is a precise hole, efficiently dug, without damaging the utility of the area around it.

The work site also becomes a safer environment, free of debris and of the general mess associated with traditional digging sites.  Hydro excavation uses water at high pressure for breaching the soil and digging in a controlled manner. There is also an air vacuum feature,designed to evacuate the soil resulted from excavation and move it to tank attached to the hydrovac truck.

Slot trenching by taking advantage of the benefits of hydro excavation is definitely less time consuming as well as significantly more efficient and safer than traditional methods of excavation.

How Hydrovac is Non-Destructive

non destructive water excavation

Hydro excavation, also called hydrovac, is currently the only non-invasive digging technology that is perfectly safe for carrying out trenching, moving earth over larger surfaces as well as for revealing hidden underground utilities that might be dangerous if dug into with other methods. Here is how the water excavation process works:

  • Using the power of pressure, water and vacuum – hydrovac machines do not use mechanical tools for digging into the soil. They use pressurized water that is pulverized onto the surface to loosen and to break down the soil. The combination of soil and water results in a slurry that is extracted with the help of a vacuum hose that performs the sucking parallel to the water pulverization process. The hose extracts the material and transports it to a special container for depositing and disposal;
  • Safety – the hydrovac process involves no mechanical breaking, no heat, flame or sparkles, therefore it eliminates the risk of any explosions or accidents that other excavation methods involve. The process is safe for the environment as well – there is no contaminated waste left behind, the collected debris being suitable for being spread again in areas around the excavation area or for being taken away and safely deposited somewhere else.

What Does Hydrovac Mean?

what does hydrovac meanHydrovac, also called a hydro excavator, is a machine used for daylighting, for excavating, for digging trenches through liquefying soil and efficiently extracting the resulting slurry.

The hydroexcavation process is carried out using machines that generate pressurized water that is pulverized onto the soil in the excavation area to loosen and to liquefy it and that also generate vacuum to extract the slurry and to transfer it to a container for depositing. There are many types of hydrovac machines available on the market – they all operate based on the same principle, but they are different in terms of size and capacity.

Hydrovac offers many advantages over traditional excavation methods, such as excavation done with backhoe excavators. The most important benefits include efficiency (hydrovac machines can do the work of entire excavation teams in a couple of hours), safety (the process can be safely used in areas where digging with others would be risky, such as on land with hidden utility lines buries underground or where care must be taken not to damage tree roots) and environment-friendliness. Hydrovac services are also great ways to reduce the costs related to the excavation process – the high level of efficiency and the fact the process includes the removal of the debris from the excavation site guarantee that.

Why Is Potholing a Recommended Process for Most Construction Projects?

potholing construction project

If you want to start a new construction project on your property, potholing can be one of the most important processes you will have to start with. While not considered mandatory according to most building standards, potholing is more than recommended, as it can help avoid the consequences of mistakes made during the process of pinpointing the exact location of utility lines based on old maps and blueprints.


Most people assume that an old blueprint of their property can tell them everything they need to know to start their new construction projects, including the location of various utility lines and pipes that run underground. While this might be true if you’re planning to transform an area that’s a fair distance away from most of the utility lines, the building process can get complicated if you start digging close to them and actually hit one.


Potholing is a process that can prevent this type of error. Through it, experts will dig a small hole to gain visual confirmation of where the utility lines actually area. Since the earth is not 100% stable – especially in the case of properties located on sloped terrain – potholing companies can be a real lifesaver, and it will help you design your new construction with the utility lines in mind, so you won’t have to deal with unexpected added expenses down the line.

The Most Common Types of Underground Infrastructures

Daylighting Services Exposes Underground Infrastructure

Wherever you start digging these days, you will find lots infrastructure buried underground, new and ancient alike. The current trend is to move all cables and utilities underground to eliminate air cables and lines and the deeper layers of the soil are also home to old utilities – here are some of the most common types:

  • Telecommunication cables – telecommunication companies have been using underground infrastructures for a long time and they continue to install fiber optic cables under the surface;
  • Sewers – old and new sewage pipes are also frequently found underground;
  • Old train tracks – as automobiles became widespread, many train lines became useless and were abandoned. Many of them gradually became covered in soil, being revealed only during construction projects;
  • Gas pipes – the type of utility that is the most commonly found underground;
  • Electric cables – electrical companies also prefer to use subterranean infrastructure;
  • Metal and concrete pipes that serve various purposes.

Modern and recently installed underground infrastructure is marked on maps, but old lines and cables are hidden and unmarked, therefore any construction project must start with daylighting services to reveal hidden lines, to ensure the safety of the worksite as well as the efficiency of the project.

Common Challenges Faced In Utility Construction Projects

Hydrodig Excavation Construction Projects

Utility construction projects must face many challenges and are certainly not as easy to complete as some people prefer to believe. Hiring an excavation company and digging up for different construction projects is just a part of the process.

