What is Hydro Excavation?

Hydro extractions, which at times is called vacuum extraction, is the process, which uses a vacuum system and pressurized water to remove a large amount of soil in the area that needs excavating.


photo credit: Goliathvac.com

You can also consider traditional excavation procedures, which involve using heavy machines, like backhoes and shovels. But these traditional methods have some limits, making them less desirable in a lot of applications.

In addition, hydro extraction wands may use hot water. This is important in cold climate areas, such as the Northern United States or Canada.

Where soil is frozen and more complicated to remove, hot water hydro extraction will enable you to handle frozen soil and successfully complete the project.

How the Process Works

Hydro operators use water wands to soften the ground and cut the soil. They also suction mud slurry into a tank of extraction trucks, where the crew may uncover deeper soil layers.

Once the project is complete, they release the slurry from holding tanks back to the ground so as to cover exposed subsurface facilities.

The hydro-vac process may be used to dig 70 feet deep and at a longer distance from where pumping trucks are located in some situations.

What Happens in the Process?

Rather than digging the old-fashion way, hydro excavation encompasses the use of high-pressure water. Water gets injected into the ground until the soil looks like a slurry mixture.

Workers at the site will have to feed the slurry mixture into different pipes of sucker trucks. The vacuuming tool is powerful enough to remove soil up to 80 feet deep.

The good thing about this method is that it works for any kind of soil. Be it a mixture of clay and silt, frozen ground, or loose garden soil, you may have your underground assets and pipes dug up:

  • Faster
  • Safely


Subsurface utilities and underground facilities are always required for construction. To lay these facilities and utilities is not a simple task, which mostly comes with many risks. But the existence of excavation has lessened those risks, and you can use it for several applications.

For instance, the hydro excavation process is used for pole, line, and sign installation. You can also use it for daylighting or potholing.

Sewer and pipe rehabilitation is another use for this process. It reduces the risks of damages and punctures in pipes. This helps to eliminate the cost and additional time, which repairs need.


Among the greatest parts of construction projects is excavating the land and removing dirt. Hydrovac services offer a lot of benefits over traditional excavations and may get your land moved and ready for the next stages of the project easily and quickly. Unlike traditional excavations, hydro extraction can:

  • Minimize risks
  • Prevent utility line
  • Increase accuracy

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for non-destructive methods to evacuate and excavate soil, hydro extraction can be the process you need.

The process will offer you a safe and improved alternative to traditional methods you and your project managers might have used many years back.


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