Municipalities empowered by Vacuum Excavators

Cities are digging safer and more efficiently by arming departments with vacuum excavators.  In the rarest of cases, fire departments are using vacuum excavators for trench collapse rescues.  The more common use though is the need for potholing, sewer jetting, storm drain cleaning, and many other applications.

Some regulatory agencies require potholing when a path of a bore trench closely parallels or crosses existing underground utilities.
  Cities are taking the necessary step in getting access to vacuum excavation equipment.  In a small city meeting recently in Kansas, permission was granted to the Water Department to purchase a VAC-TRON LP573SGT.

“Basically, Wally’s been after me to get one of these since I’ve been here, but with all the underground utilities going in and all the fiber optics, it’s become a necessity for us to pothole and find the phone lines, gas lines, before we even start digging our own main lines,” Water Department Director Calvin Burke said. “So what we’re looking at is a combination pothole VAC-TRON machine. It’s a high pressure washer where you take the wand, and you work it and then work the back part, stick the hose on the nozzle, and just suck the dirt right out of the hole.”  –

Tri-County Electric Cooperative, a cooperative utility based in Hooker, Okla., recently put in service a truck-mounted, large vacuum excavator model.

“Being on a truck provides good mobility,” said Rick Wayman, manager of construction. “We do a lot of potholing with the machine. Many city areas we work in are full of utilities, and vacuum excavation can quickly make potholes without damaging the lines being located.

“We also are using it to dig piers for light poles,” Wayman said. “Locations where poles are being set also are in areas full of utilities, and without the new machine, they would have to be dug by hand—there are too many utilities to use mechanical equipment.” –

The Public Works crew in the image below in the City of Temecula, California uses a Vac-Tron PMD 500 GT vacuum truck with a 500-gallon debris tank, 225-gallon freshwater tank, and a jetter putting out 15 GPM/2,200 psi. They capture cleaning water at the outlet of the basin box to keep it from reaching the creeks.


The City of Temecula, Calif. use Vacuum Excavation to clean out catch basins
The City of Temecula, Calif. use Vacuum Excavation to clean out catch basins (Image Source:

To learn more about vacuum excavation and adding a Vac-Tron to your fleet, go here to schedule a demo in your area.