Any utility construction project requires a good plan, as well as a certain budget. You will likely have to navigate through different contractors, talk to them and evaluate them from different perspectives in order to find the best deal and ensure that your project will be completed safely and in no time.

Marking underground utilities is also a crucial step before digging, to avoid damaging buried pipes and lines and losing a lot of money to deal with repairs, downtime and legal matters. You will have to call 811 and allow professional locators to mark buried utility on your construction site.

If you want to ensure complete safety and efficiency, you will have to rent special equipment (a water or air excavator). These are great solutions even if you have to dig in cold weather. A hydrovac truck or an air excavator will ensure the best efficiency and raise productivity, which ultimately results in money savings.  See more

Improving Productivity With Hydro Excavation

Productivity With Hydrodig ExcavationThere are many challenges utility contractors must face nowadays, one of them being navigating through the congested subsurface work area, without causing any damage to underground utilities.

If a pipe or line is damaged, there are consequences: hazardous substance leaks, downtime, costly repairs etc. Hydro excavation by companies such as Hydrodig is a modern, safe and very efficient alternative to traditional excavation. It is the best solution utility contractors that want to perform the job on time, on budget and to work safely even in the most challenging conditions. In this context, hydro excavation greatly improves productivity.

A hydrovac truck uses pressurized water to break the soil, as well as a vacuum system to collect debris. The water washes safely over buried utilities, without damaging them, and the digging project will be ready in no time. Consequently, the costs are lowered, and the project margins – increased.

Hydrovac trucks are more and more present on construction sites. Some people still see them only as added project cost, but their benefits are unmatched by any other digging method, so they are economic in the long run, by getting more done in less time and by reducing considerably all kind of risks (accidents, personal injuries etc.).

Does Hyrdovac Affect Wildlife?

Hydrovac Truck Excavation Is Safe For Wildlife

Hydrovac is among the most modern and most efficient excavation methods used today and it is something else, too: a non-invasive technique that is efficient without harming the environment, without disturbing the wildlife in the excavation area and without hurting plants.

The hydrovac process uses the power of pulverized water to break down and to move the soil in the desired area and the power of vacuum to remove the generated slurry and to extract it into special containers. The process has been invented to excavate safely in areas where there might be hidden, uncharted utilities under the surface of the soil as well as to excavate in a manner that does not hurt the tree roots in the area. Beside the extraordinary efficiency and safety offered by a hydrovac truck, the technology offers the great benefit of being safe for everyone and everything around, for humans, plants as well as for wildlife. The hydrovac process affects the local wildlife in only one way: powerful hydrovac machines do generate noise, which might frighten animals, but the process is very efficient, which also means that even extensive excavation work can be completed in a very short time, so the disturbance that the local wildlife will have to endure is not long-lasting.

What Equipment Is Needed for Hydro Excavation?

What Excavation Services Equipment Is Needed

Hydro excavation is the process of moving or removing soil with the help of water pulverized at high pressure onto the ground and the extraction of the resulting debris with the help of vacuum, depositing the debris into large containers, then dumping the slurry in designated yards or other facilities. Hydrovac machines are usually large and complex – here are some of the most important components of the vacuum excavation services equipment needed for hydro excavation:

  • A special truck – most hydrovac machines are truck-mounted units, the special truck being equipment with special systems for operating the unit that delivers the pressurized water as well as the unit that delivers the vacuum;
  • The vacuum source – vacuum is generated by either a fan system or a positive displacement blower;
  • The unit for pulverizing the water;
  • The ducts for delivering the pressurized water and the ducts that extract the slurry and transport it to the container where it is deposited;
  • A large tank that serves the purpose of collecting the debris generated during the excavation process;
  • A heating system – this unit is optional and it is used for thawing the soil when the excavation needs to be performed in very low temperature conditions and when the ground is frozen.

Contractors Prefer Hydrovac For Their Projects

Hydrovac Trench Digging

Hydro excavation has taken off in recent years and contractors definitely prefer to use this technology for their projects. If you wonder what exactly makes hydrovac so popular, here are the main reasons:

  1. Efficiency

Hydro excavation is currently the most efficient form of digging. These trucks are equipped with everything needed to accomplish a project quickly, in every season. There will be no downtime in the winter, when the ground is frozen, because the water used in the process is heated and breaks even the most difficult soils.

  1. Safety

This technology is 100% safe and prevents workers from being injured while doing their job. It also prevents dangerous accidents that may result from damaging underground utilities, which leads to the next advantage:

  1. Accuracy

Hydro excavation is a very accurate digging method – much more accurate than traditional digging. There are different utilities buried underground and damaging them can cause various problems that may take a while to be remedied and even put people`s life in danger (e.g. hitting a gas pipe).

  1. Cost-effectiveness

Considering all the previous advantages, hydrovac technology is reliable and cost-effective in the long run, which is why contractor prefer it even if traditional options are cheaper.  For Hydrodig excavation services, visit